Sembcorp Energy UK unveils plans for giant battery array to help store power from local renewables projects
Teesside could soon provide the home for Europe’s largest grid-scale battery array, after developer Sembcorp Energy UK yesterday unveiled plans for a giant 360MW energy storage system.
The proposed project at the Wilton International site on Teesside would sit alongside the planned 300MW Whitetail Clean Energy gas carbon capture and storage (CCS) power plant, which forms part of the region’s ambitious proposals to deliver one of the world’s first net zero emission industrial hubs.
Sembcorp Energy UK (SEUK) said the Wilton International site has available land and connections ready that would enable the swift instalment of the batteries.
If approved, the project would mark a significant expansion of SEUK’s energy storage portfolio, with the company already operating 70MW of batteries and boasting a further 50MW in the pipeline that is due to be operational in early 2022.
The company said that if all its planned developments proceed, including the Whitetail Clean Energy project, then it will take its total energy portfolio to over 1.6GW, with almost half a gigawatt being supplied by batteries that can deliver power and other services to the national grid in a matter of milliseconds.
“Now, more than ever, flexible energy sources play an increasingly important role in maintaining secure and reliable energy supplies,” said Andy Koss, CEO for the UK and Middle East at Sembcorp Industries. “With a growing reliance on renewables, the UK energy system needs to be flexible and able to respond quickly to changes. Sembcorp Energy UK is committed to accelerating the energy transition with sustainable solutions, such as batteries. Additionally, the location of 360MW of batteries at Wilton International strengthens Teesside’s green regeneration and position as a hub of low-carbon innovation in the North East.”
The new plans were welcomed by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who said the project should “further cement our region’s reputation as ground zero for net zero”.
“This investment will add 70 cleaner, healthier and safer jobs to the thousands we are already delivering across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool as we develop the critical technologies that are needed to make the UK net zero by 2050,” he added. “Since the Industrial Revolution the ingenuity of Teessiders has spearheaded the development of new technologies. With this announcement, which will see the creation of Europe’s largest battery on the Wilton site, the message is clear: if you want to pioneer low-carbon innovation then come to Teesside.”