Energy supplier Scottish Power has announced it will undertake the UK’s most ambitious battery power project. The first of its scale in Europe, the project will be followed by a number of similar ones across at least six of Scottish Power’s renewable energy sites.
In 2020, the industrial-scale battery will be connected to the Whitelee onshore windfarm, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, to capture and store the excess wind energy generated by its 215 turbines. The aim of the project is to provide a baseload or continuous electricity supply for the UK energy system.
With double the power capacity of any existing battery in the UK, it would take only one hour to fully charge. After which it would be able to release enough electricity over an hour to fully charge 806 Nissan Leaf vehicles over a total of 182,000 miles, according to a Scottish Power spokesman.
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Keith Anderson, Scottish Power’s chief executive, said: “Batteries will take renewable energy to the next level. It is a nice, neat solution to help use more and more renewable power in the UK, because that’s what we need to be doing to reach a net zero-carbon economy.”
The battery will store excess energy, which can then be released when the wind drops. It can charge overnight when demand is low and then release electricity in the morning when demand begins to rise again.
On-site batteries will release short-energy bursts to fill second-by-second fluctuations in renewable energy. “They can react in milliseconds and are incredibly useful as a virtually instantaneous tool for the energy system operator,” Anderson said.
“Over a period of time, we will get to use much more wind output from the project, and across the whole of the country, because even at times of low demand we will be able to capture far more of the wind rather than wasting that potential energy.”
Scotland’s energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said the project offered “a number of real potential benefits for Scotland’s energy systems, and the Scottish Government will continue to support innovation and deployment in this area”.
Construction work at the Whitelee project will start early next year. Scottish Power expects the facility to be fully operational by the end of 2020.
Scottish Power has recently become the first major energy supplier to generate all its electricity from renewable sources.