SMS brings online 90 MW of energy storage in UK – EQ Mag
Smart energy infrastructure group, SMS plc, has begun operating two new grid scale battery energy storage systems (BESS) that add a combined 90 MW of storage capacity to the UK’s electricity transmission network.
A 50 MW project located at Brook Farm, near Ipswich, and a 40 MW site in Stairfoot, Barnsley, UK, are now fully operational, delivering essential grid balancing and flexibility services at a time of year when the power network has come under increased strain due to cold weather, gas shortages, and heightened winter demand. The large lithium-ion batteries installed across both sites hold enough capacity to store electricity for approximately 40 000 UK homes.
Thanks to the ability to store renewable power such as wind and solar when electricity demand is low and release it to the network when demand is high, battery technology plays a central role in Britain’s decarbonisation and future energy security. According to National Grid, the UK will require approximately 20 GW of battery storage by 2030 and approximately 35 GW by 2050 if we are to fully realise the benefits of a net zero energy system. The country’s current battery storage capacity stands at 2.1 GW.
The latest battery projects to be connected to the grid in Suffolk and South Yorkshire are the second and third sites that SMS has developed following the completion of its inaugural 50 MW BESS in Cambridgeshire last year. Whilst these newly commissioned sites take SMS’ total operational capacity to 140 MW across three live projects, the company has also announced fully secured consent for an additional 200 MW of projects in England. This takes the group’s total BESS pipeline to 760 MW, including 150 MW that are already under construction and expected to be completed in 2023.
John Flaherty, Managing Director of grid scale energy storage at SMS, said: “Alongside decarbonisation, energy security is one of the key challenges facing the UK’s transition to a net zero economy, and battery storage is a linchpin technology on both of these critical fronts. Storing energy so it can be used later to meet demand, when and where it is most needed, is not just essential for increasing domestic generation of cheaper renewable energy, but also for enhancing the reliability and resilience of our grid as we move to a low-carbon system.
“By investing in and developing grid scale storage capacity, as SMS is doing, Britain can finally wean itself off fossil fuel imports and achieve true energy independence. Through our 760 MW pipeline of energy storage projects, to be delivered over the next five years, we are proud to be helping make energy in the UK more sustainable, secure, and affordable today, and for generations to come.”