A123 Systems, a developer and manufacturer of advanced batteries and systems, is set to supply six Grid Battery Systems (GBSs) to Northern Powergrid, an electricity distribution network operator that delivers power to more than 3.8 million customers in the U.K.

The GBSs are designed for peak-load shifting in order to manage fluctuations in voltage on the national grid. The systems will be deployed as part of the Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR), a project funded by Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund, to develop a smart grid capable of handling the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Jim Cardwell, Head of Regulation and Stratergy at Northern Powergird said: “The CLNR will evaluate a number of innovative network technologies to accommodate increasing quantities of low-carbon loads and renewable generation necessary to meet the UK's climate change goals. One aspect of this multifaceted project is to determine how the use of storage technology may reduce peak loading on our network and thereby offset the need for network reinforcement, A123's battery energy storage systems will showcase how such technology can be part of the UK's low-carbon future.”

A123 Systems’ GBSs have been designed to provide Northern Powergrid with strong solutions to better manage voltage regulation requirements in order to maintain grid stability and power quality, as more clean energy resources are added. A123 supplied a 2.5MW system, two 100kW systems and three 50kW systems. Each system is designed to maintain these power capabilities for up to two hours, adding flexibility to the distribution network and helping to provide consistent delivery of reliable power to customers.

“Grid operators around the world are faced with a variety of technical hurdles when trying to add significant renewable capacity. In the UK, distribution networks often have limitations that make adding high concentrations of wind and solar difficult,” said Robert Johnson, Vice President of the Energy Solutions Group at A123. “Battery energy storage can overcome these challenges by efficiently managing the voltage levels of the power network, and we look forward to working with Northern Powergrid on the CLNR smart grid project, which we view as an excellent opportunity for A123 to showcase the versatility and performance of our GBS,” Johnson continued. The GBSs are expected to be operational by the end of 2012.