The developers of a 98 MW battery storage facility in Yorkshire have announced it is now operational, making it the largest facility of its kind in Europe.
The battery storage facility in Pillswood, Cottingham, which is believed to be capable of storing enough electricity to power 300,000 households for two hours, went online on Monday after being put forward four months due to concerns over energy shortages in the UK this winter.
Battery energy storage systems store electricity generated by renewable sources such as wind turbines and solar farms before releasing it when there is a high demand from customers.
The Pillswood substation is proposed to serve as the connection point for the first two phases of the Dogger Bank wind farm. When completed, this facility will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with a capacity of 3.6 GW. The first of three 1.2 GW phases is scheduled to go online in 2023.
The battery storage facility will be critical to Dogger Bank’s efficiency. Renewable electricity is intermittent therefore it is advantageous to store electricity in case supply is low during times of high demand. Similarly, there may be a surplus of energy during times of low demand, forcing energy consumption to be reduced.
Originally, half of the Pillswood project’s capacity was scheduled to become operational before the start of the New Year, while the other half was scheduled to become operational in March 2023. National Grid requested the earlier completion date to aid in incorporating greater energy security and flexibility in preparation for the upcoming winter season, which is expected to see record-high wholesale energy prices.
Harmony Energy, a North Yorkshire renewable energy company, built the facility using Tesla technology.
Harmony Energy’s director, Peter Kavanagh, said: “Battery energy storage systems are essential to unlocking the full potential of renewable energy in the UK and we hope this particular one highlights Yorkshire as a leader in green energy solutions.
“These projects are not supported by taxpayer subsidy and will play a major role in contributing to the Net Zero transition, as well as ensuring the future security of the UK’s energy supply and reduced reliance on foreign gas imports.”
The system, which will use Tesla’s artificial intelligence software to match energy supply and demand, is scheduled to be activated in two stages in December 2022 and March 2023.
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the disruption of gas supplies, Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator, has warned that the country faces a “significant risk” of energy shortages this winter.