UK's largest energy storage project hums into life
Global power company AES has announced completion of the UK's largest battery energy storage array.
The 10MW system is located in Kilroot Power Station in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.
AES said the project is the largest advanced energy storage system in the UK and the only such system at transmission scale.
The array is actually made up of more than 53,000 batteries, arranged in 136 separate nodes for increased reliability.
AES said in a statement: “With more efficient balancing of supply and demand, energy storage will lower costs to consumers, unlock the value of existing renewables, and improve the security of supply."
The new array is the first step towards a planned 100MW energy storage array next to Kilroot Power Station, which would be among the largest in the world.
The planned installation is expected to provide £8.5m in system savings a year and save the equivalent of 123,000 tonnes of CO2.
AES, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, already owns and operates the world’s largest advanced energy storage fleet, with 384 MW in operation, construction, or late stage development.
Although this latest project itself is fully commercial, Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst is providing the funding, in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast, for an additional project to analyse the impact of the array. Queen’s University will then publish an independent report on the potential of the technology to benefit the Northern Ireland energy market.
The new installation continues a growing trend of energy storage systems being implemented in the UK. Earlier this week, Hertfordshire-based company Renewable Energy Systems (RES) announced its first UK contract to build and support a battery energy storage system.
Tesla is also expected to release its much-anticipated domestic Powerwall battery pack in the UK in ‘early 2016’ and has announced plans to roll out its utility-scale Powerpack system in the Republic of Ireland this year.
Commenting on this expected growth in the UK's energy storage market, the Renewable Energy Association’s chief executive Nina Skorupska said: “2016 will be the year in which battery storage takes off in the UK, as we have seen the United States, Germany, and Japan, all who have moved quickly to reap the benefits of this technology - including energy security, greater renewables integration, and more green jobs.
"The cost of more efficient batteries is rapidly declining. Now the greatest barrier to growth is policy, and we look to the National Infrastructure Commission, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and HM Treasury particularly to see the serious potential in this area, as well as in other forms of energy storage."
Skorupska also called for "more clear definitions, standardised processes, and a stable framework”.