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New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Betting on batteries on the road to net zero


Centrica engineer with hard hat and clipboard Photo: Centrica Business Solutions
The 24 MW battery energy storage system in Ostend, Belgium, will be Centrica’s first such development outside the UK

Photo: Centrica Business Solutions

A number of new battery energy storage system (BESS) announcements have been made recently, including Centrica starting work on its first BESS outside the UK, north Scotland’s largest standalone battery coming online and Wärtsilä securing its sixth UK BESS project award from EDF.

Centrica announces first battery storage development outside the UK
Centrica Business Solutions has started work on its first battery energy storage system (BESS) development outside the UK, in partnership with Alfen. To be built in Ostend, Belgium, the 24 MW battery will have the capacity to store energy and power 48,000 homes for two hours.


The site is set to be at full capacity by early 2024. Once operational, Centrica Energy Trading will employ a multimarket optimisation strategy, allowing energy to be stored and then sold and deployed to the grid when supply outstrips demand or when there is a requirement for additional power in the network. The Ostend battery has been selected by Belgium’s network operator, Elia, to participate in the capacity market.


Bill Rees, Director of Centrica Energy Assets, says: ‘We’ve set ambitious targets for the delivery of flexible energy assets and to make good on this promise we’re becoming more active in developing and acquiring flexible assets both at home and abroad.’


Renewables and battery storage technology are expected to play an increasingly important role in supporting Belgium’s transition to net zero as the country moves to prioritise green energy after committing to shutdown five of its seven nuclear reactors by 2025.


North Scotland’s first 50 MW battery online
Elsewhere, SUSI-Eelpower, a joint venture between SUSI Partners and Eelpower, has brought online what is said to be the largest standalone operational battery storage in Scotland. The battery is located in Dundee and has a capacity of 50 MW.


Scotland is home to 60% of the UK’s offshore wind capacity which creates a challenge for National Grid given the intermittent nature of this resource. Large scale BESS such as the new Dunsinane battery allow the wind energy to be stored and used in times of peak demand for the benefit of Scottish homes and businesses.


Scotland is aiming to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. There is a forecast that offshore wind deployed in Scottish waters will rise tenfold, from 1 GW today to 11 GW by 2030. The first standalone distribution connected BESS represents ‘a significant building block of national energy infrastructure and a major milestone for Scotland’s renewable energy journey’, says SUSI-Eelpower.


Wärtsilä and EDF partner on sixth UK battery project
Meanwhile, in the UK, technology group Wärtsilä has signed a repeat order with EDF Renewables UK to deliver a grid-scale BESS in Bramford in 1Q2024.


The 57 MW/114 MWh project is Wärtsilä’s sixth with EDF Renewables UK and Ireland. Its energy storage portfolio in the UK now exceeds 1 GWh.


The new storage facility will be connected to the UK’s transmission network, enabling the integration of renewable energy into the grid. The Bramford project will also be capable of supporting any future developments in electric vehicle (EV) charging and the electrification of public transport, like its sister project in Oxford, say the project partners.


The Bramford BESS will be constructed near a planned solar farm, also being developed by EDF Renewables UK, which is currently awaiting a planning decision from Mid-Suffolk District Council.