UK battery storage pipeline surges to 16 GW

UK battery storage pipeline surges to 16 GW

More than 16 GW of battery storage capacity is operating, under construction or being planned in the UK across 729 projects.

This is up from 10.5 GW across 600 projects identified in December 2019, according to RenewableUK’s latest Energy Storage Project Intelligence report.

The report identifies 1.1 GW of battery storage capacity currently operational compared to 0.7 GW in December 2019.

A further 0.6 GW is under construction, 8.3 GW of capacity is consented and 1.6 GW is in the planning system.

Another 4.5 GW are identified as being at an early stage of development for future submission into the planning system.

Secondary legislation came into force in December allowing local planning authorities to determine projects with a capacity of over 50 MW in England and 350 MW in Wales.

Previously these were determined by central government, making the process longer and more complex.

RenewableUK has identified 3 projects which have since been submitted for determination by local planning authorities with a capacity of 100 MW each. 

RenewableUK’s director of future electricity systems Barnaby Wharton said: “We’re already seeing grid-scale batteries of 50 MW being built, providing valuable flexibility to the grid, and we expect many projects with an even larger capacity will be submitted into the planning system following the removal of the 50 MW cap.”

However, many projects need access to capital at a lower cost and more stable revenues, he said: “We’re hoping that the forthcoming update to the Smart System and Flexibility Plan will set out how the Government envisages making revenue streams for storage projects clearer.

“We also need a stable network charging regime and a long-term vision for the sector to encourage further investment by cutting-edge companies.”

 

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Consent granted for the UK’s largest battery energy storage project

Consent granted for the UK’s largest battery energy storage project

Edinburgh-headquartered independent energy company InterGen has been granted consent for the UK’s largest battery energy storage project.

The project is more than ten times the size of the UK’s largest operational battery project and is set to be one of the world’s largest.

It will provide fast-reacting power and system balancing to support the ongoing growth and integration of renewable energy sources and is a significant piece of system architecture critical to the UK’s transition to Net-Zero.

InterGen, which currently supplies around 5% of the UK’s power generating capacity, has been granted consent by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for a lithium-ion battery energy storage project as part of their Gateway Energy Centre development on the banks of the River Thames in Essex.

The £200 million project will have a capacity of at least 320 MW / 640 MWh, with the potential to expand to 1.3 GWh.

When fully charged, the project could power up to 300,000 homes for two hours. However, it will mostly be used to support and stabilise existing electricity supplies by providing fast-reacting power and system balancing.

The UK’s transition to Net Zero

The ongoing growth and integration of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, is essential in the UK’s transition to Net Zero by 2050.

However, these energy sources are intermittent, generating only when the sun shines or the wind blows which may not be when power is needed by the grid.

This has led to the significant use of battery energy storage, since these projects can store the renewable energy generated by solar and wind for deployment when the power is most needed.

The scale of the InterGen project is more than ten times the size of the UK’s largest operational battery energy storage project and is set to be one of the world’s largest, therefore representing a significant piece of system architecture critical to the UK’s transition to Net Zero.

Fluence, a Siemens-AES joint venture, is providing the battery energy storage technology based on their Gridstack system. Construction is anticipated to commence in 2022, with operation of the project anticipated by 2024.

Additionally, InterGen are looking to progress another battery energy storage project as part of their Spalding Energy Expansion development in Lincolnshire. This project will have a capacity of 175 MW / 350 MWh and has already been granted consent by BEIS.

International context

For context, the world’s largest operational battery energy storage project is LS Power’s Californian Gateway project with a capacity of 230 MW / 230 MWh, with an expansion of 250 MW / 250MWh currently underway. Additional similar development projects are located in Australia, the USA and Saudi Arabia, with target capacities of up to 400 MW / 1.6 GWh.

Ramboll’s support to InterGen

Ramboll’s personnel have supported InterGen on both the Gateway Energy Centre and Spalding Energy Expansion developments since their inception. Since 2014, Ramboll has provided engineering and environmental consultancy services for the consents to allow for the battery energy storage elements. Ramboll’s support has been significant in the successful consenting of the projects, which have included testing of UK regulations and Government guidance for these ‘first-of-a-kind’ development projects.

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The European Marine Energy Centre adds flow battery storage to tidal for green hydrogen boost

The European Marine Energy Centre adds flow battery storage to tidal for green hydrogen boost

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, is to deploy an Invinity Energy Systems flow battery at its tidal energy test site on the island of Eday to make green hydrogen.

The combination of tidal power and 1.8 megawatt-hour flow batteries will be used to power EMEC’s hydrogen production plant, demonstrating continuous hydrogen production from variable renewable generation.

Invinity’s modular flow battery system is funded by the Scottish government, through the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and will be assembled at the company’s manufacturing facility in Bathgate, West Lothian.

The system will consist of eight Invinity VS3 battery modules linked together into a single system. The project is expected to go live next year.

Invinity’s vanadium flow batteries (VFBs) are a form of heavy duty, stationary energy storage which are deployed in high-utilisation, industrial applications and provide hours of continuous power, one or more times per day.

At EMEC’s site, the system will store electricity generated by tidal turbines during high power periods, and discharge it during low power periods.

This will ‘smooth’ tidal generation to create continuous, on-demand electricity to turn into hydrogen using EMEC’s 670kW hydrogen electrolyser.

This will optimise hydrogen production at the site to enable tonnes of green hydrogen generation each year, EMEC said.

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “We are delighted to support this world-first innovative energy systems project in Orkney, with £1.8m of funding from the Scottish Government.

“The demonstration of hydrogen and systems integration with renewables will be a key part of our energy transition pathways and we look forward to watching the progress of this exciting and pioneering project, building on the strong track record of Orkney and EMEC, in particular, in demonstrating hydrogen and integrated energy systems.”

EMEC managing director Neil Kermode said: “EMEC’s core purpose is to demonstrate technologies in new and inspired ways to decarbonise our energy system.

“This is the first time that a flow battery will have been coupled with tidal energy and hydrogen production, and will support the development of the innovative energy storage solution being developed in the Interreg NWE ITEG project.

“Following a technical review looking at how to improve the efficiencies of the electrolyser we assessed that flow batteries would be the best fit for the energy system.

“As flow batteries store electrical charge in a liquid rather than a solid, they can provide industrial quantities of power for a sustained period, can deeply discharge without damaging itself, as well as stand fully charged for extended periods without losing charge.

“These are all necessary qualities to integrate battery technology with the renewable power generation and hydrogen production process.”

Invinity chief commercial officer Matt Harper said: “We are thrilled to be part of this Scottish success story, showcasing the best of clean energy technology, backed by Scottish Government, designed and assembled in West Lothian by highly qualified Scottish engineers and installed in the Orkney Islands.

“This project is truly groundbreaking. Because of their inherent variability, all renewable energy sources – including wind, solar and tidal – have difficulty providing the consistent power that industrial processes like electrolysis need to operate most effectively.

“Including energy storage in a comprehensive renewables-to-hydrogen system bridges that gap, providing a path to accelerated commercialisation of future green hydrogen projects.

“Vanadium flow batteries are the perfect partner for tidal power, continually absorbing then dispatching four or more hours of continuous power, multiple times per day, over decades of service – a duty cycle that would rapidly degrade lithium batteries.

“Invinity eagerly anticipates working with EMEC to validate both their vision, and our VFB’s unique fit, for this revolutionary application.”

HIE Orkney area manager Graeme Harrison said: “The establishment of EMEC in 2003 was a key factor in placing Orkney at the international forefront of renewable energy development, particularly in the marine sector.

Demonstration of the production/use of green hydrogen within the Orkney energy system is the latest in a series of highly innovative projects in these islands that have helped us maintain our global lead ever since.

“Investing in the growth of Scotland’s green economy has been a feature of HIE’s approach for many years and will play a vital role in our future plans to support recovery from the economic impacts of Covid-19.

“We are very proud to be able to facilitate this exciting initiative and grateful to the Scottish government for making it’s funding available.”

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UK Energy Department BEIS confirmed large-scale energy storage projects exempted from national planning regime.  

UK Energy Department BEIS confirmed large-scale energy storage projects exempted from national planning regime.  

UK Energy Department BEIS has confirmed that large-scale energy storage projects will be exempted from the national planning regime.

The UK government will introduce secondary legislation on 14 July that will remove electricity storage, except pumped hydro, from the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime in England and Wales.

Previously, energy storage projects were treated as generation under the planning regime, which adds 18 months to project’s development time-frame and increases planning costs.

This had led many developers to limit standalone projects to 50MW and also impacted co-located generation and storage projects.

The changes will instead allow most electricity storage technologies (excluding pumped hydro) to progress through the Town and Country Planning Act, effectively slashing the permission to progress projects over 50MW, to between eight and 16 weeks.

The Electricity Storage Network (ESN) said as a result of the ruling no storage projects (except pumped hydro) will need to go through the national planning regime. ESN policy lead Madeleine Greenhalgh  said: “This is a significant, positive and well-timed decision from the government; encouraging larger storage projects to come forward will add more jobs and economic benefit to the green recovery. “By recognising the smaller planning impacts of storage projects, this change will save developers time and money and encourage more ambitious storage projects, which are vital to decarbonising our electricity system.”

RenewableUK policy and regulation director Rebecca Williams said: “This scale of battery is becoming the new norm. Today’s announcement will stimulate investment in the energy system we need to reach net zero as fast and as cheaply as possible.”

Pivot Power chief executive Matt Allen said policy certainty is “vital” to moving any market forward. He added: “The UK needs gigawatts more energy storage over the coming decades to support more renewables and meet our net zero commitments. “We welcome today’s announcement from government, which will make it easier for developers like ourselves to build energy storage projects at the scale and speed required.”

Solar Trade Association (STA) chief executive Chris Hewett said: “We welcome the decision to make it easier to deploy flexible large-scale energy storage technologies in the UK, which will help to further decarbonise and improve the resilience of our energy system.” “The next steps in unlocking the potential of energy storage, and maximising the crucial role it can play in managing growing solar and wind output, are to provide greater access to flexibility markets, including the capacity market, and applying fairer network charging rules.”

STA has calculated there is currently in excess of 13.5GW of battery storage projects in the pipeline, with 1.3GW ready to build, 5.7GW with planning permission and a further 6.5GW proposed.

Vattenfall renewable development manager Jake Dunn said: “The Government’s decision to ease planning restrictions, so that more and larger energy storage can be installed is absolutely the right way to go. “The UK will never be free from fossil-fuels until electricity storage is part of our energy system, but the volumes of power we need to be able to store are huge. “However, it’s crucial that storage is co-located at solar and wind farm sites, due to the significant logistical and cost benefits that co-location offers for grid connections and land.”

Renewable Energy Agency policy head Frank Gordon added: “Whilst this is a positive development, we must remember that there are a matrix of changes that need to be made to the way our grids and energy system are managed if we are to fully decarbonise.“We welcome other recent announcements to this end, including the regulator’s proposal to increase the allowable spending by the Electricity System Operator so that they can develop their control room to fully capture the benefits of a more local and dynamic system.”

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Rolls-Royce expands acquired business

Rolls-Royce expands acquired business

Rolls-Royce has expanded a Berlin-based electricity storage specialist which it took a majority stake in at the start of 2020.

The Derby-headquartered listed giant holds a 73.1 per cent share of the company which was formally run as Qinous GmbH.

Rolls-Royce renamed it as Rolls-Royce Solutions Berlin GmbH and has now expanded into a Microgrid Competence Centre.

Andreas Schell, chief executive of Rolls-Royce’s Power Systems Division, said: “With its solutions, our Microgrid Competence Center in Berlin is making a major contribution to decarbonizing energy systems and, with immediate effect, is now offering our customers a comprehensive solution portfolio.

“It ranges from simple storage solutions to complex microgrids that intelligently combine battery storage with renewable energies, and with diesel or gas gensets,” explained “We are convinced that microgrids are among the optimum solutions for tomorrow’s environmentally friendly, high-efficiency power supply systems.

“With Qinous, we are expanding our microgrid expertise and combining the dynamics of a start-up with the security and reliability of a large corporate group.”

Andreas Görtz, vice president of the power generation business unit, added: “Microgrids complete our product and solution line-up for distributed power generation. From battery storage and intelligent electronic control systems to diesel or gas gensets – we’re not merely a supplier of modules from the MTU product range, but rather we’re offering our customers tailor-made total solutions featuring things like solar and wind power generation.”

Cordelia Thielitz, who heads up the Microgrid Solutions business unit at Rolls-Royce, said: “Because Rolls-Royce itself develops and produces key components such as the battery storage facilities, the microgrid control system and the generator sets, we possess in-depth knowledge of their features and characteristics, thereby giving the customer a turnkey total solution that is integrated perfectly from both a technical and economic perspective.

“We’re seeing global demand for microgrids in a wide range of application areas.

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Siemens, AES JV unveils next-gen energy storage technology stack

Siemens, AES JV unveils next-gen energy storage technology stack

Siemens and AES joint venture Fluence has unveiled its sixth-generation energy storage technology stack combining factory-built hardware, advanced software and data-driven intelligence.

The JV said that the new technology creates the foundation for three purpose-built systems, Gridstack, Sunstack and Edgestack, which are configured for grid, renewable and commercial and industrial applications, respectively.

Gridstack is a utility-scale system designed for demanding grid applications, such as T&D enhancement, frequency regulation and capacity peak power.

Sunstack is a PV-optimised, co-located system designed to improve and expand the capabilities of solar generation with firm renewable energy delivery and additional grid services.

Edgestack is a commercial and industrial system designed to support 500kW-plus applications.

All the new technology includes three components Fluence IQ, Fluence Operating System and Fluence Cube.

The IQ segment provides digital intelligence engines that use data and machine learning to improve system decision-making, manage battery degradation, reduce operating costs and optimize energy market dispatch.

The operating system is a fully-integrated platform that combines comprehensive controls, system visibility and asset management to improve asset performance at a single site or across entire fleets.

The cube is a factory-assembled building block that is four to five times more modular than traditional systems, the company said.

Fluence chief technology officer Brett Galura said: “Energy storage applications require highly flexible systems that can be tailored to specific markets and customer needs.

“Until now, customers were forced to choose between custom-built solutions or inflexible, vertically integrated products.

“This sixth-generation technology combines our proprietary dataset – among the industry’s largest – and our deep industry experience to deliver unparalleled intelligence and flexibility, while adding the benefits of mass production to standardise safety features and significantly reduce the time and cost needed to deploy energy storage.

“Over the past decade, Fluence has reduced the total cost of energy storage systems by 90%; our new technology stack focuses on driving down the non-battery costs of energy storage systems by up to 25%, while empowering gigawatt-sized deployments.”

Fluence has already been selected by leading customers such as Enel, LS Power, sPower and Siemens for 800MW of projects using the new technology.

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