Energy Storage and Distribution

Strategic Context

The UK’s energy networks will require substantial investment in new capacity, technology development and innovation to accommodate renewable generation sources. There is scope for significant innovation in the way that energy is delivered to end customers. There will also be an important role for storage technologies to cater for more intermittent supplies. Heat networks may emerge as a critical new infrastructure requirement and there will be implications for the role of gas in the future energy mix together with investment in gas storage.

Programme Aim

  • Adapt networks to enable a higher penetration of renewable and distributed generation with good security and quality of supply.
  • Manage networks to provide greater flexibility between supply and demand to offset high CO2 peak demand.
  • Reduce CO2 and environmental impact of existing networks.

Project summaries

Please click the following projects below for detail:

Isentropic

Project summary lead image Isentropic

ETI Investment

£14m

Date announced

June 2012

Completion date

Summer 2017

Project Partners

  • Isentropic
  • Western Power Distribution

Overview

The ETI has invested £14 million in a project led by Isentropic to demonstrate the feasibility of a revolutionary new approach to storing electricity at grid scale. The deal will enable Isentropic to grow to triple its workforce by the end of 2012. As part of the agreement ETI will become a
minority equity shareholder in Isentropic.


Isentropic is a private company, founded in 2007 to exploit its Pumped Heat Electricity Storage (PHES) technology for large-scale energy storage. Using Isentropic’s innovative combined heat pump/heat engine, electricity is used to create a large temperature difference (500 C hot and -160 C cold), which can then be stored in two low cost gravel silos. Recombining the hot and cold regenerates the electricity with an overall efficiency of 75%.
 

With a budget of £15.7 million, the project will develop and demonstrate a cost-effective 1.5MW/6MWh energy storage device that will operate on a UK primary substation owned by Western Power Distribution (WPD) in the Midlands. It is hoped that once tested, it could be rolled out across the UK where there are approximately 5,000 substations with a suitable power range of between 12MW and 24MW, bringing with it cost benefits for consumers of electricity.

To view ETI Chief Executive David Clarke discuss this project click here.

Offshore Connection Project

Project summary lead image Offshore Connection Project

ETI Investment

£0.25m

Date announced

November 2009

Completion date

Mid 2010

Project Partners

  • SKM

Overview

The project examined the specific challenges and opportunities arising from the connection of offshore energy to the UK grid system and considered the impact of large-scale offshore development. It also looked at novel electrical system designs and control strategies that could be developed to collect, manage and transmit energy back to shore and identified and assessed innovative technology solutions to these issues and quantified their benefits.

Network Capacity Project

Project summary lead image Network Capacity Project

ETI Investment

£0.6m

Date announced

November 2009

Completion date

Mid 2010

Project Partners

  • Mott MacDonald

Overview

The Network Capacity project identified and assessed new technology solutions that could enhance transmission and distribution capacity in the UK. It assessed the feasibility and quantified the benefits of using innovative approaches and novel technologies to provide improved management of power flows and increased capacity, enabling the increasing deployment of renewable energy sources in the UK.

Heat storage project

Project summary lead image Heat storage project

ETI Investment

£140,000

Date announced

November 2010

Completion date

Autumn 2011

Project Partners

  • Buro Happold

Overview

Heat is the biggest end use of energy in the UK, accounting for 44% of the country’s energy consumption, most of this used for heating homes and providing hot water.

This project examines the feasibility of capturing large quantities of waste heat from power stations and industrial processes and storing it underground for use later in homes and offices. 

It is investigating the cost effectiveness and practicalities of storing large quantities of heat for long periods to meet a significant proportion of the UK’s winter demand, evaluating the practical limits for this type of storage, the technology development needs and where in the country large-scale heat storage could be most effectively exploited.

Resistive Superconducting Fault Current Limiter

Project summary lead image Resistive Superconducting 
Fault Current Limiter

ETI Investment

£4m

Date announced

July 2011

Completion date

Mid 2015

Project Partners

  • Applied Superconductor
  • Western Power Distribution
  • E.ON
  • Rolls-Royce

Overview

Fault current levels are becoming a significant barrier to the installation of low-carbon and other distributed generation. Management of these fault levels is also a key enabler for the growth of smart distribution systems, offering improved operation, flexibility and efficiency.

This project will develop and demonstrate a resistive superconducting fault current limiter device, which will reduce the impact of faults on electricity distribution networks, helping the cost effective growth and increased flexibility and reliability of distribution systems, with more low carbon electricity generation installed in the distribution system.

It will be developed by Applied Superconductor Ltd, based in Blyth, Northumberland, in partnership with Rolls-Royce, and will be installed on the network at a Western Power Distribution substation in Loughborough, Leicestershire. E.ON will act as technical consultants.

Pre-saturated Core Fault Current Limiter

Project summary lead image Pre-saturated Core 
Fault Current Limiter

ETI Investment

£4m

Date announced

July 2011

Completion date

Mid 2015

Project Partners

  • GridON
  • UK Power Networks
  • E.ON

Overview

Fault current levels are becoming a significant barrier to the installation of low-carbon and other distributed generation.

Management of these fault levels is also a key enabler for the growth of smart distribution systems, offering improved operation, flexibility and efficiency.

This project will therefore develop and demonstrate a pre-saturated core fault current limiter device, which will reduce the impact of faults on electricity distribution networks, help the cost-effective growth and increased flexibility and reliability of distribution systems, with more low-carbon electricity generation installed in the distribution system. 

It will be developed by GridON, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and will be demonstrated in service at a UK Power Networks substation in Newhaven, East Sussex. E.ON will act as technical consultants.

2050 Energy Infrastructure Outlook

Project summary lead image 2050 Energy Infrastructure Outlook

ETI Investment

£400,000

Date announced

March 2012

Completion date

Spring 2013

Project Partners

  • Buro Happold

Overview

By 2050 the UK will need to be meeting stringent targets requiring an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions, whilst maintaining a sufficient supply of energy. In order to appropriately assess the opportunities for meeting these targets, it is necessary to understand, amongst other things, the costs and performance of the energy infrastructure that will carry energy from where it is generated to where it is consumed.


The 2050 Energy Infrastructure Outlook project will provide data on the costs and performance associated with key types of fixed energy infrastructure as well as identifying possible ‘grey areas’ where technology development could
significantly influence cost and performance. The intention is that this data will be used subsequently to assess the relative merits of different infrastructure options, given different energy generation and demand scenarios.