United Kingdom

United Kingdom

UK clears path to support storage for wind power

The UK government will relax construction barriers surrounding large-scale battery projects in support of wind power across England and Wales.

Battery storage can help manage the grid as it carries more variable renewable power (pic: Vattenfall)
Battery storage can help manage the grid as it carries more variable renewable power (pic: Vattenfall)

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RenewableUK director of policy Rebecca Williams welcomed the policy, announced on 14 July, which she said would encourage large battery projects to be deployed alongside solar and wind farms across parts of the UK.

“The growth in battery storage is accelerating extremely fast in the UK, including large-scale projects at wind and solar farms which are increasing their flexibility by building energy storage on site,” she said.

In its decision, the government noted that the UK still had the world's largest installed capacity of offshore wind, and that battery storage was critical to ensuring its reliability as an energy source.

A quirk of the UK constitution means that the devolved administration of Wales can authorise storage projects of up to 350MW, while England's local authorities are limited to 50MW capacity without central government approval.

The policy does not apply to the devolved administrations of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The UK currently has 93 energy storage projects in operation equalling 3,775MW.

Another 12 projects are being built (378MW), 338 projects have planning consent (8,920MW) and 57 projects are threading their way through the planning system (1,682MW), according to RenewableUK figures.

This month, Spanish engineers Ingeteam won the storage contract to supply the control system, power converters and lithium ion batteries for Iberdrola's 539MW Whitelee onshore wind project in Glasgow –  the world's largest onshore wind farm. Once built, the battery will have a storage capacity of 50MWh, equivalent to the average hourly consumption of 150,000 homes.

Several wind projects in the UK are already operating with battery storage, including Vattenfall’s 228MW Pen y Cymoedd onshore wind project in Wales which has a 22MW battery, and Equinor's 30MW Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind project with an attached 1MW/1.3MWh battery.

Ørsted also added a 2MW battery element to its Burbo Bank offshore wind project in northwest England.

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