One of the UK’s largest wind farm developers is preparing to charge up its first major battery storage project to help stabilise Britain’s power grid as more turbines begin to spin.
Denmark’s Ørsted, formerly known as Dong Energy, is nearing completion of the world’s largest wind farm and from next month will become one of Britain’s largest commercial battery developers too.
The group will begin building the 20MW power storage project in Liverpool next month and hopes it will be able to provide National Grid with balancing services by the end of the year.
Matthew Wright, of Ørsted UK, said the group wants to remain “at the forefront” of Britain’s move towards low-carbon energy.
Ørsted, once an oil and gas company, has invested billions of pounds in building wind farms off Britain coast lines. The growth of onshore wind and solar power has also steadily grown in recent years as falling technology costs have made the projects more economic.
The renewables boom has fuelled demand for batteries which can make them more efficient by storing energy when it is abundant until it is needed. Even small batteries will be needed to play a role in regulating the frequency of the energy grid to keep the system stable.
“The future energy system will be completely transformed from what it is today, with a smarter, more flexible grid, balancing supply and demand with new technology and cleaner energy generation,” said Mr Wright.
Ryan O’Keefe, the boss of Ørsted’s solar and storage business, added: “The demand for these services is likely to grow in the UK as the country is expected to decommission large parts of its carbon-based generation fleet and introduce more renewables generation.”
Ørsted snapped up the Carnegie Road site from Shaw Energi with the planning permission and grid connection already in place. The head-start means Ørsted’s project will be able to help power the grid from this winter, at the same time as a 49MW facility under construction by British Gas parent company Centrica.
Drax Group, the owner of Britain’s largest single power plant, is also planning to add battery storage to its coal and biomass generation. The generator has applied for permission to build up to 200MW worth of storage on its site together with 3.2GW of new gas-fired power, but has not made a final investment decision yet.