UK developer of a nationwide network of transmission system-connected batteries Pivot Power has started tendering for storage systems.


The first 50MW battery storage system the company is developing will be deployed in Southampton and will become operational by October 2019.

Pivot Power CEO Matthew Allen

“We’re looking for a turnkey system that includes batteries, power control system and energy management, provided by one supplier or system integrator, we are not doing integration,” says chief executive Matthew Allen.

Plugging big batteries directly into the transmission system can earn revenues from wholesale energy market trading and from the balancing mechanism, in addition to grid services and the capacity market, where revenues are shrinking.

This means the batteries will be expected to work intensively, so a key requisite is the warranties offered. After running internal modelling scenarios and a range of usage scenarios that consider various trading and grid balancing activity, the cycling rates of the batteries are expected to be higher than initially anticipated, according to Allen.


EV charging ‘super hub’ plans take shape

The company has also start investigating providers of different types of chargers for the EV charging ‘super hub’ that will be developed near the battery as part of Pivot Power’s plans to roll-out rapid charging infrastructure.

Potential sites for the hub have been narrowed down to a few, mainly to close to major roundabouts near Southampton. The super hub will likely include rapid chargers in the 350kW power range, as well lower power rapid versions. DC technology, though more costly, is also being considered.

EV charging infrastructure is in its early phase of development so the Southampton and other initial sites – Pivot Power expects to develop 3-4 by 2020 – will provide an opportunity to get the charging mix right.

“If you just install 350kW chargers not all EVs can use these. We don’t want to alienate Nissan Leaf drivers. If you install other charger options you can ensure recharging is as cheap as possible, similar to what customers pay for electricity in their domestic bill. With a mix of chargers, drivers will be charging over a number of minutes,” says Allen.

Pivot Power wants the sites to provide an opportunity for a different experience to what motorway services provide, says Allen. “While charging, you’ll be able to check emails, have refreshments. We are evangelical about EVs. At some of the sites we envisage dealerships with EV showrooms.

“Our locations are going to be close to motorways and that is where people who want to test drive an EV will want to try the car, then you can compare how it is, as well as try out some autonomous driving technology on-board the vehicle.”


Destination hubs for potential EV converts

Offering a different type of charging experience

As well as catering to existing EV drivers Pivot Power wants to make the hubs a destination point for potential EV drivers and buyers.

“There will be some integration opportunities for the batteries and charging hubs. Some additional value will be extracted if the trading algorithms can feed into the charging side, so you could potentially have some time of day pricing to reflect trading market prices, for example,” Allen says.

The company is in talks with various businesses and organisations that own land close to major and key roads and routes as well as substations, including local authorities and landowners, such as farmers and estates.