ABB's high-voltage PASS switchgear enables fast-track connection

Jon Lawson

Fast-track deployment for UK battery energy storage project

In an impressive timeframe, ABB has deployed a plug and switch systems (PASS) high-voltage switchgear module in just four days at a new 40MW energy storage project in Kent, UK.

The innovative, high-voltage PASS switchgear solution enables the fast-track connection of the new battery energy storage project at Glassenbury, Kent.

The site is owned by the renewable energy investor Low Carbon, which was one of only seven businesses to be successful in the 2016 enhanced frequency response (EFR) tender process carried out by National Grid, the leading UK utility.

The facility uses lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries with a total energy storage capacity of 40MWh and a power rating of up to 40MW. The grid-connected battery system will help to maintain grid stability by injecting and absorbing power to maintain the grid’s frequency at 50Hz plus or minus 1%.

As conventional power stations go offline and more renewable energy is integrated, battery energy storage will play a more important role in supporting grid stability. It can respond almost instantly to changes in voltage and can be deployed flexibly in terms of location and scale.

Although the battery technology is one important aspect, it is also important to consider the grid connection technology, including footprint and lead-time.


ABB supplied equipment for the grid connection and balance of plant for the site. This includes hybrid 132kV PASS switchgear module as well as a 40MVA 132/33kV transformer to provide the connection to a nearby 132kV substation.

Fast-track delivery of the project was essential to enable Low Carbon to meet its commitment to the conditions of National Grid’s EFR contract.

The PASS switchgear module was selected for its speed of deployment. The switchgear is factory assembled and tested so that it arrives on site ready for rapid installation and energisation. The PASS unit at Glassenbury was erected and commissioned within four days.


PASS switchgear also represents a cost-effective, compact solution compared with conventional air-insulated switchgear while being significantly less costly than a fully gas-insulated switchgear unit. It combines all the functions of a complete switchgear bay in a single unit. The PASS design features air-insulated busbar connections and a gas-insulated element that combines the functions of switchgear, disconnector and earthing switches. It also integrates voltage and current transformers and an optional fast earthing switch.

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