Battery energy storage has a critical role to play in enabling the UK’s future energy system
The UK has made significant progress towards a low carbon electricity system, with wind and solar energy now accounting for one third of electricity generation. However, where previously coal-fired power plants were turned up and down to balance the network – matching electricity supply with demand – wind and solar generation is weather dependent. This presents significant challenges for network operators.
Battery storage will provide much of this network balancing role in the UK’s transition to a renewable energy powered electricity network. With wind and solar generation fluctuating across the day, batteries will store energy when there’s more than needed to meet demand and discharge it when there’s less than needed.
Aside from network balancing, battery storage also provides other fundamental ‘healthy network’ features such as grid stability. Where in the event that a major power source, such as a wind farm, goes offline, power from batteries can be deployed instantly to re-balance the network.
Securing cleaner, lower cost energy in the short-term
Supporting the longer term transition to zero emissions transport and heat
The next 25 years will see electricity demand double as our petrol cars and gas-fired heating systems are replaced by electric versions to achieve the UK’s target of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
Battery storage will minimise the costs of this transition by reducing the number of new solar and wind projects required to meet this increased peak demand for electricity and the level of investment in strengthening the UK transmission network to transport energy from offshore wind farms to UK homes.
What is a battery energy storage system, and how do you build one?
We call our battery projects Energy Hubs as the energy they store ensures that supply and demand are constantly balanced. The basic building blocks of an Energy Hub are the same well-known Lithium-Ion batteries found in everything from cordless vacuum cleaners to electric vehicles . These individual battery cells are connected together to form larger units that are housed in individual containers.
Each one of those containers is a 3 metre cube that can power 1,500 homes for one hour. Each container is connected via an inverter – to convert the electricity from direct to alternating current – to a substation on the site, which acts as the interface between the project and the electricity distribution grid.
Almost everything is manufactured offsite to reduce construction times and disruption. The prefabricated containers housing the batteries and inverters are lifted into place on top of shallow concrete pads, and everything is connected together before final testing.
Designing Energy Hubs to ensure safety and minimise neighbourhood impact
Project sites are carefully chosen based on existing visual screening from roads, footpaths, houses and elevated viewpoints. This might be existing trees, hedgerows, other buildings, or natural features like slopes and ridges. Additional planting typically results in a minimum ten metre wide channel of shrub and tree planting around a site making it practically invisible to local residents and walkers. Noise assessments are carried out for all sites and, in built-up areas, planting may be supplemented by an acoustic fence to contain noise within the site.
All Clearstone projects must comply with the standards set out in our comprehensive Battery Safety Management Plan. These standards cover all aspects of the project – technology, site design, installation, operation and emergency response plan – to ensure that it meets the highest safety levels.
Each battery container is designed with several layers of operational monitoring and fire prevention systems to ensure safe operation across the project lifetime. These safety systems undergo hundreds of hours of rigorous testing to ensure that they work as they are designed to.
Anatomy of a battery project
Discover the key components of a battery energy storage project
Convert current from DC to AC
Increases the voltage to meet the required voltage at the local network
Worset Lane is a large scale battery energy storage project that will be built on land adjacent to National Grid’s Hartmoor 275 kV high voltage substation near Hartlepool.
Clearstone Energy has secured a grid connection at Tiverton for a battery energy storage project. We are in the process of sharing our proposal with the local community for their input.
The Warley Battery Energy Storage project is located at Upminster on the outskirts of East London. The project is on National Grid land adjacent to its 275kV Warley substation.
Clearstone Energy has secured a connection at National Grid’s Axminster Substation, located 4km to the east of Axminster, for a battery energy storage project.