Swindon given go-ahead for 50MW battery project

Swindon is set to host one of the UK's largest battery storage facilities after the town's council received planning consent for the project.

The project is designed to have a 30-year lifespan and will offer a long-term land rental income for Swindon Borough Council

The project is designed to have a 30-year lifespan and will offer a long-term land rental income for Swindon Borough Council

The standalone facility, which will be located on the site of a former municipal depot, will have a maximum output of up to 50MW and a storage capacity of up to 50MWh.

The facility will be run by Public Power Solutions, the wholly-owned company of Swindon Borough Council.

The firm’s head of power solutions Steve Cains said: “The project has a great location next to a sub-station, meaning the grid connection cost is very competitive - so this is a good opportunity for a developer looking for front of the meter battery storage opportunities that will enable them to generate an income in a variety of different ways.

“Local authorities are in a unique position to benefit from the growing demand for electricity storage, with diverse property portfolios and high energy consumption. We’re making it work at home here in Swindon but this project could be replicated in many other parts of the country, helping generate an income for the cash-strapped public sector.”

PPS is now in discussions with developers seeking front of the meter battery storage opportunities to take on the funding and construction of the project, which benefits from a very low grid connection cost.

The project is designed to have a 30-year lifespan and will offer a long-term land rental income for Swindon Borough Council. It will be able to deliver balancing services for National Grid, to help enable the growing proportion of renewable generation in the UK.

“The fact this will be one of the largest battery storage schemes in the UK speaks volumes for our ambition in Swindon,” Councillor Toby Elliot said. “It also shows our willingness to look for innovative ways in which to utilise our assets, generating an income for the Council to protect vital services.”

Battery boon

The first few months of 2018 have provided a boon for UK energy storage solutions. The Government-backed Faraday Institution will provide £42m for energy storage research and electric vehicle (EV) battery development.

Banking firm Santander became one of the first senior debt lenders to provide financial support to the energy storage sector, backing an independent UK battery developer with a £28.5m funding investment.

One week into 2018, the UK's biggest portfolio of utility-scale enhanced frequency response battery storage sites was completed. The 50MW portfolio spans two sites including a 40MW battery park in Glassenbury, Kent and a 10MW battery park in Cleator, Cumbria.

Elsewhere, General Electric (GE) is targeting a portion of the UK's growing battery storage market, after partnering with London energy firm Arenko to create one of the UK's largest fully-integrate battery storage solutions.

George Ogleby


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energy storage | low-carbon

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