Thursday, April 11, 2024

Exciting new battery collaboration with the University of Sheffield to revolutionise the way we use energy

SSE’s grid balancing technology, Enhance, is the latest tool in the battle against climate change.

SSE Energy Solutions’ latest software innovation which maximises the efficiency of mega batteries has been deployed at one of the world’s leading energy research centres. 

The Enhance platform will manage the operation of the 2 MW battery at the University of Sheffield’s Willenhall Energy Storage facility.

The £4m research facility is part of the University of Sheffield’s Centre for Research into Electrical Energy Storage and Applications (CREESA) which aims to advance the development of an affordable and clean energy future that is secure and sustainable.

The intermittency of renewable energy sources like wind and solar have been seen as a limiting factor in their adoption. Energy storage solutions have the potential to balance such fluctuations. SSE’s Enhance provides the means to monitor and manage costs and performance of battery sites.

The Enhance platform works by preventing the battery from taking power from the grid at times of peak usage and by feeding stored energy back to the grid when local demands on the battery are lower. The platform grants access to the wholesale energy market as well as the Balancing Mechanism, the open auction through which the National Grid buys power to keep the grid in balance.

SSE engaged with researchers from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering on a knowledge exchange project relating to the operation of grid-connected energy storage assets. The project has enabled SSE to connect their first energy storage control system into their SSE Enhance platform. 

The partnership has provided SSE with the opportunity to integrate new ideas coming from the UK research community into SSE’s mission, accelerating the development and optimisation of the platform. Professor Dan Gladwin, who works within the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, has been operating and optimising the energy storage assets at Willenhall for over eight years. Through the project SSE have benefited from Professor Gladwin’s established expertise working with the system at the site.

The research and refinement of the Enhance platform in energy storage solutions at the Willenhall site is invaluable to SSE as Enhance will be deployed at their first 50 MW battery project in Salisbury. The battery will be the first of SSE Energy Solutions’ grid-scale solar and battery projects to support access to clean, reliable energy by balancing the intermittency of renewables.

Eunice Mabey, Director of Digital Services at SSE Energy Solutions, said:

“Our new Enhance software solution is part of SSE’s mission to develop a resilient, sustainable energy system in the UK. The solution has been developed to meet the opportunities of a decentralised, more complex energy market driven by the need to decarbonise energy using intermittent renewable generation. It enables SSE to flex and optimise our own energy assets and also third-party energy assets. It gives users the information and control they need to get their Whole System performing at its best, from energy generation to peak-balancing to the sale of excess capacity.

At SSE we take a Whole Systems Thinking approach to today’s challenges, whether it’s decarbonising our transport systems with EVs and greener ports or making the grid more suitable for renewable energy assets.

SSE’s ‘decade of delivery’ is well underway, and we see leveraging technology and optimisation software like our Enhance platform as a key component to unlocking the solutions for our Net Zero targets. By having access to Enhance, the University of Sheffield will have an opportunity to pioneer research into energy market optimisation strategies and enabling technologies. We are proud and excited to be able to work together on this project. 

Professor Dan Gladwin, Deputy Head of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said:

“Our research is focused on achieving net-zero across the energy system through the increased integration of energy storage. We have completed many successful pilots of new technologies and continue to operate assets at grid-scale that enables us to innovate in real-world conditions. 

Working with companies such as SSE is essential to ensure that our research and knowledge can be translated to achieve the environmental and economic impact that energy storage can deliver. We are pleased that we have been able to support SSE in the successful development of the Enhance platform for energy storage applications and look forward to the continuing this exciting partnership.”

Further Articles