UK electricity supply commences transformation through multi-million pound investment in batteries from VLC Energy
VLC Energy today announces 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 50MW 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.”
About Low Carbon
Low Carbon is a privately owned investment company committed to the development and operation of renewable energy power production. Low Carbon invests into both renewable energy developers and projects across a range of renewable energy technologies including solar, wind, anaerobic digestion, combined heat and power, concentrated solar power and energy storage. Low Carbon has a strong management team with a proven track record in the development, construction, financing and management of renewable energy assets. For UK solar alone, Low Carbon has funded more than 320MW. Low Carbon remains involved in the projects for the long term with a dedicated asset management team that manages assets on balance sheet and for third parties (unlisted and listed). www.lowcarbon.com
About VPI Immingham
VPI Immingham is a combined heat and power (CHP) plant near Immingham, on the South Bank of the river Humber. It is one of the largest CHP plants in Europe, capable of generating 1,240 MW – about 2.5% of UK peak electricity demand and up to 930 tonnes of steam per hour, which is used by nearby oil refineries to turn crude oil into products such as gasoline.
It is part of the Vitol Group, an energy and commodities company. Vitol’s primary business is the trading and distribution of energy products globally – it trades over 6mbpd of crude oil and products and, at any time, has 200 ships transporting its cargoes.
Vitol’s clients include national oil companies, multinationals, leading industrial and chemical companies and the world’s largest airlines. Founded in Rotterdam in 1966, today Vitol serves clients from some 40 offices worldwide and is invested in energy assets globally including; circa 15.5mm3 of storage across six continents, 390kbpd of refining capacity and Shell-branded downstream businesses in 16 African countries, as well as Australia. Revenues in 2015 were $168 billion. www.vitol.com
VPI Immingham/Vitol contact:
+44 207 973 4230