VLC Energy has announced the development of two of the UK’s largest energy storage plants, to be connected to the electricity network by year end.
The newly created company is a joint venture between Low Carbon, a renewable energy investment company, and VPI Immingham, owner of one of the largest combined heat and power plants in Europe and part of the Vitol Group. VLC Energy was established to fund early stage energy storage and renewable energy projects in the UK, with the intention of accelerating the development of the UK’s renewable energy market and complementing VPI Immingham’s existing CHP generation capabilities.
The use of batteries will enhance National Grid’s ability to manage surges in supply from renewable energy sources, as well as surges in demand, and ultimately increase the Grid’s capacity to accommodate energy generated from renewables. They will also be an integral part of building a smarter, cleaner and more flexible energy system for the UK.
The first multi-million pound projects to be developed by VLC Energy include two of the UK’s largest energy storage plants in Cleator in Cumbria and Glassenbury in Kent. The energy storage plants were awarded contracts in National Grid’s Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) tender process, as well as the Capacity Market Auction for delivery in 2020. The Cleator and Glassenbury sites will have a combined capacity of 50 MW accounting for 25% of the total EFR contract capacity awarded by National Grid.
The battery projects will harness the latest Lithium-ion battery technology from LG Chem and sophisticated energy management systems from NEC Energy Solutions, Inc. to provide a vital balancing service to National Grid, with almost instantaneous responses of less than one second to surges in energy supply and demand. This rapid response service will provide significant cost savings to National Grid, with some estimates suggesting as much as £200 million in savings across all EFR contracts, by reducing wasted energy.
Low Carbon, has a proven track record in the development, construction, financing and management of renewable energy assets, and was the only organisation to be awarded two contracts in the National Grid EFR tender process. To date, the UK-based renewable energy investment company has enabled the deployment of more than £400 million into renewable energy projects and has experience with solar photovoltaic, battery storage, wind, combined heat and power, concentrated solar power and anaerobic digestion. The investor has developed enough renewable energy to power more than 100,000 homes and saving more than 143,600 tonnes of CO2 annually.
Russell Hardy, Chairman, VPI Immingham and member of Vitol’s executive committee, added, “We’re pleased to be entering into an exclusive, strategic partnership with Low Carbon that will enable us to grow our investments in alternative energy in the UK. Batteries perfectly complement renewables and gas and together offer a cleaner, more efficient energy future for the UK.”
Roy Bedlow, Chief Executive, at Low Carbon, said, “Renewable energy is playing an increasingly important role in the UK’s energy mix and as this role expands, the development of energy storage plants will be central to the future success of the UK’s energy network. As a leading player in the renewable energy market, we’re delighted to be partnering with Vitol to accelerate the development of new energy storage and renewable energy projects. Furthermore, by actively building a robust portfolio of renewable energy projects at scale, we are substantively challenging the causes of climate change, while helping to meet the growing demand for renewable energy in the UK.”