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Scotland adds first utility-scale battery

Helen Mahy CBE, chairman of TRIG and Gavin McAlpine, Chairman of RES, show Scotland’s Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, Ivan McKee, centre, around the Broxburn Energy Storage facility

The Broxburn Energy Storage facility has a capacity of 20 MW

The modernisation of Scotland’s energy network has taken a giant leap forward with the official opening of the country’s first utility-scale battery facility – a crucial element to maximise the use of renewables.

Seen as a key enabler in the transition towards a cleaner energy future, the commissioning of the 20-MW battery storage facility in West Lothian represents a milestone in helping Scotland meet its decarbonisation goals.

Built and managed by RES and owned by The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG), the Broxburn Energy Storage facility provides services to National Grid. It charges when there is excess capacity on the grid. This energy will be saved for periods of peak demand, helping balance the National Grid network.

These types of enhanced frequency response projects are anticipated to save the National Grid GBP200 million, which in turn means lower costs to the end consumer.

Scottish Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee toured the Broxburn Energy Storage project. He said: “I am very pleased to have the chance to open the Broxburn Energy Storage project today, which is Scotland’s first sub-second response energy storage project. A welcome addition to Scotland’s low carbon energy system, projects such as this one can increase system flexibility and create opportunities for the further decarbonisation of Scotland’s economy.”

As well as being the largest battery storage facility in Scotland, it is also the fastest – being able to respond in times of national need in mere milliseconds.

RES managing director Rachel Ruffle said: “Energy storage can play a large role in supporting the transition to a secure, low carbon, low cost energy system. The use of energy storage will allow for a greater penetration of renewables and can avoid costly grid upgrades – leading to cost benefits for all consumers.

“We believe that this project will play an important role in demonstrating this and will encourage policy makers and regulators to accelerate the removal of barriers to wider deployment of energy storage in the UK.”

Richard Crawford, director of infrastructure at InfraRed Capital Partners, investment manager for TRIG, said: “This is an exciting day for us. Broxburn is our first investment in battery storage and also one of the UK’s first utility scale batteries. As the installed base of renewables generation continues to increase, energy storage infrastructure projects like Broxburn are becoming increasingly important in balancing intermittent generation and in turn delivering a better service and cost to consumers.”

Livingston based NRS Group were the main civils contractor during the GBP1.5 million construction phase. The facility is managed 24-hours a day using RES’ RESolve operating system from the company’s Control Centre in Glasgow.

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