Wind and solar developers collaborate on new £1m UK battery storage project

Dr. Nina Skorupska
Dr. Nina Skorupska

One of the first industrial-scale battery storage facilities is to be developed in the UK in a joint project  by British Solar Renewables (BSR) and Western Power Distribution (WPD).

This £1 million project will demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of directly linking a major battery storage facility, a solar park and the electricity network.

The aim is to realise the benefits of using battery storage on an industrial scale so it can play a key role in the UK energy market as it moves towards a renewable energy future.  A key outcome of the initiative will be the creation of a framework commercial agreement model for use by investors and developers to increase battery storage assets across the UK.

The battery will be built and supplied by RES, a UK renewable energy company which has already pioneered the delivery of battery energy storage in the US and Canada. The project will be completed by 2018.

WPD, the electricity distributor for the Midlands, South West and South Wales, is carrying out the project funded by OFGEM’S Network Innovation Allowance, in conjunction with BSR and the National Solar Centre.

Meanwhile, the Renewable Energy Association – the largest such trade body in the UK – said that Britain is poised for considerable growth in the energy storage market in 2016, demonstrating how investing in renewables can support new economic growth in innovative new industries.

Despite the global technological advance, government policy remains a barrier to the UK energy storage market reaching its full potential. Developing a strong energy storage market will support the transition to a low-carbon energy system at least cost to consumers.

The REA’s most recent research indicates that there are presently 27 major energy storage projects that are planned and operational in the UK, with many more planned for 2016.

Dr. Nina Skorupska, REA Chief Executive, said: “2016 will be the year in which battery storage takes off in the UK, as we have seen the United States, Germany, and Japan, all who have moved quickly to reap the benefits of this technology- including energy security, greater renewables integration, and more green jobs.

“We congratulate these companies on their announcement today, which places them as leaders in the battery storage market.

“The cost of more efficient batteries is rapidly declining. Now the greatest barrier to growth is policy, and we look to the National Infrastructure Commission, the Department for Energy and Climate Change, and HM Treasury particularly to see the serious potential in this area, as well as in other forms of energy storage.

“As members of the REA’s policy group, UK Energy Storage, RES and BSR are working to swiftly place the UK as a global leader in this industry. This can be done if the government creates more clear definitions, standardises processes, and maintains a stable framework.”

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