Centrica plans battery storage, solar and hydrogen at former gas power plant

Centrica has unveiled plans to develop a battery storage system at a former gas power station in Yorkshire, which it may co-locate with solar and hydrogen. Elsewhere, SSE is looking to co-locate a battery and solar with a wind farm in Ireland.

Centrica plans battery storage, solar and hydrogen at former gas power plant

Image: Centrica

British Gas owner Centrica has today (24 January) confirmed that it has acquired the four-acre site for the former Knapton Generating Station, near Malton in North Yorkshire, from Third Energy.

Gas-fired power generation ceased at Knapton in late 2019, as Third Energy had fired the plant using fracked gas before the UK Government imposed a moratorium on fracking. Third Energy was initially planning to create a low-carbon ‘energy park’ at the site but Centrica, as new owner, is now taking up that mantle.

Centrica has proposed the creation of a 28MW battery energy storage facility on the site. The facility will be developed in stages and the first part will be a 56MWh grid-connected battery. Centrica claims that this battery would be able to power 14,000 homes for two hours.

Centrica has also confirmed that it will explore the potential for installing solar panels in the surrounding area. A co-located battery with renewables like solar can help overcome the challenge of intermittent generation, storing generated electricity when conditions are favorable and demand is low, then providing the electricity to the grid during times of low generation and high demand.

Additionally, Centrica will investigate whether Knapton would be a suitable location for off-grid hydrogen production.

SSE Renewables

In related news, SSE Renewables has opened a public consultation on plans to co-locate battery energy storage and solar panels with its existing Richfield Wind Farm at Bridgetown in County Wexford, Ireland.

Richfield (pictured) is an 18-turbine wind farm that has been operational since 2006. It has a total generation capacity of 27MW.

SSE Renewables is seeking to develop a 21MWp solar farm on lands near the wind farm. It also wants to develop a co-located 10MW battery energy storage system which, like Centrica’s, would be able to power thousands of local homes for two hours.

The proposed solar farm would be located in the townlands of Hooks and Yoletown while the proposed battery energy storage system would be co-located adjacent to the existing substation at Richfield Wind Farm. SSE Renewables intends to submit a planning application to the County Council this spring, following a full public consultation.

SSE Renewables will need to, also, apply for permission for grid connection. At present, Ireland does not permit grid connections for ‘hybrid’ technologies, where projects are co-located.

“While some regulatory hurdles still need to be overcome to allow for hybrid grid connections, we’re ready at SSE Renewables to work closely with key government and regulatory stakeholders so that we can remove any remaining barriers and support the delivery of important solar and battery technology projects co-located at wind farm sites,” said the business’s onshore renewables development and construction director Heather Donald.

Ireland is notably aiming to generate 80% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, Wind is currently the leading renewable generation method for Ireland.

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