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ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Octopus signs ‘world’s biggest’ battery-leasing deal with Gresham House


Worker in front of large computer screens showing various graphs Photo: Octopus Energy
Octopus Energy’s Kraken technology platform optimises renewable power assets, helping cut curtailment costs

Photo: Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy Group, the largest electricity provider in the UK, has signed what it claims is a record-breaking battery leasing deal with Gresham House Energy Storage Fund (GRID) that will help cut curtailment costs.

The deal – reportedly the biggest of its kind in the world – will connect just over 50% of GRID’s large-scale batteries to Octopus’ technology platform Kraken. Kraken’s AI-based optimisation system will charge GRID’s batteries when renewable energy is abundant and discharge them when the national grid is under stress. Such ‘intelligent’ flexibility reduces the waste of clean power – such as when wind turbines are forced to shut down because of too much energy on the national grid, explains Octopus. The issue is known as ‘curtailment’ and cost UK energy bill payers some £800mn in 2022.


Launched in 2018, GRID is the largest battery energy storage (BESS) fund in the UK, owning some 20% of the UK battery storage market. Octopus will take over half of GRID’s large-scale battery fleet in the UK for the next two years.


The 14 large-scale batteries can store more than 900 MWh.


This deal follows Octopus reaching 1 GW worth of shiftable load – claimed to be the largest virtual power plant (VPP) in the UK – through its electric vehicle (EV) tariff, Intelligent Octopus Go.


Charging up new UK and US projects  

Meanwhile, SSE Renewables’s BESS project under construction at Ferrybridge has reached a significant milestone with the arrival of the first batteries at the site in West Yorkshire, UK. A total of 136 battery units will be installed at the 150 MW/300MWh site, which will be SSE Renewables’ second battery storage facility and three times the size of its first operational battery asset in Salisbury, UK.


Construction at Ferrybridge is due to end in late 2024. SSE currently has a further two battery storage facilities under construction at Monk Fryston, North Yorkshire (320 MW) and Fiddler’s Ferry, Warrington (150 MW).


Looking overseas, in the US, ArcLight Capital Partners and Elevate Renewables have announced what they claim is New York City’s largest BESS project to date. The 15 MW/60 MWh BESS is part of a redevelopment project at Arthur Kill power station in Staten Island.  The state of New York has an energy storage target of 6 GW by 2030.


Policy vacuum on long duration storage threatens Ireland’s renewables growth

In other energy storage news, limited financial incentives, a lack of clear targets and market design limitations are hindering the development of long duration energy storage (LDES) in Ireland, and could slow down the country’s journey to net zero, according to a new report from Cornwall Insight, written in collaboration with the Climate Change Advisory Council.


It has been estimated by state-owned electricity power transmission operator EirGrid that to meet Ireland’s ambitious target to derive 80% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, LDES capacity will need to reach ~2.4 GW. At present there is only 0.29 GW of LDES on the Irish grid, all coming from a pumped storage hydro asset operational at Turlough Hill. Another 0.36 GW of PSH is planned at Silvermines in Tipperary.


The report cautions that without an increase in the speed of the LDES rollout, Ireland may fall short of its 2030 renewables target, as it is contingent upon energy storage and other flexible technologies providing the essential backup for intermittent renewable sources.