Big Data, Cogeneration CHP, Energy Storage, Europe, Smart Grid, Solar, Strategic Development, Strategic Development

First virtual power plant enters UK Balancing Mechanism

A new player has entered the National Grid Balancing Mechanism in the UK electricity sector.

Renewable and distributed energy generators can now compete with the traditional so-called ‘Big Six’ suppliers and other large power plants with the emergence of energy technology innovator Limejump.

Limejump has entered the Balancing Mechanism via its Virtual Power Plant (VPP), the first aggregated unit admitted into the market.

Having received dispensation from UK regulator Ofgem to make this move, Limejump’s VPP has today gone live on the Balancing Mechanism Market.

Limejump received its electricity supply license in 2015 and has since built a managed portfolio of renewable generation sites, batteries and demand response assets.

So far, the Balancing Mechanism has largely been the domain of large power plants and specific distributed single large sites that have a generation licence. National Grid’s drive for wider access to the Balancing Mechanism has allowed Limejump to enable smaller generators, such as wind, solar, batteries and industrial electricity users, to directly compete in this £1bn-a-year market.  

Limejump chief executive Erik Nygard said the company’s entry into the Balancing Mechanism “is another step in our efforts to disrupt the conventional operations of the UK energy market”.

“This move means that a farmer with a solar installation or a supermarket with excess energy from its cooling units will be on the same footing as a giant power station. Just as importantly, our move increases competition, enabling a cleaner, more sustainable energy future that benefits both the environment and the end consumer.”

Limejump’s move has been made possible by its technology platform which uses big data analytics, trading ability and machine learning to connect distributed storage or generation assets, such as batteries, solar, wind, CHP and flexible demand assets (such as pumps and lighting) to act as if they were one large power station. Connecting to a communication platform developed by Siemens, Limejump is able to provide National Grid with a single, flexible energy source that helps balance the energy system.

Limejump manages one of the world’s largest battery portfolios of 150 MW as well as a large amount of renewable and distributed generation assets, providing a range of energy services such as Power Purchase Agreements and Dynamic Frequency Response.

Nygard added: “This is an important milestone in opening up the UK energy market. We have shown how sustainable, dynamic and distributed assets can power the UK as consistently and efficiently as large power plants. The support we have received from National Grid has made this next step possible and ensures distributed asset values can be maximised in multiple markets. It is a huge step for Limejump, validating our business model and Virtual Power Plant technology while paving the way for more innovation and competition within the UK energy industry.”