The power company is to undertake the most ambitious battery power project in Europe, which will be a huge step in providing continuous power from wind and solar energy.
The massive battery will be the size of half a football pitch – bigger than most nuclear reactors – and will connect the Whitlee onshore windfarm from early next year. Whitlee, just south of Glasgow, is the UK’s biggest onshore windfarm and has 215 turbines.
Construction is due to start at the beginning of next year and it is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2020.
No Wind – No Problem
The 500MW battery is designed to provide a baseload or continuous supply of electricity for the UK National Grid. The Lithium-ion battery will be able to store electricity from when wind speeds are high for use when the wind drops.
The battery is able to change overnight when demand for electricity is low and then release electricity into the system when demand is high in the morning.
“Even at times of low demand, we will be able to capture far more of the wind rather than wasting that potential energy. It is a nice neat solution to help use more and more renewable power in the UK because that’s what we need to be doing to reach a net zero-carbon economy,” Keith Anderson, Scottish Power’s chief executive, told the UK media in a statement.
The battery will be able to release short bursts of power into the UK’s “clunky” energy system to help deal with second by second fluctuations that are a factor in renewable energy generation.
“They can react in milliseconds and are incredibly useful as a virtually instantaneous tool for the energy system operator,” Anderson added.
The new battery at Whitlee is currently the UK’s most ambitious project in the energy storage sector.
Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s energy minister said that it will offer some real benefits for Scotland’s energy systems and promised the Scottish government would continue to support innovation in the renewable energy sector.
The announcement comes after Scottish power sold off its last remaining fossil fuel power stations, four gas power stations in England, for £700 million to the Drax Group, in order to focus its efforts on renewable energy.
Scottish Power is the first UK energy company to commit to generating all of its energy from wind power.