EDIE: UK’s largest Tesla battery to be AI-optimised

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Bloomberg NEF), the global lithium-ion battery market for energy storage will reach at least $239bn by 2040, as renewables come online and as technology costs fall. The early signs of this battery boom can be seen in the UK’s utilities sector, where one in three firms have already invested in onsite storage.

This week Zenobe Energy announced that it will use artificial intelligence (AI) to optimise its front-of-the-meter battery at Hill Farm, Leicestershire. The move will enable the 12MW Tesla unit to better take part in the utility markets of the future and will also extend its lifespan by tracking and managing the battery’s state-of-charge. Additionally, Zenobe Energy claims, it will make the facility more resilient and flexible – enabling it to play a role in maintaining energy security.

Open Energi has developed the AI platform, called Dynamic Demand 2.0. Other firms utilising this technology include United Utilities and Aggregate Industries.

“As our energy market continues to be revolutionised by the growth of renewable sources, optimisation strategies in battery storage systems has never been more complex or critical,”

“We designed our algorithmic trading capability with companies like Zenobe in mind, who recognise the importance of innovation and optimisation to meet the needs of power-intensive businesses and the UK at large.” Open Energi’s director David Hill said.

Read the full article.

Current± News: Open Energi partners Zenobe for AI-enabled battery optimisation

Current News

Open Energi is partnering UK battery storage firm Zenobe Energy for the automated trading and optimisation of the latter’s grid scale Hill Farm battery.

Open Energi’s Dynamic Demand 2.0 energy optimisation platform has been connected to Zenobe’s 12MWh battery at the Hill Farm site, enabling further optimisation of the battery across a wider range of ancillary services and trading markets.

The platform uses AI to increase responsiveness and track key indicators while reducing throughput and degradation, therefore extending battery lifetime, Open Energi said.

Read the full article.

The Multidimensional Value of Battery Storage

By Robyn Lucas, Head of Data Science, Open Energi

The energy landscape is undergoing an unprecedented change, which is accelerating as market barriers to distributed energy are dismantled. The last 12 months have seen standalone energy trading models emerge, access to the Balancing Mechanism widened and new platforms are promising to create new value streams from localised energy services.

There is now a huge variety of distributed energy assets capable of providing flexible capacity to the system – from energy storage, CHPs, electrolysers and Electric Vehicles, to more traditional demand-side response assets such as industrial pumps, boilers and chillers. What all these assets have in common is they need careful managing to deliver the most benefit with the least disruption.

Battery storage optimisation

For a battery storage system, the cost-benefit of every action has to be weighed in terms of battery degradation and lifetime, whilst continuously managing the state of charge to ensure system availability.

With multiple value streams to stack and optimise across timeframes – from day-ahead to real-time – getting the maximum price per hour of operation requires market insight, automated response, an understanding of the constraints of the battery and the site on which it sits, and an appreciation of the risks involved – with buy-in from all parties.

The limiting constraint on value is typically the number of cycles allowed by the warranty – usually around 400 cycles per year for a lithium ion system. This means that the battery can be completely charged up, and then discharged, just over once per day. Therefore, it is important to make this discharge at the right time to reap the largest rewards. It may, for instance, be more profitable to do two cycles on one day and none on another. Accurate forecasting and regular monitoring ensure the best £/kWh of throughput is achieved.

The necessity to stack multiple revenue streams to achieve an ROI that investors are comfortable with means considering these throughput limitations, akin to strike price setting, in a rapidly changing environment. Some revenue streams introduce a reasonably low utilisation, like Static Frequency Response. Meanwhile, others require higher utilisation. For example, throughput whilst tracking frequency in Dynamic Firm Frequency Response (FFR) accounts for around 1.3 cycles per day for a 1-hour system.

As more of the UK’s aging thermal fleet retire and the renewable generation increases, wholesale and imbalance markets are also expected to become more volatile, particularly when the grid is under stress. If a battery storage system is locked into a dynamic FFR contract during an extreme weather event, it may be unable to benefit from profitable price arbitrage opportunities. Balancing the seasonal risk of this against the reward of assured revenue from FFR needs to be decided between the asset manager, investor, and aggregator.

Seasonal volatility

The graph below shows the throughput, and benefit, over a one-year period for a 1.6 hour battery storage system, modelled for 2016 historical prices. The impact of seasonal price volatility is clear: most energy trading arbitrage opportunities occur over winter when prices are more volatile, so throughput will be high at this time. However, in summer the system can be used to provide reduced throughput capacity-based services to maximise the overall £/kW value.


Behind-the-meter models

Last November saw the unveiling of a 2MW battery installed by Pivot Power at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium – the first behind-the-meter battery to be aimed primarily at wholesale energy trading – powered by the club’s Official Renewable Energy Partner Octopus Energy.

The system is fully automated and optimised by Open Energi’s Dynamic Demand 2.0 platform.

By using the battery to supply the stadium at the most expensive times of day, Arsenal reduces its electricity bill. At the same time, the system is generating revenue – split between Arsenal, Pivot Power and investor, Downing LLP – from energy arbitrage and imbalance opportunities. Crucially, with a limited number of dispatches, optimisation is about identifying the best opportunities.

To manage this, Open Energi assigns a cost to every MWh of throughput and a limit to the number of cycles for each part of the revenue stack. This ensures the optimum pay-off between throughput and revenues. Given the latest wholesale price forecasts and a full understanding of the other non-commodity costs involved, forecasts of the stadium demand (using Arsenal’s match schedule), and knowledge of the physical attributes of the battery system, Dynamic Demand 2.0 uses machine learning techniques to generate the most optimal profile for the system to follow. This is done at multiple timescales: day ahead, intraday, and real time. The simulations below are designed to illustrate how this process works in practice. Figure 1 shows the price signal, as known day ahead, and the resulting optimisation. This optimisation is then updated within the day, in response to a possible triad call: we deviate from the nominated schedule in order to make the most revenue from the possible triad, shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1: Day ahead price signal and resulting optimisation of battery. This is nominated to the supplier to purchase on wholesale market, day ahead.

Figure 2: Actual dispatch of battery according to day ahead schedule, with intra-day update due to a Triad call, where the price for one of the Triads is shown on a logarithmic axis. The actual Triad won’t be known until after the season.

The technology is helping to maximise benefit from assets on sites across the UK, not just premier league football clubs. Understanding the electricity contract for each of these sites is key to unlocking the most value. Figure 3 below shows one such industrial site which has co-located solar. The battery is charged up using excess solar power during the day, and is then used to take the site offline at the most expensive times. The industrial site operator saves money on their electricity bill as they reduce their imports from Grid, and the system also generates revenue by performing FFR.


Figure 3: Impact of battery on industrial site with co-located solar

Here, understanding the intricacies of the Power Purchase Agreements between the various parties involved has been crucial. Open Energi, acting as the aggregator, must have a full picture of the contracts between the solar system operator, the industrial site, and the asset manager. Will the system earn any revenues from export? Is the import and export held by the same supplier, or are they under providers and exposed to different terms and pricing? Are the parties fully aware of what markets and price components they are exposed to?

As more battery storage projects proceed on a merchant basis, creating innovative, multi-partner business models like this, in a sustainable, asset-centric way, will be vital to ensure momentum is maintained towards a low carbon, decentralised energy economy which reduces costs for consumers and maximises use of clean, cheap, renewable energy.


This blog was originally published at https://www.current-news.co.uk/blogs/throughput-vs-revenues-making-the-most-from-battery-storage

V2X: how ‘storage on wheels’ can reshape our energy system

EV smart charging

Dagoberto Cedillos, Strategy & Innovation Lead at Open Energi

As Electric Vehicle (EV) uptake accelerates we’re starting to see a radical transformation in the way transportation influences the power system. Vehicle-to-X (V2X) technology, which can be used to discharge an EV battery back to the grid, or to power our homes and businesses, has a pivotal role to play.

By unlocking ‘storage on wheels’ V2X can bring down the cost of EV ownership; reducing the need for infrastructure upgrades and cost effectively integrating more renewable generation. Open Energi’s analysis suggests that by using vehicle batteries to optimise electricity demand against prices, EV owners could benefit from a new income stream in the region of £1,500 a year.

EV momentum

The UK currently has over 130,000 EVs on the road, and National Grid expects this to rise to over 10 million by 2030. Globally, BNEF forecasts 130 million EVs in the same timeframe.  As 2019 gets underway, all the indicators suggest EV growth is well on its way to hitting these targets, breaking records month-on-month. The graph below shows how EV forecasts have increased year on year. It’s possible we will see a very visible step change in the mid-2020s, as EVs hit up-front cost parity with Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs).


BNEF rising consensus on EV adoptionRising Consensus on EV adoption, source BNEF

Quantifying EV flexibility from smart charging

Last year Open Energi analysed the potential to manage EV electricity demand (one way) using smart charging.  Taking National Grid’s 10 million by 2030 forecast, we identified some 12GW of flexibility which could turn EVs from a threat to grid stability to an asset that can benefit the grid, drivers and the environment alike.

Smart charging flexibility comes from the energy that can be shifted (e.g. moving a period of charge, or part of it, from one time to another) and is determined by the amount of energy a vehicle will require at a given charge.

An average vehicle in the UK drives 21 miles per day, which translates to 6-7kWh. It is also limited by the speed of charging, typically 3, 7 or 11kW for an EV charging at home or in the workplace.  These scenarios offer the most smart charging potential because vehicles are parked and charging for longer periods, which makes their charging more interruptible.

There is no need for an expensive rapid charger outside your office or home if you are parked there for several hours. You will have ample time to charge your vehicle with a cheaper, slower charger.

Flexibility from EV charging with higher charging speeds is less interruptible, as it will tend to take place in situations where people want to charge quickly and continue with their journey, e.g. forecourt environments. These rapid charging scenarios will likely be complemented by stationary energy storage, which will help to reduce consumption during peak periods, manage local network constraints and provide grid services, as in the case of Open Energi’s project at South Mimms Motorway Services.

V2X capabilities

V2X tableOpen Energi’s 2017 analysis explored the potential to enable flexibility via smart charging. Turning our attention from smart charging to V2X provides food for thought. Instead of being limited by the amount of demand that can be shifted, V2X flexibility is defined by the amount of energy storage capacity in the vehicle battery (e.g. 40kWh for a Nissan Leaf) and its charge/discharge speed (3kW or 10kW based on current technology). This energy storage capacity could be used multiple times in a day, depending on its charging and discharging.

Conservatively assuming 5 million vehicles on the roads by 2030 – half of National Grid’s forecast – this translates to 200GWh of storage. Assuming they could charge/discharge at a low speed of 3kW, this equates to 15GW of capacity, enough to power 30 million homes! For comparison, National Grid’s most optimistic 2030 forecast of total (stationary) electricity storage capacity is 9GW.

Household demand

Given the battery accounts for some 50% of the car’s cost it is important to consider battery lifecycle and how using it could impact the vehicle’s warranty. However, keep in mind that a vehicle driving the average 21 miles a day will use less than a fifth of its capacity each day (7kWh/40kWh). The graph below illustrates a typical UK home’s daily consumption, which is in the region of 2kWh over the evening peak (4-7pm).

Daily Household Electricity ConsumptionResidential demand profile, source UKERC

Using V2X technology, an EV battery could discharge to the home during this time and already create substantial value by simply taking the household ‘off-grid’ when prices are at their highest. Adding this 2kWh to the 7kWh needed for driving gives a total daily throughput of 9kWh, or 22.5% of battery capacity.

EV storage on wheels

The batteries Open Energi operates in our portfolio of distributed energy assets usually perform a full charge/discharge cycle per day and comply with warranty conditions, so there is potential to extract further value by increasing the utilisation of the vehicle battery. However, in the example of a household we need to evaluate if the spread between the export price during the peak and the import price when energy is recovered is positive to justify exporting to the grid. This is not necessarily the case for larger demand sites such as an Industrial or Commercial user.

Opportunity for large energy users

Sites with greater demand could shift even more energy, and discharge more vehicles at once, without having to export. Essentially, a fleet of commercial vehicles becomes a behind-the-meter energy storage asset for a site when drivers have finished their shifts, displacing site consumption during the peak and recharging the vehicle battery when prices fall. Open Energi’s analysis suggests that this kind of demand optimisation could be worth up to £1,500 per vehicle per year.

The main obstacle today is the price and availability of V2G chargers but this should quickly change. While V2G chargers are relatively difficult to procure at present, V2G compatible vehicles are already being sold at a similar price to comparable EV models. For example, Nissan’s electric van, the e-NV200, does not seem to have a premium for the feature – it comes already equipped with V2G compatible charging technology. As charging technology catches up, V2G will be a standard bundled feature of these vehicles.

Storage on wheels

Projects such as Powerloop, the first large-scale domestic V2G trial in the UK, aim to demonstrate the benefits of V2X in action. Backed by Innovate UK and bringing together a consortium including Open Energi, Octopus Energy, Octopus Electric Vehicles, UK Power Networks and ChargePoint Services, the 3-year, £7 million project will see 135 V2G chargers rolled out on the UK’s electricity grid. EV drivers will be able to access a special V2G bundle when leasing a V2G compatible car.

A two-way charger will enable the driver to charge their vehicle intelligently, using their vehicle battery to power their home during peak times or sell spare power back to the grid. The project will also focus on the role of EVs in delivering flexibility services to the local network. Open Energi’s Dynamic Demand 2.0 technology will aggregate the cars’ battery power to integrate domestic V2G into UK Power Networks’ flexibility services.  Together, we aim to demonstrate the benefits of using EVs to support the grid and reduce costs for drivers.

It’s clear that V2X unlocks a huge opportunity for energy systems globally – with the potential to create a volume of ‘storage on wheels’ that will ultimately eclipse grid-scale and behind-the-meter batter storage many times over. Depending on how we shape regulation, develop technology and create new business models, this huge amount of flexible storage potential could be captured to lower the cost of car ownership, power our homes, and operate our electricity network more efficiently, whilst accelerating our transition to a net zero carbon future.

Power Engineering International: Arsenal football club install energy storage system

Power Engineering International

The first energy storage system to be installed at a UK football stadium has been unveiled.

The 3 MW battery system at the ground of Premier League club Arsenal in north London will be able to run the 60,000-seat stadium for the entire 90 minutes of a match. A further 1MW of storage to be added next summer.

Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: “This is a big step forwards for us in being efficient with energy usage and it builds on our work in reducing our carbon footprint as an organization.”

The system is also intended to operate as support for the wider UK grid. It be automatically traded and optimized by Open Energi in response to market signals and has already secured a frequency response contract from National Grid.

Read the full article here.

Current News: Arsenal makes UK first with behind the meter battery for wholesale trading

Current News

Arsenal football club’s Emirates Stadium has become home to what could be the first behind the meter battery of its size to be aimed at wholesale energy trading over frequency response.

The 2MW/2.5MWh Tesla system, unveiled yesterday, is the first battery storage system to be installed at a UK football club’s stadium following three years of development between the club, Pivot Power and Downing LLP.

The installation has a firm frequency response (FFR) contract via Open Energi, which will use the battery to meet the needs of a 2MW contract won in September’s tender for delivery from 1 October 2019 for six months, ending 31 March 2020.

Read the full article here.

Flexibility a valuable opportunity for CHPs


Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units are helping businesses to reduce costs and carbon and boost energy security but could be missing out on valuable flexibility revenues. Alana O’Neill, Senior Business Development Manager at Open Energi, explores the opportunity.

CHPs have an important role to play in the UK’s transition to a sustainable energy system and are being adopted by a growing number of businesses across the UK to help reduce energy costs, boost energy security and support carbon reduction efforts.

A 2017 ADE report found that over 2,000 businesses across the UK had already invested in the technology, saving an estimated £375m annually. These CHPs are already generating around 5.7GW of electricity for a wide range of industries, from brewing and paper manufacturing through to hospitals and water utilities, and this could rise to 15GW by 2025.

One part of CHPs’ appeal is they are very flexible assets which provide a controllable source of on-site electricity generation and heat. This controllability means CHPs are also an ideal asset for participating in flexibility markets and can increase or decrease generation to help businesses reduce overall electricity costs. However, as this is not their primary purpose, CHPs are often not optimised against electricity prices or other market signals, which means they could be missing out on significant value.

Unlocking flexibility value

Open Energi’s analysis suggests that fully optimised, a CHP unit has the potential to earn around £20-35,000 per MW of installed capacity annually through a combination of flexibility services:

  • Peak price management – increasing CHP generation during peak periods (4-7pm) means sites can reduce demand from (or export to) the grid and reduce the cost of (or benefit from) Triad, DUoS charges and the CM Levy*.
  • Balancing services – CHPs can provide a combination of balancing services, including firm frequency response (FFR) and demand turn-up (DTU) to National Grid and earn revenue in return for increasing or decreasing generation to help balance electricity supply and demand.
  • Energy trading – CHPs can take advantage of price arbitrage opportunities in wholesale and imbalance markets to make money and cut costs. The scope of this will be determined by the supply contract or PPA in place, but the opportunity is expected to grow as price volatility increases with growing renewable generation.
  • Local markets – Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) are starting to procure flexible capacity locally – most have now signed up to the Piclo Flex platform as their route to market – offering a new revenue stream to CHP owners able to help DNOs manage constraints on the network and avoid reinforcement costs.
  • Capacity Market – exporting CHPs which aren’t receiving subsidies under the Renewable Obligation scheme are eligible for the Government’s Capacity Market scheme, which pays providers of capacity for being available to respond when the system is under stress*.

Site factors to consider

There are lots of factors that need to be considered when building a business case for CHPs.

  • Biogas or gas grid connected – The ADE suggests that over 2,000 businesses or sites across the UK have CHP units installed, and latest data from Ofgem indicates that there are around 450 which are renewably powered. Sites reliant on biogas will face different constraints and challenges when it comes to managing generation and providing flexible capacity including the availability of gas storage.
  • Behind or in front of-the-meter – CHPs supplying on-site demand (known as behind-the-meter) will have a different business case than front-of-the-meter sites e.g. AD plants, which are solely exporting. The former can unlock more value from reducing site demand but may be more constrained in other ways.
  • CHP location – Peak prices vary across Distribution Networks, so this can affect the business case.
  • Heat demand – Requirements for on-site heat demand are also an important factor in determining how much flexibility a CHP unit can provide.

Of course the primary concern of any site operator is that asset performance and lifetime will not be affected by asking CHP engines to perform flexibility services. The importance of understanding site characteristics and asset constraints cannot be understated. Building strategies that can deliver value automatically while working within these is key.

Open Energi’s Dynamic Demand 2.0 platform does just this – automatically optimising a CHP’s operation to maximise value from flexibility markets without impacting overall performance or asset lifetime. The platform uses artificial intelligence to coordinate site demand and generation and deliver an invisible service that takes a holistic view of energy optimisation.  To date the platform has connected over 3,500 assets UK-wide and performed over 60 million switches – operating invisibly deep within customer processes without once affecting site operations.

Future outlook

As the UK energy industry shifts to a more decentralised, digitalised and decarbonised future the need for flexible services to help manage the system is growing. Market regulations and policy are playing catch up as the Government seeks to deliver the £40bn of value identified by its Smart Systems and Flexibility plan. Significant reforms are expected to network charges and market access over the next 18 months. With the right technology in place, companies with CHPs will be well placed to take advantage of these opportunities and play an important role in creating a cleaner, more affordable energy future.

Codford Biogas case study: for more information on Open Energi’s work with CHP units read our case study with Codford Biogas, who are recycling food waste to provide almost 4MW of renewable generation.

Contact: Alana O’Neill – alana.oneill@openenergi.com / 07468 700796

*On the 15/11/18 the Capacity Market was temporarily suspended after an EU ruling against the European Commission. This means the CM has entered a ‘standstill period’ which prevents any CM auctions being held or payments being made until the scheme is reapproved. You can find more from National Grid on CM payments and the upcoming CM auctions here, and BEIS’ most recent proposals here.

Charity cycle funds solar panels in Kenya. Thank you to all our sponsors!

London to Brighton-Ditchling Beacon

On the 27th September ten not-so-seasoned Open Energi cyclists gathered at London’s Clapham Common to tackle the 54-mile cycle route from London to Brighton in aid of Renewable World, a charity dedicated to bringing clean and sustainable sources of energy to power-poor communities.

We had an amazing day, and all arrived safely in Brighton with no major mishaps other than David Hill contriving to get a puncture 400 yards from the start, and Tom Saul delivering a circus-style dismount in front of an appreciative seaside crowd. Special mention goes to Clive Booth for completing the course (including the monstrous climb up to Ditchling Beacon) on a bike wholly unsuited to the purpose, the cycling equivalent of dragging a sack of rocks along behind him.

charity cycle

Most importantly though we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who so generously supported our efforts. Collectively we raised over £3,700 which is paying for 20 X 24V (250W) solar panels for community owned solar microgrids for communities living on the shores of Lake Victoria, Kenya.

Access to renewable energy not only helps to drive improvements in the health, education and income of local people; it also reduces environmental damage.

‘Since I was connected to the bug, my life has changed. I want my wife to study at university, that is my dream.’ Charles, N’gore Village, Kenya

But there is a long way to go. Globally, almost 1 in 5 people do not have access to electricity; over 1 in 4 lack basic water services like taps and safe drinking water; and over 1 in 3 are without clean cooking facilities. Without access to energy, people remain trapped in a vicious circle of poverty.

Since 2007 Renewable World’s programmes have transformed the lives of over 35,000 people in Central America, East Africa, and South Asia, bringing life-changing renewable energy to communities in need.

To find out more about their fantastic work please visit their website.

ADE I&C Energy Conference

ADE logo

On the 30th October the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) will be hosting a practical conference designed to support developers, suppliers, industrial and commercial customers, funders and consultants in understanding industrial energy use in the future smart system.

Open Energi’s Commercial Director will join key market players and experts, discussing:

  • What will be the most lucrative markets in the future smart system for industrial energy?
  • How can large energy users increase their energy revenue and/or decrease their energy costs?
  • How can we make business energy policy more reflective of business needs?

Date: 30th October 2018

Location: Pinsent Masons, London,  EC2A 4ES

Speaker: David Hill, Commercial Director

Further information is available from the event website.