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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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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UK’s largest battery storage site to help keep the nation’s lights on

UK’s largest battery storage site to help keep the nation’s lights on

A market access deal has been agreed for what is thought to be Europe’s largest battery storage site, at Thurcroft near Rotherham.

Gresham House Energy Storage Fund has partnered with Edinburgh-based Flexitricity to optimise its 50 MW / 75 MWh battery storage site facility.

Flexible energy specialist Flexitricity will provide market access, optimising revenue for the asset as well as helping National Grid ESO balance supply and demand.

The South Yorkshire-based lithium-ion battery storage site will be monitored from Flexitricity’s 24/7 control room in Edinburgh and Flexitricity will move the asset between different markets.

It will be traded in the wholesale markets. At other times it will be providing services such as frequency response to help regulate system frequency and keep it within safe operating levels.

Energy storage offers a way to capture clean energy and balance energy generation against demand.

The UK now boasts close to 1 GW worth of installed battery storage capacity, but the market needs further growth to facilitate a net zero energy system.

Andy Lowe, director at Flexitricity, said: “Flexibility is a hugely important part of decarbonising the grid and batteries are an excellent source of flexibility.

“It’s one of the only asset classes that can deliver the rapid response flexibility National Grid ESO needs now and will need even more in the future to maintain system stability.

“That’s why it’s been great to see the investment case for batteries gain momentum over the last 12 months and ambitious projects such as Thurcroft become reality.

“While the value is there, extracting it isn’t easy – it requires a high level of expertise and the right technology, people and algorithms.

“We’re delighted that Gresham House has chosen us as their optimisation partner for a second asset, after we contracted with them for their Noriker Staunch project in 2019.”

Ben Guest, managing director of Gresham House New Energy said: “Gresham House has plans to grow its energy storage portfolio significantly. “We are aiming for more than 360 MW in operational assets by the end of 2020. Energy storage is an area of significant growth with Great Britain requiring at least 10 GW in the next four years in order to enable the ongoing transition to a renewables-led electricity market.

“The UK has an ambition to achieve net zero by 2050 and it is our aim to contribute to this meaningfully, while achieving strong returns for our investors.”

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Scottish Power to build vast battery to improve wind energy supply

Scottish Power to build vast battery to improve wind energy supply

Scottish Power to build vast battery to improve wind energy supply

Energy firm says project will be big step towards continuous renewable

Scottish Power is to undertake the most ambitious battery power project in Europe in an attempt to unlock the potential of the UK’s wind and solar farms.

The company will connect an industrial-scale battery, the size of half a football pitch, to the Whitelee onshore windfarm early next year to capture more power from its 215 turbines.

The first major onshore wind power storage project will lead the way for a string of similar projects across at least six of Scottish Power’s largest renewable energy sites over the following 18 months.

It claims the 50MW battery systems promise a “significant step” on the road towards renewable energy, providing baseload, or continuous electricity supply, for the UK energy system.

The battery has more than double the power capacity of any existing battery in the UK. It would take an hour to fully charge and could release enough electricity over an hour to fully charge 806 Nissan Leaf vehicles over a total of 182,000 miles, according to a spokesman for Scottish Power.

Keith Anderson, Scottish Power’s chief executive, said: “Batteries will take renewable energy to the next level. It is a nice, neat solution to help use more and more renewable power in the UK, because that’s what we need to be doing to reach a net zero-carbon economy.”

The lithium-ion battery will help Whitelee, already one of the largest onshore windfarms in Europe, to generate more renewable power by storing electricity when wind speeds are high, for use when the wind drops.

“Over a period of time, we will get to use much more wind output from the project, and across the whole of the country, because even at times of low demand we will be able to capture far more of the wind rather than wasting that potential energy,” he said.

For example, the batteries could charge overnight – when demand for power is low – and release electricity in the morning, when demand from homes and businesses begins to rise.

The on-site batteries will also be used to help even out the UK’s “quite clunky” energy system by releasing short bursts of power to fill in second-by-second fluctuations in renewable energy generation. “They can react in milliseconds and are incredibly useful as a virtually instantaneous tool for the energy system operator,” Anderson said.

Scottish Power’s battery rollout is the UK’s most ambitious move into the emerging energy storage sector, which includes projects from the FTSE energy giants Drax and Centrica as well as its wind power rival, Ørsted.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s energy minister, said the project was an “exciting new chapter for Whitelee”. The windfarm was one of the first major onshore projects built in the UK 10 years ago.

Wheelhouse said it offered “a number of real potential benefits for Scotland’s energy systems, and the Scottish government will continue to support innovation and deployment in this area”.

Scottish Power will begin construction work at the Whitelee project early next year and expects the facility to be fully operational by the end of 2020.

The plans have emerged just months after Scottish Power sloughed off its remaining fossil fuel power plants to become the first major energy supplier to generate all its electricity from renewable energy sources.

The company struck a £700m deal with Drax last year to hand over its four remaining gas power stations in England to focus exclusively on investing in renewable power and its energy networks business.

“Over the next 10 to 20 years, batteries will become a much more important part of the system. We want to start now,” Anderson said.

 Whitelee windfarm on Eaglesham Moor. Photograph: Ashley Cooper/Alamy

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Giant Storage With Gas-Power Backup Planned for U.K. Grid

Giant Storage With Gas-Power Backup Planned for U.K. Grid

Giant Storage With Gas-Power Backup Planned for U.K. Grid

London-based Statera will construct several storage sites over three to four years

Statkraft AS joined with Statera Energy Ltd. to build 1 GW of storage in the U.K. with a backup generator fuelled by natural gas, part of an effort to profit from the nation’s need to balance its power grid.

London-based Statera will construct several storage sites over three to four years at a number of U.K. locations as well as an array of gas reciprocating engines, Norway-based Statkraft said on Tuesday. The systems will generate power at times of peak demand or when not enough energy is flowing to the grid. Statkraft will name the location for the plant in the next few weeks.

Reciprocating engines work along a similar principle to piston engines and can typically be ramped up quicker than traditional gas turbines. The capacity of the system at 1 gigawatt is almost as much as the electricity that flows from a nuclear reactor.

Statkraft will market and manage the balancing services offered by the plant. It will be integrated into its “virtual” green power grid and trading platform in the U.K. The company controls 3.8 gigawatts of renewable power generation in the U.K.

While static batteries are becoming a mainstay of the power balancing market, Statkraft and Statera hope their combined model can occupy a niche between stand-alone storage and baseload-providing gas plants.

By combining a gas plant with battery storage, the system may also be able to access other revenues through the frequency regulation market which now requires plants to ramp up within 1 second, something that batteries can do but gas can’t.

Statera said on its website that it obtained financial backing for the project from private equity firm Infrared Capital Partners Ltd.

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