Batteries included: UK's biggest onshore wind farm adds 50MW storage

Iberdrola's UK subsidiary ScottishPower is adding a 50MW lithium-ion battery - one of the largest in the UK - to its 539MW Whitelee onshore wind project in Scotland.

The 50MW Whitelee battery will be the largest in the UK, installed at one of the country's largest onshore wind projects (pic: Iberdrola)

The £20 million (€22.45 million) plans have been approved by the Scottish and local governments and the battery is set to be operational by the end of 2020.

ScottishPower said the battery site at Whitelee would provide the grid with "reactive power and frequency response" and provide green power at times of high demand or low wind speeds.

"By integrating storage technologies with onshore wind, we are blowing away one of the myths about renewable generation not being available when you need it," said ScottishPower chief executive, Keith Anderson.

"If we are to meet the bold target of net zero by 2050 and deliver the decarbonisation of our economy, transport and heating systems, large battery storage facilities such as this along with more wind farms like Whitelee are crucial," Anderson added.

It will be the fourth wind project in the UK to have a battery storage element attached to it.

Vattenfall’s 228MW Pen y Cymoedd onshore wind project in Wales has a 22MW battery on the site, which was commissioned in May 2018.

Equinor attached a "battery with a brain" to the 30MW Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind project. The 1MW/1.3MWh Batwind battery at Peterhead was installed in June 2018.

Finally, Ørsted has added a 2MW battery element to its Burbo Bank offshore wind project in northwest England. Ørsted also has a 20MW standalone project operating in the UK.

The Whitelee battery project is Iberdrola’s first in the UK, however, it does have smaller projects installed in the US, Spain and Brazil.

A report from trade body RenewableUK in November 2018 found applications for energy storage projects had grown from 2MW in 2012, to 6.8GW in 2018.

The average size of these applications had also increase to 27MW in 2018 – highlighting the notable size of Iberdrola’s project.

RenewableUK's analysis followed a report by the Renewable Energy Association in late 2017, which found approximately 12GW of battery storage could be deployed in the UK by the end of 2021, a quarter of which could be co-located at wind farms.