Appointment of Commercial Director

Arenko, a leading battery software services provider to the global battery automation market, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jacob Monroe as Commercial Director.

Jacob joins Arenko from Advanced Microgrid Solutions, San Francisco, where he held the position of Vice President of Business Development. During his time at Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Jacob led the team that sourced, negotiated, and closed the rights to real estate and electrical load for more than 300MWh of distributed energy storage. That storage formed a virtual power plant that delivered vital electrical capacity to the grid in the wake of a retired local nuclear generating facility. It did so from behind client meters in an agreement with Southern California Edison, provided significant savings to commercial and industrial hosts including Fortune 500 companies and major public agencies, and qualified for State of California incentives. In overseeing business development of the portfolio, Jacob was part of the leadership team that commercialised a ground-breaking new asset class with a $200m project finance vehicle led by the global infrastructure financier Macquarie Capital.

Prior to his four years at Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Jacob led sales and customer service teams selling the Tesla electric vehicle during a period of rapid corporate growth and limited public understanding of EVs and their infrastructure.

Jacob has an Economics Major and German Minor from Willamette University, Oregon, USA.

Rupert Newland, Founder and CEO of Arenko Group, said:

“I am delighted to confirm the hire of Jacob Monroe as Commercial Director for the Group. Jacob brings a wealth of experience with him from his time at Tesla and more recently Advanced Microgrid Solutions. We see the hire of Jacob as a key component for the next stage of growth and we are confident that he will be a great addition to the Arenko Team.”

Arenko Group, a leading battery software services provider to the multi-billion-dollar global battery automation market, is pleased to announce that CEO, Rupert Newland has spoken on the Leaders in Cleantech Podcast with David Hunt.

The link to the podcast can be found here: https://leadersincleantech.com/rupert-newland-arenko-group.

In the podcast, Rupert discusses the evolution of Arenko, the energy transition debate including the evolution of battery energy storage and how he sees the sector evolving over the coming years.

Arenko Group sells development rights on two new 50MW projects to Gresham House Devco (Gresham House).  Arenko has also signed services agreements for the optimisation of these projects.

Arenko, a leading battery software services provider to the global battery automation market, is pleased to announce that, following the sale of its 41MW Bloxwich energy storage project to Gresham House Energy Storage Fund plc (“GRID” or “the Fund”), on 3 July 2020, it has sold development rights relating to two additional 50MW energy storage projects to Gresham House. Gresham House has acquired these projects to add to GRID’s pipeline.

Arenko, using its AI driven, automated software platform will optimise and trade both batteries upon completion, which is expected by Q1 2022. Both projects will be connected directly to National Grid’s transmission system.

Arenko’s software platform is designed to maximise the availability and profitability of battery storage assets to help accelerate the transition towards a fully decarbonized power system. Arenko’s software platform currently manages 41MW of operational assets with capacity to rapidly scale up to service a growing energy storage market driven by the influx of renewable power to the energy market.

Through this transaction, Arenko is expanding its relationship with GRID, the UK’s largest owner and operator of energy storage projects (with a 20-30% market share), whilst continuing its aim to become the partner of choice for battery asset owners across the UK.

Rupert Newland, Founder and CEO of Arenko Group, said:

“We are pleased to have entered into a further service contract for these two new projects that we expect to be owned and operated by GRID, which runs the UK’s largest operational battery storage fund. We are building a business with recurring revenue streams, through long term service contracts. This contract forms part of our ambition to help multiple battery storage owners to fully optimise their asset performance by using our software. We believe our AI software platform is world-leading and we look forward to working with other battery owners as part of the global energy transition story.”

Ben Guest, Fund Manager, Gresham House Energy Storage Fund plc, added:

“We are delighted that Gresham House has acquired these project rights to add significantly to GRID’s pipeline, and that these projects will be optimised by Arenko. These would count as the Fund’s first transmission-connected projects.  We continue to believe that having access to a large, exclusive pipeline (which GRID defines strictly as shovel-ready project rights owned exclusively for the Fund) as a strategic advantage for the Fund as the market burgeons.”

PART 1: CONVENTIONAL RESERVE

The ESO uses the balancing mechanism (BM) to manage electricity demand and supply while managing a variety of issues (energy, inertia, voltage, constraints, reserve etc). Here, I will focus only on how the industry currently meets the need for reserve and explain the opportunity for doing it in a cheaper, cleaner, more flexible way.

What is reserve?

Reserve is needed to ensure that the ESO can call upon assets to increase or decrease power output to balance any unexpected changes in demand or supply. It’s an important part of securing the system and is essentially used to manage forecast error margins or unexpected outages; kind of like a substitutes bench, or insurance policy. The size of the need is complex to calculate, but according to the newly available data in the ESO data portal – the need for positive and negative reserve is typically between 1-2,000MW up and down, and can be up to 3,000MW each way.

How does it work at the moment?

Combined cycles gas turbines (CCGTs) typically incur a large start-up cost to fire up, and have to stay on for a long period of time. This large start-up cost can be spread over a longer time period in order to make the marginal cost of power competitive. The principle also applies to reserve, where the large start-up cost is still incurred, but the CCGTs are operating at a reduced power output to provide upwards and/or downwards flexibility. One catch is that to access this reserve, the CCGTs have to be ‘positioned’ and kept on for hours at a time, even if they are only needed for a short time.

When CCGTs are already on, the large start-up cost becomes less influential. Therefore, given the low additional marginal costs of providing the output, CCGTs can be a very competitive option to balance the system. However, in high renewables & low national demand situations (i.e. the summer of covid-19), CCGTs are often lower down the economic merit order and therefore not running at all.

Indeed, due to the increasing volatility of the system, it is almost impossible for the ESO to make optimal commitments by bringing CCGTs on a 4-6 hour run. Especially if the outturn is up to 3000MW away from forecast.

What if there is not enough reserve?

The answer is usually firing up CCGTs ahead of time, but this comes with consequences. Firstly, the payment for providing reserve is technically attributed to the ‘positioning energy’ which is not the bit that is necessarily needed. Secondly, if the system is already balanced, the extra ‘positioning energy’ has to ‘go’ somewhere – either by paying to reduce generation or increase demand.

This is odd when you think about it. Why pay for the part of a service you don’t need, and then pay to get rid of it again… rather than just pay for the bit you do need? Nevertheless, it has been the only option available to the ESO and is a consequence of the current market arrangement and the limitations of a technology that must be halfway ‘on’ to provide flexibility.

We have seen this situation happen with increasing frequency where, at times, the best option to secure reserve appears to be turning down low carbon nuclear and renewables and exporting power over interconnectors, sometimes at a loss to Europe, whilst bringing on CCGT assets to provide reserve. None of this is consistent with Net-Zero and clearly we need better options to be available to the ESO, particularly when better options are available today through batteries.

Why is this a problem?

All this manoeuvring ahead of time can make the BM less dynamic and reduce the inherent volatility that other technologies, like batteries, are well placed to manage.

It’s like paying to lease a second car in case your first car breaks down. The cost also includes paying for parking and leaving the engine running for a quick getaway. It technically works and provides peace of mind, but it is more expensive than just getting a Zipcar if and when you need it. I’m not even going to mention emissions.

This effectively denies batteries a fair share of the ‘balancing pie’ as it were (Zipcar wouldn’t even get a look-in if you already committed to that second car). So, we jumped at the chance to respond to the ESO’s request for new ideas about flexibility services. We wanted to show that not only could batteries technically provide this service, whilst bringing technology-specific advantages of speed and flexibility.

PART 2: DYNAMIC RESERVE:

The principle of batteries being more commercially competitive to provide reserve is a simple one, in that they do not need to be ‘on’ to provide reserve, so inherently the costs and emissions should be lower. That is before having to account for any offset actions required to offset the ‘positioning energy’ when there is no need for this excess energy.

The more difficult practical challenge was proving that batteries could be relied upon to provide sustained reserve. If we could prove this, then batteries could be legitimately planned and paid for ahead of time. This could increase effective competition for CCGTs, and in turn, help drive down emissions and balancing costs for the end consumer.

What was the proposal?

We approached this challenge from a different perspective. Firstly, rather than thinking uniquely in energy capacity terms (if the battery is empty, it’s useless), we preferred to think in power terms. To be specific, the 41MW Bloxwich asset always has 82MW of power available, even when no power is flowing at the meter. With this new perspective came new insight.

This section illustrates, in principle, how it is possible to maintain sustained negative reserve with a 1-hour battery. I will run through negative reserve only (i.e. charging the battery), but the inverse applies for positive reserve too.

SOC: State of charge of a battery.

PN: Physical Notification; the planned charge/discharge schedule of the battery, which the ESO can change through instruction

State A:

  • SOC:0%(batteryempty)
  • PN:0MW

When the battery is at 0% SOC, a 1h battery has approximately 1h10m of negative reserve available at 41MW. If this is not utilised, the battery will continue to provide 41MW of negative reserve indefinitely without any active power on the system (unlike conventional plant that would need to be ‘positioned’). However, if it is used, the SOC will move towards State B…

State B:

  • SOC:100%(batteryfull)
  • PN:0MW

If the battery reaches 100% SOC, the battery is full, but it can still provide negative reserve by moving to state C via a ‘positioning BOA’. In practise, the aim would be to position the battery before ever reaching state B.

State C:

  • SOC100%(batteryfull)
  • PN:41MW(dischargefor1h)

From 100% SOC, with a 41MW discharge PN, the battery is discharging but can still provide negative reserve at 41MW for 1h. The net power at the meter would actually be 0MW in this case. At the end of this period, the battery will revert to State A (providing 41MW of reserve for 1h10m).

These ‘states’ demonstrate sustained negative reserve, no matter the SOC. However, in practice, the aim would be to move between these states and maintain the asset in the middle SOC range and to provide even more reserve as per State D, below.

State D (Boost):

Ahead of utilisation, ‘Positioning instructions’ can be used to effectively double our negative reserve during times of particularly high requirements (a 41MW discharge gives 82MW negative reserve). This can be over an hour, or for a short duration of a couple of minutes as the system needs it. To quote Laura Sandys – this would help us ‘manage the peak’ not simply ‘meet the peak’.

The ESO can therefore plan the requirement for positive and/or negative reserve at very specific times – significantly undercutting the overall ‘positioning costs’ of CCGTs. This shows that batteries can provide reserve that is dynamic in time, size, and direction. In some ways, this addresses a weakness of batteries (duration) and flips it into a strength.

PART 3: SO HOW DID IT GO?

Arenko conducted two trials with the ESO to try to prove this capability for the control room and now the ESO has decided to take it further and conduct an expanded trial with more batteries in September. We think trials and learning by doing are a great way to innovate and would like to thank all those who worked on this trial, both from the ESO and Arenko. You can read more about the second trial here

Facts & figures

Some quick highlights of what we achieved in the second trial include:

  • 1GWh physically delivered in one week
  • 100% instructions dispatched correctly
  • Autonomous nomination and denomination

Reserve from batteries was seen to be a cost-effective alternative to CCGT’s across 106h out of 160h during relatively normal market conditions, at £15/MW/h equivalent

We had a particularly exciting Monday morning where we provided 5.5 hours at full power, continuously, from a 1- hour duration asset. Perhaps we’ll blog on that too…

In summary…

Batteries have already dominated the frequency markets in just a couple of years and as an industry, we are fast approaching an inflection point. In the UK we now have the stability pathfinder, distributed black start, the new NOA and reactive power tenders emerging. This truly is an exciting time for batteries.

What we need now is a level playing field and a clear price signal to help stimulate the much-anticipated investment in batteries, really scale the industry and offer further benefits to the ESO and consumers in the future. Initially, paying for and accessing reserve from batteries will provide a much more flexible and cost effective tool for the ESO to manage this increasing volatility. This trial is helping to open up the reserve market to increased competition. This will help batteries, especially longer duration batteries, to truly compete with CCGT commitments in the mid-merit of the electricity market.

I hope the storage industry will come together, collaborate on this September trial to achieve the scale necessary to compete with CCGTs. To that end, if any asset owner or software provider wants to be involved in the September trial and needs a hand, we want to help. Please get in touch via hello@arenko.group.

Arenko is pleased to announce the successful completion of the initial stage of its first-of-its-kind battery reserve trial with National Grid ESO. Having announced this innovative trial in May 2020, both parties have agreed to further trials as we move towards unlocking the full potential of batteries as a source of balancing flexibility to the de-carbonised grid of the future.

Headline results:

  • National Grid ESO confirm in their statement that batteries offer a cost-effective option for upward and downward reserve
  • The trial demonstrated that the Electricity National Control Centre (“ENCC”) can effectively request the availability of sustained upward and downward reserve through existing operational arrangements
  • Further trials are planned for July and then September 2020, when a broader number of batteries will be involved

Arenko’s flexible software architecture and automation technology was able to rapidly deliver a reserve service to National Grid ESO which allowed them to use cost effective, digitalised battery technology in a market previously dominated by thermal power plants and Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (“CCGT”). This trial presents a clear path for National Grid ESO to be able to deliver a carbon free system by 2025 and to manage the substantial deployment of renewable energy expected over the coming years without having to unnecessarily switch on polluting, expensive power stations.

A link to the National Grid ESO statement can be found here: https://data.nationalgrideso.com/plans-reports-analysis/covid-19-preparedness-materials/r/trial_review_-_reserve_from_storage_in_the_bm

Arenko and National Grid ESO have agreed to two further extended trials in July and September 2020 to build on the success of this first trial as this service gathers momentum towards being a business as usual option available to ENCC.

National Grid ESO have recently published their System Operability Plans (“SOP”) indicating 1-2GW of ongoing requirement for upward and downward reserve, and this trial represents a major step forward for our software to be able to access additional revenue opportunities for batteries in an important and established market which has previously been inaccessible to batteries.

This is a clear example of how batteries can establish themselves as an integral future technology for balancing the electricity system outside of just the frequency response market.

Rupert Newland, founder and Chief Executive of Arenko said:

“We are delighted that National Grid ESO see such value in the potential and cost effectiveness of using batteries, operated by our software, to deliver upward and downward reserve. This innovative approach is a further example of Arenko creating value for our customers. We look forward to these extended trials and ultimately establishing upward and downward reserve as a core market for our battery customers to generate additional revenue from their batteries.”

National Grid ESO stated:

“National Grid ESO want to thank Arenko for their proposal and working with us on the initial trial, and all other parties who worked with us to access additional flexibility at pace this summer. We believe that short burst trials are a positive way to for the ENCC to learn at pace and support providers looking to enter the market and provide solid foundations for operating carbon free by 2025.”

Arenko Group, a leading battery software services provider to the multi-billion-dollar global battery automation market, is pleased to announce the sale of its 41MW Bloxwich battery asset to Gresham House Energy Storage Fund PLC (“Gresham House”), Great Britain’s largest operational battery storage fund, for a total cash consideration of £20.1 million, with further potential earnout payments.

The Bloxwich project was developed by Arenko and utilises their recognised and leading battery software and controls platform and, post-acquisition, will continue to operate and optimise Bloxwich.  The sale of the Bloxwich battery asset significantly strengthens Arenko’s balance sheet to enable the Company to fund expansion of its software and services platform as it becomes a fully digital business.

Arenko provides an AI driven, highly automated software platform that enables 24hr autonomous operations. The platform maximises the economic value of its clients’ assets by optimising trading across the UK’s physical electricity Balancing Mechanism market, European Power Exchange (“EPEX”) and other ancillary service markets.

Under Arenko ownership, Bloxwich was the first battery to be autonomously traded in the Balancing Mechanism and has significantly outperformed other batteries in that market, which stands testament to Arenko’s innovative software architecture and neural network platform. In mid-May 2020, Bloxwich was used to provide upward and downward reserve flexibility to National Grid in the UK’s first-of-its-kind trial using an energy storage system (‘ESS’). Existing upward and downward reserve services are largely provided by large Combined Cycle Gas Turbines and other thermal generation at a significant financial cost and creating significant carbon dioxide emissions. ESS are an exciting and more cost-effective source of grid flexibility and are likely to be central to the zero-carbon emissions grid of the future.

Arenko believes digitally connected, highly automated battery storage assets are an essential part of the energy transition story, helping provide instantaneous power and frequency support to the grid. The recent COVID-19 crisis has reshaped the UK power network, causing renewable power to meet up to 60% of daily demand* and highlighting the essential role that will be played by battery storage and other flexible assets in the net zero grid of the future. Arenko’s software platform is designed to maximise the availability and profitability of battery storage assets and will help accelerate the transition towards a fully decarbonized power system.

This announcement builds on the statement of 15 June 2020, when Arenko expanded its platform capabilities from the physical balancing mechanism market into the intra-day EPEX market. This new module allows battery asset owners to diversify their revenue streams and increase the ultimate return on investment of their assets without incurring incremental costs.

Arenko looks forward to expanding its long-term service relationship with Gresham House and aims to become the partner of choice for battery asset owners across the UK.

Rupert Newland, Founder and CEO of Arenko Group, said:

“This is a transformational deal for Arenko as it marks our transition from an asset owner to a software service provider. Our ambition is to help multiple battery storage owners to fully optimise their asset performance by using our software. We see batteries and other flexible assets playing a meaningful role in the energy transition and believe intelligent AI software platforms will be a crucial enabler to unlock value from batteries globally. We look forward to working with Gresham House and other battery asset owners to help them maximise the value of their assets in the future.”

Ben Guest, Fund Manager, Gresham House Energy Storage Fund PLC

“We are delighted to have completed this acquisition. Arenko is one of only a handful of innovative and technically-capable operators and optimisers of energy storage systems in the market, as demonstrated by their recent announcements. We look forward to working with them as the market burgeons in Great Britain.”

Arenko Group, a leading battery software services provider to the multi-billion-dollar global battery automation market, is pleased to announce the launch of its European Power Exchange (“EPEX”) trading module. This marks the expansion of its platform capabilities from the physical balancing mechanism market, frequency response and other ancillary services to include the intraday EPEX power trading market.

Arenko’s platform is understood to be the first to provide full autonomous optimisation of a battery’s positioning, seamlessly stacking EPEX and Balancing Mechanism revenue sources to incrementally improve the trading performance from the asset. This new revenue stream adds a significant additional source of cashflows for battery owners in the UK and is the first of several additional services modules that Arenko plans to deploy over the coming year.

With Arenko’s platform being a fully autonomous system, it allows battery asset owners to diversify their revenue streams and increase the ultimate return on investment of their assets without incurring incremental costs whilst operating on a 24/7 basis.

Following a highly successful soft launch on Arenko’s 41MW grid scale battery asset in April 2020, this new module has proven a material value uplift for the battery system and confirmed Arenko’s expectations about deploying the battery’s capacity across multiple markets at the same time, using its sophisticated automation technology. Arenko now intends to roll out this software module and unlock additional value from concurrently delivering these markets for its current and new battery customers.

Over the last 12 months, assets operating through Arenko’s platform have made over double the return of the nearest competitor batteries on a like for like basis in the balancing mechanism as well as delivering frequency response and other ancillary services. Today we announce that we have added intraday EPEX to our fully automated services. This top tier performance is being expanded into more markets for our customers, increasing revenue flexibility and performance for flexibile assets. All of which is enabled by the innovative software architecture and AI that Arenko has developed.

Rupert Newland, Founder and CEO of Arenko Group, said:

“We are pleased to have launched this service, which is the first of several additional services modules that Arenko plans to deploy over the coming year. We will continue to innovate to help battery asset owners maximise their performance and increase their return on investment.”

Arenko Group, a leading battery software services provider to the multi-billion dollar global battery automation market, is pleased to be supporting National Grid by exclusively trialing a new upward and downward reserve flexibility from its 41MW Bloxwich battery asset in a first of its kind trial for batteries.

A link to the National Grid statement can be found here: https://bit.ly/2yXayvv.

Working closely with National Grid, Arenko designed a new software module to complement its existing platform offering to seamlessly adjust Bloxwich’s instruction algorithms to focus on delivering these additional flexibility services when they are needed most.

This innovative service is the first time a battery has been able to augment existing upward and downward reserve services provided to the UK grid from traditional thermal power plants and was made possible by Arenko’s flexible and fully autonomous software platform.

This current period of low demand on the UK grid has offered a window into the UK’s future energy system, where renewable energy will play an increasingly important role in the energy mix, but will also bring new challenges to the way the system is managed. Arenko’s automation software unlocks the potential for batteries to play a leading role in balancing the system and helping National Grid to deliver against its zero carbon target by 2025.

This trial represents a significant step forward for batteries and a further potential commercial opportunity for Arenko’s battery clients to use its software platform to provide this important service to the UK electricity grid. Using batteries controlled by Arenko’s proprietary software, National Grid are not only innovating by using Arenko’s cutting edge automation technology but should also expect to provide greater value for money for the consumers versus traditional generators and balancing techniques.

Arenko are delighted to take part in this trial and, if successfully developed into a business as usual product for National Grid, intend to rapidly scale up the provision of this important balancing service with new customers as it rolls out its proven, industry leading battery automation software.

Rupert Newland, Founder and CEO of Arenko Group, said: 

“This is further evidence of the capabilities of our proprietary automation software to deliver flexible, cost effective, carbon free balancing services to National Grid as well as being a superb opportunity for our new and existing battery owners to access new, additional revenue streams from their batteries.”

Andy Hadland, Chief Product Officer of Arenko Group, said:

“Batteries have a crucial role to help meet the ESO’s Net Zero operability ambition by 2025. We hope to open up new ways for batteries to provide services and competition to the ESO versus current methods using thermal power plants. This should ultimately reduce the cost of balancing the system and provide better value to the end customer.”

We are pleased to announce our battery software system supported National Grid following the 950MW surge of power usage on the UK grid just after 8pm “Clap for Key Workers” on the 23 April 2020, when people returned to their evening activities following the clap. Through its automated platform, Arenko delivered nearly 10% of this surge in demand to National Grid.

In the run up to this event, Arenko held a full charge profile to help National Grid maintain the frequency in the system before immediately flipping to a full discharge profile and delivering a net 82MW of power to respond directly to this spike in demand.

Rupert Newland, Founder and CEO, said:

“We were pleased our automated battery software system was able to be used to its full capacity to support National Grid following the Clap for Key Workers. We expect this trend to continue in the coming weeks and we will continue to support National Grid in supplying power for homes in the UK.

“This further highlights the ability of our proprietary automation technology to rapidly automatically respond to market conditions even in the most unusual of stress test environments.” https://lnkd.in/g3MzmVT

Arenko Group, a leading battery software services provider to the multi-billion-dollar battery automation market, is pleased to announce that its 41MW/MWh battery located in Birmingham, UK, has completed its first year of operation.

Highlights:

  • Battery outperformed closest peer by 65% in the balancing mechanism
  • 15GWh export and 19GWh import in the year from 23rd January 2019.

The battery, which Arenko believes is the largest single-room battery in the world, has demonstrated Arenko’s modular software platform. The battery is a fully merchant battery system optimised across multiple traded and ancillary service markets.

The software platform joined with the battery is the only fully automated system balancing the UK grid.

Rupert Newland, Founder and CEO, said:

“We are delighted to have completed our first full year of operation. The battery has proven that our software platform delivers a market leading performance in its role to fully automate the balancing of the grid. In 2019, the system outperformed the nearest comparable software by 65%. We believe it will enable clients to boost investment returns by maximising revenues and minimising costs.”

Arenko optimises first co-located battery on a wind farm in the UK - Read more
+