Published on January 17th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor


Large Battery Storage Project Teams With Solar Farm In UK

January 17th, 2016 by  

Originally published on Sustainnovate.
By Henry Lindon

UK Getting New Industrial-Scale Battery Storage Project As Part Of Effort To Test Feasibility

The UK will soon be getting a new industrial-scale battery storage project, one of its firsts. It will be constructed at a solar energy project in Somerset.

The new project is part of a new £1 million project exploring the feasibility of utilizing large-scale battery storage technology on the mass scale in the region — especially with regards to the feasibility of using the technology as an accompaniment to large grid-connected renewable energy projects.

The project — being developed by British Solar Renewables and the electricity supplier Western Power Distribution — will be essentially a 640 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery system, located at a 1.5 megawatt (MW) solar energy project at Butleigh in Somerset (owned by British Solar Renewables).

The Innovation and Low Carbon Networks Engineer at Western Power Distribution, Jenny Woodruff, commented: “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.”

Gordon MacDougall commented as well: “Our experience of delivering almost 80 MW of energy storage globally has given us the ability to provide proven and reliable energy storage solutions, and we are confident that this project will open the door for other opportunities in the UK.”

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  • Dominic

    The UK has some other larger battery projects already (eg Younicos’/Samsung SDI/S&C Electric’s 6MW/10MWh project in Leighton Buzzard (near London) for frequency regulation and load shifting). Nice to see one linked directly to a PV array though.

  • Nobhala Phesheya

    Yes, I was one of the first people to propose large scale storage of electrical energy using batteries. The year was 2007. I was laughed at by many in the renewable energy sector. I’m glad that somehow they have now finally woken up to the opportunity. But now there’s no strategy for deploying these systems – only expensive trial and error. Anyway, battery energy storage will soon be dated. I now sell hydrogen energy storage as the best solution. Leave batteries, go for HYDROGEN!

    • Bob_Wallace

      Good idea!

      Let’s forego >90% efficient batteries and >85% efficient PuHS and use <50% efficient hydrogen!!!

      Realistically, let's look at total cost of storage and use what works best. It's looking like zinc-air and lithium-ion batteries are our best option for short term storage. Pump up hydro is probably best for long term storage. Flow batteries and hydrogen need to get some numbers on the table so we can make informed choices.

      BTW, kill the all caps stuff. It's so last century….

      • Qwathi

        Hi Bob, you prabably should have asked why I vote for hydrogen storage and not for batteries anymore.

        On efficiency, hydrogen compares and is getting better than batteries. But unlike batteries, hydrogen is a flexible input into so many other processes than power production. Even as a source of power, it is far more adaptable than batteries that in my view are going to present as a major waste problem come the end of their lives. And hydrogen is easier to produce and to convert into useful forms. Otherwise NaS batteries(cheap input materials, etc) are the best option if they can sort out overheating problems, and then continue to improve the power density.

  • Aku Ankka

    While it is positive that some amount of storage is being played with, it is good to keep sizes in perspective. Doesn’t this simply mean “20 minutes of peak power storage capacity”?

    If so, it would allow some smoothing of production curve, helping a bit with frequency regulation. But not allow much in way of “power after sun has gone down” (… except for couple of minutes…). To help with diurnal patterns, numbers like 6-8 hours (of peak storage) are reported with CSP plants, that is, 20x amount installed here.

    Of course things need to start small, to gain experience on operation aspects, integration and so on. But sometimes these are reported by others as bit breakthroughs that would be proving that storage challenges are being resolved.

  • JamesWimberley

    Note the trusty British sheep doing their PR bit to keep the image of solar cuddly – not like those horrid wind turbines. Seriously, British solar developers are good at multiple land uses and an example to others.

    • Bristolboy

      Sheep grazing is an ideal co-use for solar. The vegetation needs to be controlled and sheep are cheaper than employing contractors with a lawnmower – plus they then reduce the land taken out of food production.

      Per MW though, wind takes less land out of food production than solar; especially if the land is arabale. This is why UK policy only favours solar on relatively poor quality farm-land.

    • eveee

      Is this a UK thing? I thought I saw some grazing and solar in Australia, too. These pictures should be shoved in front of the Torys pushing to oust solar from farms and wind from onshore use.
      Its good to get out in front of these myths and canards early.

      • Ronald Brakels

        There’s not much in the way of solar farms in Australia and the ones we have tend to be scraped flat with a grader. But I suppose it is possible some have had time to grow grass and they put sheep on them. (But not cows. Cows destroy everything. Fencing, archaeological sites, relationships, vows of vegetarianism… you name it.) But it may have actually been distributed solar on a farm you saw, used for pumping water. Farmers and local councils build them because they are by far the cheapest source of electricity.

  • Bristolboy

    It’s worth pointing out this project is being delivered by Renewable Energy Systems (RES), NOT British Solar Renewables (although it is adjacent to the BSR solar park) and it is RES who have developed over 80MW of energy storage globally.

    Regardless, it is good to see energy storage coming to the UK and it is likely to be the first of many such schemes.

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