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Battery storage system will store PV-generated power

Energy storage technologies – particularly those designed to accept the output from intermittent renewables generators – are an increasingly important area for technology design and testing, with the development of appropriate commercial arrangements not far behind. 

Now, one of the UK’s first industrial-scale battery storage facilities is to be developed by a partnership between clean technology company British Solar Renewables (BSR) and Western Power Distribution (WPD), the electricity distributor for the Midlands, the South West and South Wales. The £1mn project will investigate both the technical and commercial feasibility of linking a major battery storage facility, a solar energy park and the electricity network.

The project will involve the installation of a battery system at a 1.5 MW solar park in Butleigh, Somerset, which will be connected to WPD’s South West network. 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.

WPD is carrying out the project, funded by Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance, in conjunction with BSR and the National Solar Centre (NSC).

The aim is to realise the benefits of using battery storage on an industrial scale so that this and future schemes can play a role in the UK energy market as it moves towards a future incorporating a large proportion of renewable power generation; much of this intermittent. 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, says BSR.

WPD’s Innovation and Low Carbon Networks Engineer, Jenny Woodruff, said: ‘Finding an economical way to store renewable energy will provide security of energy supply from renewable sources. It will ensure renewables aren’t wasted, as in this case it will allow solar energy to be stored and accessed when required.’

The centre-piece of the scheme is the 300 kVA and 640 kWh battery energy storage system (BESS) to be installed by RES, which will also provide ongoing warranty support during the battery’s operation. RES will utilise RESolve, its energy storage control and dispatch system to provide 24/7 management of the battery’s operation. The BESS itself will be self-contained, including hundreds of individual battery cells, power conversion equipment and safety and monitoring systems.

Complementing these developments on battery projects is the development of a new 100 MW pumped hydro electricity storage project currently planned for a site in North Wales. Snowdonia Pumped Hydro, which already has planning consent for a 50 MW scheme, has recently doubled the capacity of the proposed Glyn Rhonwy scheme – see Energy World January 2016.