Biggest battery in Europe set to land on British shores

21st February 2020 | Commercial Energy

Oil and gas giant Shell has plans for a 100-megawatt grid storage battery in the west of England. It is slated to be the biggest battery in Europe once it is completed later this year and will be crucial to the UK’s quest to remain the continent’s top wind power player. The battery project in Wiltshire aims to store renewable power in two 50MW cells and then sell it to consumers when demand and prices are high.

“Projects like this will be vital for balancing the UK’s electricity demand and supply as wind and solar power play bigger roles in powering our lives,” said Shell Energy Europe’s vice president David Wells “Batteries are uniquely suited to optimising power supplies as the UK moves towards a net-zero carbon system,” he added. It is the Dutch firm’s latest attempt to diversity its business holdings away from fossil fuels.

Biggest battery

Chinese investment fund CNIC and state-run utility Huaneng Group will build the battery but Shell insists neither will be involved with its day-to-day operations once construction is completed. The battery will store enough energy to power 10,000 homes for a single day once fully charged, given that UK energy regulator Ofgem says that a typical household needs about 10 kilowatts every 24-hour period.

Grid storage batteries are set to gain in popularity as countries increase the capacity of variable energy sources like wind and solar power, in order to meet both national and EU climate targets. For EU member states, a collective target of 32% clean energy use is in force for 2030 and might even be tightened by the new European Commission, which has pledged to look again at all climate and energy legislation by the end of 2021.

At an even on offshore wind in Brussels on Wednesday (19 February), WindEurope’s chief executive Giles Dickson insisted that the UK will hang on to its title as Europe’s leader in harnessing wind power.

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