Ocean Battery, the new utility-scale offshore energy storage

Ocean Battery, the new utility-scale offshore energy storage

The transition towards renewable power generation is a huge challenge. The fast-growing offshore wind power production results in an exponential demand for large-scale energy storage.

At CES 2022, Dutch startup Ocean Grazer has launched a new design for an energy storage system that functions a bit like a hydroelectric dam at the bottom of the sea.

The “Ocean Battery” installed at the seabed is a modular utility-scale energy storage system that is produced by renewable sources such as wind turbines, floating solar farms, tidal and wave energy systems. The battery is pumped hydro system in a box that provides eco-friendly utility-scale energy storage up to GigaWatt hours (GWh) scale. It is efficient, has low maintenance costs and is designed with a sustainable planet in mind, and enhances marine life.

The Ocean Battery is based on hydro dam technology that has proven itself for over a century as highly reliable and efficient. The technology does not require rare earth materials and uses clean water as the energy carrier.

The concrete reservoir buried in the seabed holds up to 20 million liters of freshwater stored at low pressure. To store energy, the system pumps water from the rigid reservoirs into the flexible bladder on the seabed. Now the energy is stored as potential energy in the form of water under high pressure. When there is demand for power, water flows back from the flexible bladders to the rigid low-pressure reservoirs, driving multiple hydro turbines to generate electricity.

According to the company, the system has an efficiency of about 80% and should be able to run an unlimited number of cycles over an operation lifetime of more than 20 years. Yet deploying systems like the “ocean battery” on the scale needed to work as part of an electricity grid is still years away. The company aims to have an offshore system in place by 2025, though one will be deployed onshore in the northern Netherlands by 2023.

Renewable energy storage projects handed funding boost

Renewable energy storage projects handed funding boost

Nearly £7m in government funding has been awarded to projects across the UK to support the development of new energy storage technologies.

Energy storage will be crucial as the UK transitions towards cheap, clean, domestically produced renewable energy. Maximising the potential of renewables will help lower costs in the shift to a greener energy system.

The intermittent nature of renewables such as solar and wind power means that energy can be produced when it is not needed, such as during extended periods of high wind. However, as new technologies are developed, this energy can be stored for longer, helping manage electricity generation variations and increasing resilience, while also maximising value for money.

Twenty-four projects based across the UK have been awarded the first round of funding through the ‘Longer Duration Energy Storage competition’, which is worth £68m in total. These projects will benefit from a share of over £6.7m to develop new energy-storage technologies that can use stored energy as heat, electricity or as a low-carbon energy carrier like hydrogen.

Ranging from the development of thermal batteries to converting energy to hydrogen, the projects have been selected because of their potential to improve technology performance and reduce the cost of meeting net zero. Successful projects could benefit from a greater tranche of funding from a second phase of the competition, which will support these projects towards commercialisation, encouraging private investment and creating new jobs.

Greg Hands, energy and climate change minister, said: “Driving forward energy storage technologies will be vital in our transition towards cheap, clean and secure renewable energy.

“It will allow us to extract the full benefit from our home-grown renewable energy sources, drive down costs and end our reliance on volatile and expensive fossil fuels. Through this competition we are making sure the country’s most innovative scientists and thinkers have our backing to make this ambition a reality.”

As part of the UK government’s commitment to reach net zero, the transition to clean, renewable energy is being accelerated, shifting to a green electricity grid by stepping up the use of clean energy sources such as wind and solar power.

The aim is to reduce the UK’s dependence on expensive fossil fuels, as well as providing cheaper energy to consumers. It could also mean that more of the UK’s energy is produced domestically. The green energy transition involves ensuring the UK’s electricity infrastructure can cope with greater shares of renewables, while meeting power demands securely.

The £6.7m funding has been awarded under Phase 1 of the ‘Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration’ competition, part of the government’s £1bn ‘Net Zero Innovation Portfolio’. Phase 2 will see the remainder of the £68m funding awarded to several of the most promising Phase 1 projects, to proceed to build and demonstrate their technology fully. Selecting projects for the next stage will take place upon the completion of Phase 1, whereby projects will be assessed based on their potential to commercialise their technologies.

Energy storage projects receiving Phase 1 funding include:

  • Sunamp’s EXTEND project, East Lothian, Scotland – this will receive £149,893 for a feasibility study to further develop the storage duration of its thermal batteries. The project will look to pair its heat batteries with household energy systems to tackle periods of low renewables generation on the grid.
  • Cheesecake Energy’s FlexiTanker project, Nottingham, England – this will receive £139,411 to develop its thermal and compressed-air energy storage technology to integrate more renewables into the grid, helping to fast-track the decarbonisation of the UK electricity system.
  • B9 Energy Storage’s Ballylumford Power-to-X project, Larne, Northern Ireland – this will receive £986,082 to mobilise an innovative 20MW Power-to-X project at Ballylumford. Green hydrogen produced by electrolysers will be stored in underground salt caverns and used for transport and to displace natural gas in fuel-blending trials. This project paves the way for future large-scale deployments connected to offshore wind farms.

Andrew Bissell, chief executive officer, Sunamp, said: “For the past decade, we have focused on decarbonising hot water and have delivered a world-beating 20,000 heat batteries using our phase change material into the market so far and we are now bringing forward our Central Bank products for heat. Our thermal storage technology can be combined with heat pumps to deliver more than twice as much heat per unit of electricity on demand than direct electric heating.

“This funding will accelerate how we can further enhance thermal storage duration, working with wind energy from the grid and solar PV in homes, to provide heat and water during extended intervals of low renewables generation when green power is not available on the grid, eventually reducing the overall cost of operation to be lower than gas.”

A full list of the projects receiving funding under Phase 1 is available online.

Britishvolt secures £100m of taxpayer cash and £1.7bn from a developer to fund gigafactory in Northumberland

Britishvolt secures £100m of taxpayer cash and £1.7bn from a developer to fund gigafactory in Northumberland

Britishvolt, a venture which aims to build the country’s first large-scale battery plant for electric cars, has secured a £200m funding boost from backers including Glencore.

The FTSE 100 commodity trader has contributed £40m to a funding round which values Britishvolt at almost £800m, despite its planned gigafactory site in Northumberland having not yet made a single battery.

The deal comes after the Government contributed £100m to underpin a £1.7bn sale and leaseback of the property near Blyth last month. Britishvolt has said it aims to be up and running by the end of next year.

Glencore’s involvement in Britishvolt’s third equity funding round reflects the opportunity opened up for the commodities industry by the need for copper, cobalt and other metals and minerals in batteries.

The company was already a shareholder and is targeting rapid growth in the sale of electric cars as it comes under shareholder pressure to exit traditional markets such as coal.

News of the investment came as Glencore posted earnings for 2021, in which it revealed it had set aside $1.5bn (£1.1bn) to resolve corruption investigations in the US, UK and Brazil.

Glencore said it was expecting these investigations to be resolved this year, four years after it first emerged that it was under investigation by the US Department of Justice over allegations of money laundering and bribery.  Chief executive Gary Nagle said: “We recognise that there has been misconduct in this company historically and there were flaws in our culture and we’ve worked very hard to correct that.“We want to complete these investigations, put a line under that and move forward.”

It came as Glencore posted its highest ever profit for 2021, with adjusted earnings having almost doubled during the year to hit $21.3bn. Revenue was up 43pc year-on-year at $203.8bn, as Glencore said there had been rising demand for its metals and energy products.

The company said it had seen “multi-year or record high prices for many of our commodities” during the year.

Glencore is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of thermal coal, which is used to generate electricity. It has recently faced pressure from activist Bluebell to spin off its coal business due to both “financial and environmental considerations”.

However, unlike other miners who have already sold their coal mines or laid out plans to withdraw from the sector, Glencore has maintained that its plan is to run down the mines over the next 30 years.

Glencore said it would be returning $4bn to shareholders as part of a buyback programme, thanks to the “significant improvement” in its financial results.

Pivot Power and Powersystems start work on battery storage site to support, more flexible grid

Pivot Power and Powersystems start work on battery storage site to support, more flexible grid

Powersystems are delighted to be working again with Pivot Power, EDF Renewables on another remarkable project creating greener grid energy and accelerating the UK’s drive to Net Zero.  It will replicate core elements of Pivot Power’s Energy Superhub Oxford project, one of the most ambitious urban decarbonisation projects undertaken in the UK to date which combines a cutting-edge 50 MW hybrid battery with Europe’s most powerful electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, has broken ground on a grid-scale battery storage facility in Sandwell, northwest of Birmingham. Connected to the transmission network at National Grid’s Bustleholme substation, the site will help to create a greener energy grid and accelerate the UK’s drive to net zero.

The 50 MW/100 MWh lithium-ion battery will store enough electricity to power over 100,000 homes for 2 hours[1]. It will support the integration of more renewable energy and increase the resiliency of the electricity system by automatically charging and discharging to balance supply and demand and manage intermittency.

The Sandwell site forms an integral part of Pivot Power’s Energy Superhub network, designed to deliver up to 2 GW of transmission-connected battery storage and high-volume power connections across the UK.

Sandwell will be one of the first communities in the country to benefit from this unique infrastructure investment, which will reduce the region’s carbon emissions, improve air quality, and support sustainable economic growth.

Alongside a similar site in Coventry, which is due to begin construction in early 2022, it will replicate core elements of Pivot Power’s Energy Superhub Oxford project, one of the most ambitious urban decarbonisation projects undertaken in the UK to date which combines a cutting-edge 50 MW hybrid battery with Europe’s most powerful electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

Matt Allen, CEO of Pivot Power, said: “The movement towards zero carbon energy is unstoppable and our technology provides the lynchpin to bring that to scale. Renewable energy and battery storage are complementary, interconnected and interdependent – we must have both to achieve net zero. Our project at Sandwell will help to create the essential infrastructure for the UK to accelerate net zero.”

The site will also help to supercharge the West Midlands’ green transport revolution by creating the power infrastructure for mass-scale, rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging. Once work has been completed on the battery, Pivot Power plans to install a private-wire network, creating the power infrastructure to deliver large amounts of power for rapid EV charging to strategic locations in the local area, from public charging hubs to bus depots and commercial fleets.

Councillor Steve Melia, West Bromwich Town Lead at Sandwell Council, said: “Sandwell Council is committed to supporting renewable energy and empowering our community to live greener, more sustainable lives. Pivot Power’s site enables us to reach that goal, helping to support more renewable energy and meet the burgeoning demand for electric vehicle charging. The site is at the heart of a vibrant infrastructure area, made up of transport hubs, garages and service stations, and will help to create a more sustainable transport network.”

The start of work at the Sandwell site caps off an active year for Pivot Power, which has already seen the activation of two 50 MW/50 MWh lithium-ion battery storage systems, in Cowley, Oxford, and Kemsley, Kent. Both systems are directly connected to National Grid’s high-voltage transmission networks and form part of Pivot Power’s plans to deploy up to 40 similar sites throughout the UK.

Pivot Power’s portfolio supports EDF Group’s ambition to become Europe’s leading e-mobility energy company by 2023 and forms a key pillar of its plan to develop an additional 10GW of battery storage globally by 2035.

Battery storage is essential to enable greater use of renewable energy and meet the UK Government’s target to decarbonise the country’s electricity system by 2035. According to National Grid’s Future Energy Scenario for 2021, up to 13 GW of electricity storage will be required in the UK by 2030 to support the increased installation of renewable generation.

Roisin Quinn, Director of Customer Connections at National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “We’re working hard to connect innovative technology such as this Pivot Power project to our network, using new techniques and approaches to ensure they can connect directly to the high voltage system.

 “Electricity Storage, especially projects directly connected to the transmission system, can help manage peaks and troughs in demand for electricity – making the electricity system more efficient and keeping costs down for consumers too.”

[1] Assumes full 2 hour discharge of 50 MW and average annual domestic consumption of 3772 kWh.


Global Storage Market Set for Boom

Global Storage Market Set for Boom

Global energy storage installations will reach a cumulative 358GW by the end of 2030, according to the latest forecast from research company BloombergNEF (BNEF).

BNEF forecasts 358GW/1028 gigawatt-hours by the end of 2030, more than 20 times larger than the 17GW/34GWh at the end of 2020.

The analyst estimates the growth will require more than $262bn of investment.

BNEF’s ‘2021 Global Energy Storage Outlook’ estimates that 345GW/999GWh of new energy storage capacity will be added globally between 2021 and 2030.

The US and China are the two largest markets, representing over half of the global storage installations by the end of the decade.

Clean power ambitions of state governments and utilities propel storage deployment in the US, while in China, an ambitious installation target of 30GW of cumulative build by 2025 and stricter renewable integration rules will boost expected storage installations.

Other top markets include India, Australia, Germany, the UK and Japan.

Supportive policies, ambitious climate commitments, and the growing need for flexible resources are common drivers.

Regionally, Asia Pacific will lead the storage build on a megawatt basis by 2030, but the Americas will build more on a megawatt-hour basis, because storage plants in the US usually have more hours of storage.

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) currently lags behind its counterparts due to the lack of targeted storage policies and incentives.

Growth in the region could accelerate as renewables penetration surges, more fossil-fuel generators exit and the battery supply chain becomes more localized.

BNEF clean power specialist and lead author of the report Yiyi Zhou said: “The global storage market is growing at an unprecedented pace.

“Falling battery costs and surging renewables penetration make energy storage a compelling flexible resource in many power systems. Energy storage projects are growing in scale, increasing in dispatch duration, and are increasingly paired with renewables.”

BNEF’s forecast suggests that the majority, or 55%, of energy storage capacity by 2030 will be to provide energy shifting; for instance, storing solar or wind to release later.

Co-located renewable-plus-storage projects, solar-plus-storage in particular, are becoming commonplace globally.

BNEF head of decentralised energy Yayoi Sekine said: “This is the energy storage decade. We’ve been anticipating significant scale-up for many years and the industry is now more than ready to deliver.”

The report found the industry is adopting multiple lithium ion battery chemistries. In 2021, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) will be used more than nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) chemistries for stationary storage for the first time.

LFP will become the major lithium ion battery chemistry choice in the energy storage sector until at least 2030, driven by its dominant role in China and increasing penetration in the rest of the world.

Pivot Power expands Energy Superhub model across West Midlands

Pivot Power expands Energy Superhub model across West Midlands

  • Pivot Power and Wärtsilä to develop 100MW/200MWh of battery storage in West Midlands to enable more renewable energy in the UK.
  • Part of Pivot Power’s programme to build a national network of Energy Superhubs – delivering up to 2GW of battery storage, almost 10% of UK need by 2050, and creating charging infrastructure to support the estimated 36 million electric vehicles on the road by 2040.
  • Wärtsilä to provide world-leading battery storage infrastructure as part of its global vision to lead the transition towards 100% clean energy.
  • Projects replicate Pivot Power’s Energy Superhub Oxford model to support the decarbonisation plans of local councils and communities nationwide.

19 July 2021 – UK-based Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, has announced a deal with Wärtsilä, the global technology company, to deliver two new grid-scale battery storage facilities in Coventry and Sandwell, to accelerate the West Midlands’ and UK-wide drive to net zero. The projects will collectively provide 100MW/200MWh of battery storage – enough to power over 200,000 homes for two hours[1].

This is the latest phase of Pivot Power’s nationwide rollout of Energy Superhubs, designed to deliver up to 2GW of transmission-connected battery storage and high-volume power connections to support more renewables and create the power infrastructure for mass-scale, rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging. This innovative model supports EDF group’s ambition to become Europe’s leading e-mobility energy company by 2023 and forms a key pillar of its plan to develop an additional 10GW of battery storage globally by 2035.

Once complete, the new Energy Superhubs will form part of a portfolio of Britain’s most powerful EV charging sites. Pivot Power’s first project – Energy Superhub Oxford – is nearing completion and will provide a blueprint for towns and cities across the UK to cut carbon and improve air quality. It is backed by funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and integrates rapid EV charging, battery storage, low carbon heating and smart energy management technologies to save 10,000 tonnes of CO2 every year once opened. This is the equivalent to taking over 2,000 cars off the road, increasing to 25,000 tonnes by 2032.

Wärtsilä will supply the cutting-edge battery technology for both West Midlands projects, underpinned by its world leading GEMS Digital Energy Platform, which dynamically optimises energy systems through a broad range of applications, providing critical feedback to stakeholders across asset owner, operation and trading value chains. The partnership with Pivot Power is an important part of Wärtsilä’s  ambition to enable a 100% clean energy system in the UK by providing essential grid flexibility, and builds on the companies’ first two projects together in Oxford and Kent.

Battery storage is crucial to meet the Government’s 2050 net zero climate change targets, providing flexible capacity to enhance the reliability of our electricity system and cost-effectively integrate more renewable generation. Pivot Power’s network could provide almost 10% of the battery storage it is predicted the UK will need by 2050[2] and will help to create a smarter, more flexible grid which could save up to £40 billion.[3]

Matt Allen, CEO of Pivot Power, said: “This is the next step in our nationwide rollout of Energy Superhubs which will create the low carbon infrastructure needed to support the EV and renewable energy revolution. As part of EDF Renewables, Pivot Power’s purpose is to accelerate a net zero future where clean energy powers our lives. We are working hand in hand with local authorities to help them meet their climate and clean air pledges, so people can live and work in cleaner, more sustainable cities.”

Andy Tang, Vice President, Energy Storage & Optimisation, Wärtsilä said: “The UK recently set a bold ambition to slash carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 and flexibility is the key to achieving 100% renewables and decarbonising the economy. Our energy storage systems are helping leading innovators like Pivot Power turn these ambitions into reality. The enhanced flexibility this project will provide is precisely what we need to accelerate our cost-optimal pathway to 100% clean power.”


At both sites the battery storage systems will share their connection to the high-voltage electricity transmission network with a high-volume power connection, which will deliver large amounts of power for rapid EV charging to strategic locations in the local area, from public charging hubs to bus depots and commercial fleets. For example in Oxford it will deliver up to 10MW of power to the UK’s largest public charging hub at a Park & Ride on the outskirts of the city, with plans to expand to bus and council depots in the near future.

Rolling out charging infrastructure for electric vehicles at scale is critical to help the West Midlands meet its target to be zero carbon by 2041. Pivot Power is developing its Energy Superhubs in partnership with Coventry City Council, Sandwell Council and West Midlands development agencies, to maximise impact and deliver world-leading urban decarbonisation projects. The batteries are the first phase in their rollout, which will help ensure clean, affordable and secure electricity supplies for both Coventry and Sandwell as polluting coal and gas-fired power stations close and more clean energy is brought onto the grid.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said: “Working with Pivot Power on this project is helping Coventry deliver on our climate commitments. We are leading the way in creating innovative, low carbon infrastructure to decarbonise transport and improve air quality, helping people move away from polluting vehicles to green, clean transport. This project will combine with a raft of other green industrial revolution projects being pioneered in Coventry as we lead the way in this increasingly important sector.”

Councillor Steve Melia, West Bromwich Town Lead at Sandwell Council, said: ‘Sandwell is one of the first communities to benefit from the unique infrastructure investment that this project brings. Pivot Power’s Energy Superhub will not only ensure that more of our power comes from clean, sustainable sources but will also help to power ultra-fast public EV charging hubs in the Sandwell area, supporting our strategy to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and create sustainable jobs and economic growth. The site is at the heart of the English motorway network. As such, there are many hotels, bus garages and service stations nearby which are ideally situated to make use of this facility.”

Rob Saunders, Challenge Director for the UKRI’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme, said: “UKRI’s funding aims to demonstrate approaches that can be scaled up and repeated across the UK, and Energy Superhub Oxford is an ideal illustration of how the Superhub model can help to deliver a local area’s plans for decarbonisation and clean air. We are delighted to see these announcements paving the way for further replication which can help local authorities and communities across the UK deliver a cleaner, net zero future.”

Pivot Power’s Energy Superhubs are all located alongside National Grid substations and have been selected for proximity to major road networks and urban populations. The Coventry battery storage system is located to the north east of the city, close to junction 2 of the M6 and Sandwell’s is located close to junction 7 of the M6 where the M5 and A34 meet. In consultation with both Councils, Pivot Power has undertaken a range of detailed environmental studies to ensure that no significant effects will arise from the facilities. The sites are well screened and will have minimal visibility from public viewpoints. Construction of the battery storage systems is due to commence at Sandwell in Q4 2021 and at Coventry in Q1 2022.

Pivot Power is looking to engage with councils around each of its planned sites to help support the rapid expansion of Energy Superhubs nationwide.

About Pivot Power

Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, creates the low carbon infrastructure needed to future-proof our electricity system, integrate more renewable energy, and provide scalable capacity for electric vehicle charging. By creating a nationwide network of Energy Superhubs – combining big batteries and high-volume power connections – we are enabling rapid electric vehicle charging on a mass scale, powered by low carbon energy sources. A map of all our proposed Energy Superhubs can be found at: www.pivot-power.co.uk

About Wärtsilä Energy

Wärtsilä Energy leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our customers unlock the value of the energy transition by optimising their energy systems and future-proofing their assets. Our offering comprises flexible power plants, energy management systems, and storage, as well as lifecycle services that ensure increased efficiency and guaranteed performance. Wärtsilä has delivered 72 GW of power plant capacity in 180 countries around the world. https://www.wartsila.com/energy/

 About Wärtsilä

Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2019, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 5.2 billion with approximately 19,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 80 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. https://www.wartsila.com

 About Energy Superhub Oxford

Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) is one of three demonstrator projects part-funded by the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund under its “Prospering from the Energy Revolution” (PFER) programme. The PFER programme is delivering innovation in smart local energy systems. ESO – a collaboration between Pivot Power, Habitat Energy, Invinity Energy Systems, Kensa Contracting, Oxford University, and Oxford City Council – will showcase rapid electric vehicle charging, hybrid battery storage, low carbon heating, and smart energy management to improve air quality and accelerate Oxford’s zero carbon journey. www.energysuperhuboxford.org

 [1] Assumes full 2 hour discharge of 100MW and average annual domestic consumption of 3772kWh.

[2] National Grid Future Energy Scenarios July 2021

[3] Upgrading Our Energy System Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan July 2017

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