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The background

Energy storage is a key source of flexibility that can help address some of the challenges associated with the transition to a low carbon electricity sector. Storage, as identified by the Smart Grid Forum, is one of the key smart interventions likely to be required in the future smart grid and one of the Governments Eight Great Technologies. However, challenges in leveraging the full potential of storage on the transmission and distribution networks to benefit other industry segments, regulatory uncertainty and a lack of scale demonstrations are currently hampering the efficient and economic uptake of storage by the electricity sector.U K Power Networks logo

Through the installation of a giant battery, UK Power Networks Smarter Network Storage (SNS) project, aims to carry out a range of technical and commercial innovation to tackle these challenges and facilitate more efficient and economic adoption of storage.


  • Demonstrate how 6MW/10MWh of lithium-ion storage can be deployed on the distribution network to support security of supply.
  • Trial the multi-purpose application of storage to access a range of different revenue streams to help maximise value e.g. investment deferral and ancillary services.
  • Develop a new optimisation and control system to facilitate revenue generation, and trial the commercial arrangements for shared use of energy storage.

The project aims to provide the industry with a greater understanding and a detailed assessment of the business case and full economics of energy storage, helping to accommodate increasing levels of intermittent and inflexible low carbon generation.

Forecasting, Optimisation and Scheduling: Intelligent Scheduling

In 2013, AMT-SYBEX’s Affinity Suite (Networkflow), was selected by UK Power Networks to deliver the Forecasting, Optimisation and Scheduling (FOSS) system as a central component of the SNS project.

Working with UK Power Networks, Newcastle University and other SNS Partners, we have delivered a ground-breaking IT solution, using some existing Affinity Suite capabilities, combined with areas of new development from which DNOs can manage a grid scale Energy Storage facility to provide local network security of supply, as well as optimising revenues through ancillary services to the system operator and energy purchase on the wholesale market. As part of this platform, we have created components for demand forecasting and energy storage optimisation.

Using a range of available data, including historical customer electricity demand and weather forecast information, Networkflow forecasts local electricity demand at the site and creates network services to provide the necessary security of supply. Networkflow then generates an optimised schedule for the Energy Storage System, chosen from a range of options, considering all possible energy exchanges and seeks to maximise the value of the storage capacity within the constraints of the network.

Networkflow receives regular price feeds for the range of possible services in the Services Portfolio via an aggregator, and receives energy prices via the Energy Supplier. These service and energy prices are used to produce day ahead, and long term schedules for the battery. The Battery Manager has the ability to confirm or veto all contracts suggested by the system before they commit to the service(s) on the schedule. Each day a finalised schedule is generated and passed to the Energy Storage System containing a number of different operating modes and physical parameters defined within Networkflow which are then used to control its behaviour locally by the battery management system.

The availability of this service is expected to de-risk the adoption of storage for DNOs, add security from diversity and maximise the storage value streams.

The story so far

The Smarter Network Storage battery storage system installed at Leighton Buzzard was opened in December 2014. The 6MW/10MWh big battery is large enough to:

  • Power about 6,000 homes for 1.5 hours at peak times,* or
  • Power about 1,100 typical UK homes for a whole day during average or low demand times, or
  • Power more than 27,000 homes for an hour.**

The building itself is approximately 760 square metres – about the size of three tennis courts – and is divided into two main rooms: one houses the transformers and inverter units that convert electricity from direct current to alternating current. The other room houses the battery racks and modules where the energy is actually stored.

UK Power Networks are currently trialling the behaviour of the battery and are using the Networkflow FOSS system to generate schedules for the battery. These schedules work as a set of instructions for the battery to deliver a certain type of commercial or network service, for example, to release stored energy from the battery to meet network demand, or to take energy to or from the grid for tendered network frequency regulation. These service trials and performance testing of the system are well underway, and have so far delivered network support over the 2014/15 winter period and over 700 hours of commercial operation in reserve, regulation and reactive power services.

Nick Heyward, project director of the Smarter Network Storage, said

“The FOSS system, jointly developed with AMT-SYBEX and Newcastle University, represents a significant part of the overall SNS system and is critical in enabling us to schedule a range of different services to maximise the value from the storage.”

Andy Hamlyn, Deputy CEO and COO of AMT-SYBEX, said

“We are delighted to be working on such an innovative project with our partner UK Power Networks and other industry participants. Our solution will enable UK Power Networks to provide a range of services to benefit the system as a whole and negate the need for expensive network reinforcement.”

For more information, please email

* Based on typical domestic max demand of 1kW
** Based on average annual domestic consumption of 3,300kWh

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