E.ON has begun installing a 10MW battery at its biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant at Blackburn Meadows near Sheffield – a new energy storage project that will help keep power supplies stable and balance the range of power generation sources feeding into the UK’s national grid.

The 10 megawatt (MW) lithium-ion battery is the size of four shipping containers. It will have the same power as roughly 100 family cars and will be able to hold the same amount of energy as 500,000 mobile phone batteries.

As well as helping to make more efficient use of renewable energy sources, the batteries will also be able to provide extra power to the network at times of peak demand as part of the Capacity Market.

Work began on site in January with the system planned to be fully operational by late 2017.

This will be one of the first commercial battery systems in Britain and will provide a necessary technology at times of either an over- or under-supply of energy to the grid, E.ON’s battery system will respond within one second, absorbing or discharging power into the local distribution network, ensuring that the power supply and quality is maintained.

“This is a milestone for E.ON in the new energy world and an important recognition of the enormous potential for battery solutions in the UK,” said David Topping, Director of Business Heat and Power Solutions at E.ON. “Blackburn Meadows is already a real example of the new energy world – a renewable energy plant that provides both electricity to the grid and a more sustainable and affordable source of heating and hot water to local homes and businesses.

“Batteries at this scale allow us to make best of all renewable energy sources by harnessing the energy and having it ready for use whenever it’s needed – increasing the share of renewable energy in the grid while at the same time providing a secure supply for our customers.”

E.ON has signed a contract with Nidec ASI to supply the battery storage system using its power conversion technology.

NIDEC's Global Director of Sales, PV and BESS, Matteo Rizzi, said: “This is the second important order we have received related to the first round EFR National Grid tender taking our overall market share in terms of MW to 30% in the UK. We are pleased to be working with E.ON on this project which we hope will lay the framework for future endeavours where our technology and experience in energy storage can contribute to E.ON’s efforts to provide competitive, reliable solutions and services to their customers.”

Customer solutions such as energy storage, cleaner on-site generation, or energy management are part of a range of energy solutions offered by E.ON to help customers to use energy more efficiently and make businesses more profitable.

E.ON is now offering battery and energy storage solutions to commercial customers, ranging from hundreds of kilowatts to tens of megawatts in scale and is able to help larger businesses to cut their energy costs by reducing exposure to peak power prices and grid fees which are due to increase in the coming years. Storage solutions help businesses to manage their own power needs, making best use of on-site generation or reducing the impact of power cuts or supply interruptions. With E.ON’s help and market access customers can also generate new revenues by using the storage system in central market applications when not needed on site.

To power homes, E.ON began selling its Aura electricity storage system in Germany last year. The all-in-one solution consists of a storage device, the E.ON Aura app, and, if desired, a solar PV system allied to an Aura electricity tariff. The system can increase the proportion of self-produced electricity the home consumes from about one third to around 70%, meeting the entire electricity needs of a three or four-person family during evening and night hours.

Blackburn Meadows CHP plant is a 30MW renewable energy plant that can produce enough power for around 40,000 homes, converting recycled waste wood into electricity. It also uses combined heat and power technology which is a more efficient process that captures the heat produced through the electricity generation process to be used in a district heating scheme providing heat to customers including Sheffield Forgemasters, the Motorpoint Arena and Ice Sheffield.