11th February 2023
Zenobē, the international battery storage and EV fleet specialist, today announces its 100MW battery in Capenhurst, Chester is now live and delivering the first commercial reactive power services of its kind in the world.
Being placed in the Mersey region, the site will support the increasing development of renewables in-line with local and national zero-carbon targets. It will also help to manage network capacity therefore maximising existing Scottish wind flows into the region. By reducing the reliance on local gas plants to provide reactive power services, the delivery of the project represents a significant milestone in the UK’s path to net zero; it will accelerate the uptake of renewable power, lower the risk of blackouts, and reduce energy bills.
It will see large cost savings for consumers as gas plants will not need to run as frequently and fees won’t have to be paid to curtail wind power when the network becomes congested. In December 2022, National Grid paid £82million to wind farm operators to turn their turbines off in efforts to stop the energy system from becoming overwhelmed. Over the first fifteen years of operation, the battery at Capenhurst will save around £58m on curtailment costs that would have previously been passed on to consumers. This represents a key moment in the dual environmental and cost of living crises – an opportunity for the grid to decarbonise whilst delivering cost savings to consumers.
The site will provide Merseyside and the surrounding areas with a clean, reliable and secure supply of energy at a substantially lower cost to consumers. Through enabling more renewable power onto the grid, the project is forecast to save 1,004,040 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere over the next 15 years.
The battery is the largest battery directly connected to the transmission network in Europe, connecting at 275,000 volts, and the first in the world to have a commercial contract to provide reactive power.
The Capenhurst battery was commissioned in direct response to a National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) Pathfinder which sought to find a cost-effective solution to the high-voltage issues seen in the Mersey region. To keep voltage levels on the transmission network at safe limits, it is necessary to find methods to absorb or inject reactive power. Traditionally, these services have been provided by fossil fuel generators, but as we transition to a world where energy comes from zero carbon sources and access to fossil fuel power stations is reduced, we need to find new sources of reactive power.
Up until now, reactive power services in Merseyside have been provided by local fossil fuel power stations, like Fiddler’s Ferry, which have closed in the past few years. Capenhurst coming online will significantly lower the region’s reliance on gas imports to secure the grid. This creates greater energy security, and lowers the risk of blackouts for a more efficient electricity grid. The battery will also ease network constraints by importing electricity at times of peak renewable generation.
James Basden, Co-founder and director of Zenobē, says:
“With Capenhurst, we’re solving a key issue on the grid in the Merseyside region whilst significantly enhancing the nation’s use of renewable power. This pioneering project enables us to deliver vital grid services without the need for fossil fuels, supporting cities like Liverpool with their zero carbon targets.
The activation of the site represents a key milestone for Zenobē as a business and for the UK as it moves towards a zero-carbon power system. Decarbonisation is more important than ever, as we face increasing energy prices and seek greater energy independence. We look forward to taking these solutions into other countries, using our expertise to make clean power accessible across the globe.”
Sources and calculations to back up comments above:
CO2 savings are benchmarked against the provision of power and/or reactive power services versus a gas peaking plant (540gCO2e/kWh) or CCGT (450g CO2 e/kWh, operating at Stable Export Limit for provision of reactive power), depending on the time of operation. Carbon intensity of imported energy to charge the battery is assumed at the 2020 national average of 181g CO2 e/kWh (https://www.nationalgrideso.com/news/record-breaking-2020-becomes-greenest-year-britains-electricity), which is a conservative assumption considering the high penetration of renewable generation and otherwise curtailed power in Scotland.
Consumer savings of around £58m reflects savings of £16m from the Reactive Power contract and savings of £41m from providing balancing services and constraint management to the grid as well as helping reduce price volatility. The £16m of consumer savings from the reactive power assumes that Capenhurst (8yr contract length) will avoid the use of a nearby CCGT, for example Rocksavage, which would otherwise be used out-of-merit, to provide reactive power. CCGT efficiency assumed at 55% and Stable Export Limit of 35%. Average gas price over contract length assumed at £40/MWh, which is conservative considering the high price outlook for gas over the next 8 years. The £41m of balancing services and constraint management savings assumes that Capenhurst cycles twice a day and provides a reasonable level of savings to the control room vs the alternative actions that would be taken eg. curtailing wind for bid actions during constraints, proving more competitively priced offer actions than gas peakers / CCGTS.
Notes to editors
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About Zenobē Energy Ltd. (Zenobē):
Zenobē is an international EV fleet and battery storage specialist, headquartered in the UK with operations in Europe and Australasia. It has c. 1.6GW in construction and development in the UK which equates to c. 25% market share forecast by 2026. It has around 25% market share of the UK EV bus sector and c.1,000 electric vehicles contracted globally. The company is the largest owner and operator of EV buses in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
The company’s pioneering battery storage offering enables power grid operators to provide clean, secure and affordable power, accelerating the global transition to Net Zero energy systems. Zenobē’s fleet solution is driving the adoption of electric vehicles and reducing emissions from the transport and logistics sectors. Its ETaaS (Electric Transport-as-a-Service) solution provides fleet operators and local authorities with a full solution for a pay-per-month fee including charging infrastructure, battery replacement and award-winning software. Zenobē is also a leader in second life battery repurposing EV batteries after their first life, providing incremental power solutions to large business and the film and events industries.
For more information, please visit www.zenobe.com/
Pete leads Zenobē’s growing team of Product specialists across all areas of the business. His team oversee our R&D as well as product development in both hardware and software.
He has been working in the European E-Mobility sector from over ten years, specialising in the design, build and delivery of software systems for EV Charging.