Swindon plans to build one of UK’s largest battery storage facilities
The battery storage scheme would provide the opportunity to deliver balancing services for National Grid, to help enable the growing proportion of renewable generation in the UK, and ensure greater flexibility for the energy system in line with the Government’s recent industrial strategy.
It will have a maximum capacity of up to 50 MW – making it one of the largest standalone batteries to be developed so far in the UK. The site, enclosed between the A3102, railway line and Mannington Retail Park, is previously developed land which was formerly used as a municipal depot.
It will connect to the grid via the nearby substation at Toothill. The batteries will be housed in containers with a 30-year lifespan for the project as a whole, and offer significant land rental value for Swindon Borough Council for a brownfield site.
Investing in innovation in electricity storage is one of the key policies identified by the government’s Clean Energy Strategy announced last month.
Connecting large batteries to the National Grid helps to smooth out the peaks and troughs which occur in power demand, and match them better with variable supply.
The batteries can be used to store energy when it is abundant, and therefore cheaper, and discharge it when demand is greater and the cost is higher.
The technology also helps reduce the need for expensive investment in upgrading the grid, also helping reduce energy costs for consumers in the long run. If planning consent is obtained, the project is expected to be operational by 2019. ■