Mega-battery plant to come online in Sheffield
9th October 2017 | Commercial Energy
Britain’s switch to greener energy will take another significant step forward this week with the opening of an industrial-scale battery site in Sheffield. Eon said the facility, which is next to an existing power plant and has the equivalent capacity of half a million phone batteries, marked a milestone in its efforts to develop storage for electricity from windfarms, nuclear reactors and gas power stations.
The plant, housed in four shipping containers, is the type of project hailed by the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, as crucial to transforming the UK’s energy system and making it greener.
At 10MW, the Blackburn Meadows battery is one of the biggest in Britain so far, but will soon be eclipsed by much larger plants.
Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, is building a 49MW facility on the site of a former power station in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, while EDF Energy is working on one of the same size at its West Burton gas power station in Nottinghamshire.
David Topping, the director of business, heat and power solutions at Eon, said, “This is a milestone for Eon in the new energy world and an important recognition of the enormous potential for battery solutions in the UK.”
The utility-scale batteries are being built in response to a request from National Grid, the owner of Britain’s power transmission network, for contracts to help it keep electricity supply and demand in balance, which is posing an increasing challenge for the grid as more intermittent wind and solar comes online.
Balancing supply and demand is essential for keeping the frequency of electricity constant at 50Hz across the UK. The ability of batteries to respond to demand in less than a second makes them ideal for the task, with earlier sources of backup power much slower at just under 10 seconds.
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