Alison Hammond discusses potential blackouts
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In a major boost to the UK’s energy security, a company has completed building Europe’s largest battery site, which could help swerve blackouts and slash energy bills. Express.co.uk was exclusively told that the 100MW battery will be the largest transmission-connected battery in Europe and could power 300,000 homes for an hour.
Zenobē, a company dealing with battery storage and EV fleets, announced at the weekend that its site is the first to connect directly to the transmission network in the UK.
It is also the first battery in the world to have a commercial contract to provide reactive power services.
The 100MW, built in Capenhurst, Chester is now live and is connected to the UK’s electricity network, helping balance the grid by storing excess electricity.
Sited in Cheshire, Zenobe noted that the battery will support the increasing development of renewables, by offering power during times when wind and solar energy generation is low.
Sites like these are critical to the UK’s energy security, as the UK increasingly relies more on clean, renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar, which are intermittent.
The battery will enable more renewable energy integration – storing energy when supply is abundant and discharging it when demand peaks – and increase the resilience of the electricity system.
Zenobe noted that its site will also help to manage network capacity, thus ensuring the UK harnesses the maximum powerful Scottish wind energy flowing into the region.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, James Basden, Co-founder and director of Zenobē, said: “Battery storage is vital for balancing the grid and providing the flexibility we need as we move away from fossil fuels.
“It improves the security of our energy supply by addressing the issue of intermittent renewable power, storing energy when there is an oversupply and releasing it back onto the grid when there’s not enough being generated.
“This enables reduces the risks of blackouts and enables us to use less expensive and polluting gas, so lowering consumer bills and improving the environment.”
Zenobe told Express.co.uk since the battery site in Capenhurt is a one-hour battery, they estimate it could power 300,000 homes for an hour.
The company said that the battery will see large cost savings for consumers as gas plants will not need to run as frequently and fees won’t have to be paid to curtail wind power when the network becomes congested.
In December 2022, National Grid paid £82million to wind farm operators to turn their turbines off in efforts to stop the energy system from becoming overwhelmed.
Over the first 15 years of operation, the battery at Capenhurst could save £58million on curtailment costs that would have previously been passed on to consumers.
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The battery is the largest directly connected to the transmission network in Europe, connecting at 275,000 volts, and the first in the world to have a commercial contract to provide reactive power.
In a statement, Mr Basden said: “With Capenhurst, we’re solving a key issue on the grid in the Merseyside region whilst significantly enhancing the nation’s use of renewable power.
“This pioneering project enables us to deliver vital grid services without the need for fossil fuels, supporting cities like Liverpool with their zero carbon targets.
“The activation of the site represents a key milestone for Zenobē as a business and for the UK as it moves towards a zero-carbon power system. Decarbonisation is more important than ever, as we face increasing energy prices and seek greater energy independence. We look forward to taking these solutions into other countries, using our expertise to make clean power accessible across the globe.”
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