Final 5 MW goes live at UK’s largest council-owned battery storage site

Source: press release, 11 August 2020

South Somerset District Council’s (SSDC) ground-breaking site at Fideoak Mill in Taunton, UK
South Somerset District Council’s (SSDC) ground-breaking site at Fideoak Mill in Taunton, UK (photo: Kiwi Power)

Kiwi Power, a global energy technology company that is simplifying distributed energy, has commissioned the final 5 MW of battery storage at South Somerset District Council’s (SSDC) ground-breaking site at Fideoak Mill in Taunton, UK.

The additional GBP 2.5 million investment brings the site’s total capacity to 30 MW, the UK’s largest council-owned battery storage site. Kiwi Power’s proprietary hardware, Fruit, was installed on all 22 battery units so that the site can provide grid balancing services to National Grid.

“Councils across the UK are seeking to make the most out of their sustainability and carbon emissions investments as they seek to meet increasingly stringent targets. Landmark projects such as Fideoak are vital for demonstrating how investments in battery storage and renewables are value adding and income generating” Thomas Jennings, Head of Optimisation says.

“With rapidly changing market dynamics, SSDC will be relying on our co-optimisation team to ensure that the GBP 2.5 million asset always participates in the right market at the right time so that it delivers the maximum return possible for the investment” Jennings adds.

David Owen, Director of Opium Power says, “Our partnership with South Somerset District Council and Kiwi Power has worked extremely well. The 30 MW Taunton Battery Energy Storage System is the first of several very exciting joint ventures with local authorities and private sector investors that Opium Power is progressing to deliver stability to a sustainably powered grid. We currently have an additional 110 MW in design and build on three new battery storage systems, and we intend to work with Kiwi Power on all of them.”

“The UK has already accepted that we must adapt our electricity generation system to be carbon zero compliant by the use of renewables, and indeed the Government has legislated for it. Grid scale battery storage is the essential required component to stabilise the inherently unstable and non-dispatchable energy generated by solar and wind,” continues Owen.

In June, Kiwi Power commissioned the first 25 MW of the project in just 4 days. The final phase of the project – a further 5 MW in capacity – has now also been commissioned. In total, 67 Fruits are synchronised together so that the site can participate in any of the UK’s 15 flexibility markets.

“We were able to commission the site in record time despite COVID-19 disruption” Alistair Lowe, Head of Hardware at Kiwi Power says. “Relying on our proprietary hardware and VPP platform, along with a simulator that we built to test the code, we have been able to automate much of the commissioning and perform it remotely instead.”

The site is unusual in the fact that the site controller must be able to simultaneously shut off all batteries with immediate effect in response to a constraint signal from Western Power Distribution. To facilitate this, Kiwi Power developed a solution based on its proprietary technology that could interpret the incoming signal and simultaneous dispatch it to each of the 22 units on site. Complete synchronicity was key to ensuring proper management. By adapting the existing infrastructure, site completion continued without delay or additional cost to the client.