Battery storage facility to provide cheap power to 11,000 homes

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An energy firm is turning an old gas station into a new 50 megawatt facility which could provide power to tens of thousands of households amid a crisis which has seen bills soar. Centrica Business Solutions has reportedly started working on the plant, at Brigg in Lincolnshire. It could provide energy storage for 43 onshore wind farms across the county, and is the largest investment made by the firm in its entire history. The decomissioned gas station, now set to become a battery storage facility, is set to remain in operation for 25 years after it comes online late next year.

It is working in partnership with GE to construct the site, which it claims will be able to maximise the potential of every megawatt of green electricity to provide enough energy to provide a full day’s consumption to 11,000 homes, or around 15 percent of homes in North Linconshire.

By storing energy, it allows better control over the peaks and troughs associated with renewable energy generation, which can sometimes be the downfall of powering homes and industry with these kinds of energy sources. The faclility will work by charging the batteries when electricity demand is low, and then will discharge them when demand is at its highest point. 

Greg McKenna, Managing Director of Centrica Business Solutions, said: “Investing in low carbon energy assets that boost the UK’s ability to store more renewable energy is key to getting to net zero. Lincolnshire has 242MW of onshore wind power capacity but when supply outstrips demand some of those green electrons will go to waste if not stored.

“Working with GE we’ll store green energy produced locally and use it as efficiently as possible. As the UK’s power generation capacity becomes more distributed and the share of renewables increases, generation flexibility becomes critical to keep the lights on securely, sustainably and affordably.

“Brigg battery storage investment will ensure we can maximise the use of the green energy generated by nearby wind farms – storing when the wind blows and discharging when it doesn’t.”

Prakash Chandra, renewable hybrids chief executive officer at GE, said: “The UK has been one of the earliest and largest players in the battery energy storage space and the installed capacity keeps growing.

“However, there is a need for more if the country wants to achieve its Net Zero emission target for the power sector by 2035. We are glad to bring another project to life together with Centrica.”

This comes as the UK scrambles to ramp its own homegrown energy to boost security and ramp up energy independence as Russia continues to “weaponise” supplies. The UK has pinpointed wind in its April energy strategy as one of the crucial parts of scuppering its remaining links with Russia, despite only getting four percent of its gas from Moscow last year. 

While the UK still views gas, which has been made more expensive by Russia’s actions, as a transition fuel as it gradually weans itself of fossil fuels to reach in zet zero target by 2050, experts warned there could still a long delay before the UK grid is ready to cope with the vast influx of renewable projects set to come online. 

However, once it is ready, renewable power could offer households cheaper energy as clean power is said to potentially come at the cheapest cost. But despite this, the cost of electricty is often set by the power source with the highest cost, which is gas.

This is why experts and ministers have been scrambling to decouple electricty and gas prices with a market reform in a bid to unlock the cheaper cost renewable energy should offer 

Back in July, the Government launched REMA, a major review into Britain’s electricity market harness the cost benefits of cheaper energy to help it trickle down to consumers in the long term.

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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, who was Business Secretary at the time of the announcement, said: “We’ve just seen the price of offshore UK wind power fall to an all-time low and gas is a shrinking portion of our electricity generating mix, so we need to explore ways of ensuring the electricity market is adapting to the times.

That includes ensuring the cost benefits of our increasing supply of cheaper energy trickle down to consumers, but also that our system is fit for the future – especially with electricity demand set to double by 2035.

“In what could be the biggest electricity market shake up in decades, I am confident that this review will significantly enhance GB’s energy security and supply for generations to come.”

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