Energy Storage Consultants
Swanbarton Energy Storage Consultants


Keeping Africa safe when the lights go out

Energy storage experts Swanbarton are leading a consortium to solve one of the developing world’s most distressing energy problems. Swanbarton is working with the University of Bath, the University of Botswana’s Clean Energy Research Centre and battery supplier Yuasa. The project has been awarded co-funding by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, and by the Department for International Development (DfID).

In many rapidly developing economies in Africa and around the world, householders’ demand for electricity can grow faster than the electricity suppliers can grow their generation capacity. The unfortunate result is that there have to be regular power blackouts in selected areas, to keep the network in balance. Power blackouts mean no electric light. The darkness disrupts young people’s studies, it makes opportunities for burglars, and worse.

The project is going to test a new system to give basic energy security to these householders: enough to keep a few LED lights and a phone charger going until the power comes back on. It does that in a very high-tech way, using cloud computing, global networks and big data algorithms, but it also does it almost entirely out of locally available recycled materials: an old mobile phone, a used car battery and so on. The few non-recycled parts will be made locally in the destination country, using 3-D printing technology. Swanbarton is going to make the plans for the home system freely available as open source, so that it can be built by anybody, anywhere.

Find out more from

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. For further information visit

The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty. It is tackling the global challenges of our time including poverty and disease, mass migration, insecurity and conflict. Its work is building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for people in developing countries and in the UK too.

Time of use tariffs bring domestic storage one step closer to economic viability

Thus far, domestic energy storage has been a cool thing with which to impress your mates, and lately it’s been about the cheapest way to get anything with a Tesla logo on it. But it’s been a long way from being the sort of economic no-brainer that’ll secure an enduring mass market.

This week brings news that nudges the storage proposition a bit nearer to critical mass. The Greengage has reported that Green Energy UK has released UK’s first domestic time-of-use electricity tariff. A time-of-use tariff is in itself not such an exciting thing. It relies on human demand response to price, and nobody has yet been able to demonstrate substantial and enduring changes to mass market consumer behaviour in response to electricity pricing.  

But by introducing a little information technology, domestic electricity storage can exploit time-of-day electricity pricing to optimize energy costs for the consumer’s benefit: storing electricity when it’s cheap and releasing it when it’s expensive. It’s not a trivial job, because you have to consider, as well as the prices, the losses from storing and releasing energy, the losses from self-discharge, and the cost of storage cycles (which in turn depends on the depth of cycle).msm.png

But it can be done! Our Micro Storage Manager device integrates domestic and small business storage with time-varying tariffs, dispatch services and other non-traditional trading models. It understands the capabilities and state of the energy store, and it calculates, in real time, a regimen of storing and releasing energy that’s optimized for the consumer’s benefit. 

Here’s how our Micro Storage Manager engages, over a weekday, with Green Energy UK’s new tariff, with a store rated at 5 kWh and 1 kW charging/discharging:


The store fills up in the dead of night when the price is low, and releases energy throughout the evening price peak, and some more at the start of the morning’s raised price. The consumer benefits at a rate of about 86p per day (47p on weekend days), or a total of £274 per annum. In itself, that’s not enough to justify the cost of the storage, but it’s a significant increment to the present business case.  

Domestic storage is only going to become economically robust if it can exploit every possible benefit: self-consumption, dispatch services, energy security and price arbitrage. Devices like Swanbarton’s Micro Storage Manager will be the key to that sort of multi-modal operation. There’s plenty of scope for improving the domestic storage proposition, and we’ll be part of that. 

Register for the ESN 2017 Annual Symposium:



26 August 2016: First UK Grid Enhanced Frequency Response contracts

The contracts for the National Grid’s EFR service have been announced today. From the 37 providers who tendered for the contract, 8 have been awarded the 4-year contract for a total of 201MW of frequency service. Projects range between 10MW and EDF’s 49 MW. Accepted prices start at £7.00 up to £11.97/MW of EFR/h, an average of £9.44/MW of EFR/h, costing a total of £65.954 million. Upper values reached £45/MW of EFR/h with winning tenders being much lower than anticipated, which surprised a number in the industry.  Today’s values came in lower than the existing dynamic FFR, which ranged between £25.1/MWh to £55.5/MWh during the last quarter of 2015. Many prospective storage developers will be re-evaluating their business models and assessing whether storage is a market they can afford to play in.

A positive read... click the picture below:



Here's the video accompanying Swanbarton's submission of evidence to Commons Select Committee enquiry "Energy revolution: what could change the energy sector?"

AES - open their 10MW Advancion 4 battery system on

Wednesday 17 February 2016

160225 AES Kilroot Group photo.jpg
AES corporation officially opened their 10MW Advancion 4 battery system at their Kilroot Power Station in Northern Ireland last week. The project is the result of 8 years of development by AES, who currently operate the world’s largest battery fleet, with 116 MW operational and a further 268 MW in construction or later stage of development. The 10 MW system is able to offer 20MW of flexible resource and has operated effectively, with its ability to operate under normal conditions and at times of system stress since being commissioned in December 2015. 120 visitors from Northern Ireland, Europe and the United States, including ministers from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, attended in opening ceremony and guided tour, with AES’s UK & Ireland President, Carla Tully said, “As the global leader in battery energy storage, AES is proud to bring our Advancion technology to the UK and Ireland. We’ve seen unprecedented interest in our operating facility in Northern Ireland as a model for energy storage development around the world”. 

In the next two years, a planned 100MW system is to be developed, at the Killroot site, depending on market changes due later this year as part of the island’s DS3 program that enable larger volumes of renewable penetration. The short timeline is based on experience gained by AES and their project partners taking around 6 months from signing contracts to the system being operational. 

The current system has system savings of £8.5 million and the equivalent of 123, 000 tonnes of CO2 eliminated each year. AES are working with Queen’s University, Belfast to demonstrate the value of the system from a technical and economic perspective. In addition to scalability, the system can be upgraded in the future as technology and battery chemistries evolve and markets continue to change.   


Oliver Shotton attending the ESN Annual Meeting held at 1 Great George Street, London on 27 January 2016.  A very successful annual event hosted once more by Dr Jill Cainey, Director of the Electricity Storage Network.

Oliver Shotton attending the ESN Annual Meeting held at 1 Great George Street, London on 27 January 2016.  A very successful conference meeting hosted by the director of the Electricity Storage Network.

The World Energy Council have published the 2016 World Energy Resources - E-Storage: Shifting from cost to value wind and solar applications report. Anthony Price was included in the list of references (page 45). Click here to read Anthony's news article "Energy storage is a game changer".  To read the full publication of the 2016 World Energy Resources report click here.

2nd June - Workshop on the Mathematics of Demand Side Management and Energy Storage

Clive Tomlinson Presenting

On Tuesday 2 June, Swanbarton's Clive Tomlinson spoke at the Workshop on the Mathematics of Demand Side Management and Energy Storage hosted by the Open University.  Clive's challenging vision of energy storage in a radically unconstrained localized energy market was, we've been told, a highlight of the event.  The paper that Clive based his talk on is here, or  you can get a free copy by emailing

Smarter Network storage project launches 6MW/10MWh battery

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On the 15th December Swanbarton was invited to the launch   of UK Power Networks 6MW/10MWh battery trial, often quoted as the ‘largest battery in Europe’. The battery has been developed under the Smarter Network Storage project. Members of this project team include Swanbarton, S&C Electric and Younicos

Amber Rudd, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate change officially switched on the facility and was very supportive of energy storage. ‘We all know that there is a constant challenge of making sure we keep up with energy demand and reducing the energy carbon footprint. The best way to do that is to surely develop electricity storage in this way’.  

Europe's 'largest battery' installed by UK Power Network

Yesterday UK Power Networks switched on their 6MW/10MWh battery at Leighton Buzzard. Swanbarton were there to witness the event. This £19m battery storage project is able to power more than 27, 000 homes for an hour, or 1, 100 homes for a whole day during periods of low demand. 

BBC News article or Business Green.

BBC Business Energy storage:
The key to a smarter grid 24th April 2014

Elecricity Storage Network -
Open Symposium

What do we need to do to make Electricity Storage Happen?
A well attended debate on the market issues and role for storage in the future.  see: for more details.



British policy on electricity storage

The Technology Strategy Board has awarded Swanbarton Limited a grant through its Emerging Energy Technology competition to fund a 12 month feasibility study to assess the business models for electricity storage.

This grant from the Technology Strategy Board will allow Swanbarton Limited to develop the results of an earlier project that demonstrated that local energy markets, which incorporated electricity storage, had significant economic benefits for participants.

The project includes a simulation of and assessment of Business models for local energy markets while the inventive trading devices that will facilitate local energy trading, allowing households and businesses to buy and sell electricity among themselves, will be developed.


Are you interested in an internship? Click here

Information on the Technology Strategy Board competition can be found here.

British policy on electricity storage

A number of references to the importance of electricity storage were made during the committee stages of the Energy Bill. More details on

Local Energy Markets:

Swanbarton and IPL presented their concepts for local energy markets at a conference in London on 14 May.  

Please visit:  for further details. Swanbarton’s presentation on Local energy markets at the TSB’s Collaboration Nation event can be seen here.

Workshop Agreement for Flow Batteries

CENELEC Workshop Agreement 50611:2013 has now been published.  It provides guidance on the selection, installation and operation of flow batteries.  Copies are available through this link.

UK Chancellor supports energy Storage
See the statement on the ESN website

Latest press release:  Swanbarton’s partnership with South West IT services firm, IPL, for government sponsored ‘LEMMA’ project.  See also

Institution of Mechanical Engineers calls for government action on electricity storage in their latest policy statement

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) publish their position on electricity storage click here


 For more details about the Electricity Storage Network click here.

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