South London set for Powervault virtual power station scheme

A trial to use household batteries to help support the electricity grid in London is set to be rolled out further, the government has announced.

An initial trial, led by UK Power Networks (UKPN), saw 45 households fitted with smart batteries, enabling them to buy electricity at times of lowest demand and when it is cheapest, storing it for use when grid prices are more expensive. It saw household evening peak electricity demand fall by 60% while carbon emissions from electricity fell 20% for average households. Now, Powervault – the company behind the battery system – is set to expand the scheme as part of a second commercial contract in south London. It will open a similar virtual power plant system in St Hellier in a bid to further improve flexibility in the electricity network.

The batteries use AI to optimise home electricity use, reducing the need to dig up and replace cables, while they are also able to store self-generated clean energy from solar panels. This is something households can sell back to energy companies using new export tariffs. As well as this, they ensure owners get paid for storing renewable energy from the grid when there’s an excess of generation.

Powervault Chief Executive, Joe Warren, said: “Home energy storage is essential if we are to reduce our net carbon emissions to zero. Our vision is that Powervault will become as commonplace as a washing machine or dishwasher, allowing clean, zero carbon energy to be stored in the home for when it is needed most and allowing home energy use to be optimised. In this way we can make the grid more resilient, allowing more electric vehicles and heating systems to be installed, and reducing carbon emissions and energy costs.”

BEIS   Powervault