Council’s ground-breaking new Energy Storage Facility set to be completed by the end of March

| District

South Somerset District Council (SSDC) is due to complete its new 25MW Energy Storage facility near Taunton at the end of March, ensuring that the Council is at the cutting edge of renewable energy technology. 

The launch of SSDC’s Commercial Strategy in 2017 invited local businesses to bring projects to senior officers that met its investment criteria, so that they could undertake due diligence and make recommendations for approval to invest. As a result of that invitation, this turnkey project was brought to SSDC by Opium Power Ltd, who were already in control of the site.

Since the Council purchased the site last May, a fast-moving programme of delivery began including preparing the site following negotiations with local and international suppliers. This includes our partners in this project - Opium Power Ltd working with National Grid, WPD (Western Power Distribution), Kiwi Power, BYD and BSR Connect amongst others.

The council has created this storage facility with Somerset-based Opium Power Limited to provide essential power management assistance to the National Grid. It will be the largest council-owned battery storage system in the UK and comes as a result of £9.8M of South Somerset District Council investment.

Henry Hobhouse, Portfolio holder for Property and Income Generation, said: “We have been looking at various green energy projects for two years before Opium Power Ltd brought SSDC a turnkey project that met our criteria. This has resulted in us investing in the latest cutting edge technology for battery energy storage. This fantastic new 25MW facility will not only help to overcome peak demand on the National Grid using green renewable technology but also generate a long term income for the council. This investment meets our corporate aims of being a green council and supporting core services into the future for our residents.”

David Owen, on behalf of Opium Power Limited, said: “We are very pleased to be working with SSDC on the roll-out of this Battery Energy Storage site; using the latest technology has been a real insight into the future potential of renewable green energy supply. We are delighted with the outcome of the project and hope that it encourages others to consider similar green approaches, which can only be of benefit to the environment. We look forward to working in partnership with SSDC as the site now moves into its operational phase.”

South Somerset District Council is the investor and co-owner of the facility, Opium Power Limited will be the project manager and co-owner, BYD Europe BV is the battery supplier and CFS Technologies and BSR Connect are the project roll out and connection contractors. Western Power Distribution will be the local distribution network operator.

It is part of the Council's new vision of creating more income generation opportunities, using our resources to make investments which provide a better return so we can inject more money into the services we deliver for our communities. Our strategy is to protect and improve core services, deliver public priorities and act in the best long-term interests of the district.

By investing in battery energy storage, the Council is taking its first exciting step into ownership and development of renewable energy which will provide essential support to the National Grid for balancing power demand and storing renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted.

The project will not only assist the Council's income generation needs and contribute towards the objectives of our commercial strategy, it also meets its Council Plan commitment to promote the use of green technology. It will additionally aid development in the region in the future by removing some of the electricity supply constraints which can be a barrier to further investment.

The Council is additionally working with the award-winning Kiwi Power Ltd to gain advice on the energy auction markets and prepare it for further bids for energy contracts into the future.

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