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SmartestEnergy has become a partner with UK Power Networks to investigate the commercial viability of using energy storage systems as part of the UK’s future energy mix.

The Smarter Network Storage Project, funded by Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund (LCNF), looks to assess the potential value of storage on the network by providing a demonstration project to help facilitate learning with regard to the operation and commerciality.

The project is installing 6MW/10MWh of Samsung lithium manganese batteries at Leighton Buzzard primary substation and will be operational by the end of 2014.

SmartestEnergy is assisting the project by providing commercial insight and helping to educate the other participants with regard to what may be feasible in the electricity market for such an asset.

“SmartestEnergy has looked at the potential for electrical energy storage a number of times over the past few years and firmly believes that they are on the cusp of being commercially viable, given expectations with regard to the future shape of the market,” said SmartestEnergy Business Development Manager James Graham, who is leading the company’s participation in the project.

“This project gives us an ideal opportunity to assess the operational and commercial performance of energy storage in a live environment, giving us cutting-edge insight into the future for such assets,” said James.

SmartestEnergy has also facilitated the project by providing supplier services such as meter registration and import electricity as required, plus access to market services (under an ETSA) and the potential to ‘toll’ the energy storage device under a related arrangement.

There are eight identified ‘partners’ for this project including SmartestEnergy, collectively providing technical and commercial skills to the development of the batteries.

The LCNF is a fund established by Ofgem, running in five phases from 2010 to 2015, that is designed to allow distribution companies to test new technologies, operating and commercial arrangements to enable them to understand and develop their role in security of supply and providing value for money to end consumers.