Scotland flicks switch on country’s largest battery

Scotland's first utility-scale battery facility has opened this week, a move which experts hope will help pave the way for an energy storage boom in the UK.

The 20MW Broxburn Energy Storage facility in West Lothian provides frequency response services to the grid, charging when there is excess capacity and delivering energy in periods of peak demand.

The facility is said to be the fastest of its kind in Scotland, being able to respond to the grid in milliseconds when required.

Scotland’s Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee said the facility would help push the country towards a cleaner future.

“A welcome addition to Scotland’s low-carbon energy system, projects such as this one can increase system flexibility and create opportunities for the further decarbonisation of Scotland’s economy,” McKee said.

It is thought that these types of projects could save the grid around £200m. Rachel Ruffle, managing director of energy storage provider RES, which built the facility, said it would help balance intermittent generation and deliver a better cost to consumers.

“Energy storage can play a large role in supporting the transition to a secure, low-carbon, low-cost energy system,” Ruffle said. “The use of energy storage will allow for a greater penetration of renewables and can avoid costly grid upgrades – leading to cost benefits for all consumers.

“We believe that this project will play an important role in demonstrating this and will encourage policy makers and regulators to accelerate the removal of barriers to wider deployment of energy storage in the UK.”

Storage boom

Energy storage is expected to help create savings for the UK to the tune of £8bn by 2030. With battery prices plummeting all the time, many businesses – including the likes of Landsec and Anglian Water – are seeking to invest in the technology to complement onsite generation, save on energy bills and reduce their reliance on the grid.

Just this week, food wholesaler Philip Dennis Foodservice purchased three energy storage units to be used at the company’s offices in Barnstaple. The 3.75MW facilities are connected to the grid and will support a rooftop solar array and two wind turbines installed onsite.

Philip Dennis’s director Peter Dennis said that investments in renewables and storage has helped the firm to maintain a competitive edge over its rivals.

“Improving our carbon footprint through investment in renewable technologies is really important to us. It is a key USP and differentiates us from others in the market,” he said. “We were quick to recognise the opportunity that solar and battery storage presents and are already achieving good returns.” 

George Ogleby

Comments (1)

  1. Scottish Scientist says:

    Whilst the notion of energy storage is right conceptually, this battery is far too small capacity to be of much use for the Scottish electricity grid and such batteries are typically being mis-sold by snake-oil salesmen who are exaggerating the performance to fool the likes of Ivan McKee, which is easily done.

    The much larger energy storage which is required can only really be afforded to be built as pumped storage hydroelectric schemes, for example as the SSE have planned for Coire Glas in the Scottish Highlands, where there are many other suitable sites, the best of which could accommodate a scheme large enough to serve the whole of the UK electricity grid.

    World s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?

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