Battery Energy Storage Site: Additional Storage Facility of 5MW highlights commitment to the South Somerset Environment Strategy

| District

South Somerset District Council’s Battery Energy Storage site (BESS) that is at the cutting edge of renewable energy technology is set to be expanded to its maximum capacity by developing another 5MW with SSDC Opium Power Ltd to help produce and store more clean and renewable energy, which will provide essential support to the National Grid.

The site near Taunton was developed earlier this year and represents one of the largest battery storage facilities in the country.

At the time of being developed, the site was able to produce 25MW of power for the grid for one hour's duration, but thanks to SSDC wishing to increase its green investments and commit to its new Environment Strategy the facility will now be developed out to its maximum to be able to produce 30MW of power for the grid for one hour’s duration. This is a new and additional development to the original BESS, but at the same site.

With the South Somerset Environment Strategy being approved by Councillors only last week, the ability to deliver more renewable energy to more households across the UK shows SSDC’s commitment to delivering on its actions within the strategy and stride ahead swiftly to commence achieving its goals.

The ambitious Environment Strategy promotes the development and adoption of a sustainable environment, economy and communities within South Somerset and helps to develop a strategy that will achieve a significant reduction in SSDC’s carbon emissions.

The objective of the Environment Strategy is to help us achieve our aim of caring for and enhancing our natural environment and to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Within the strategy, four priority outcomes have been identified which help SSDC will deliver its aims. The four priority outcomes are:

  • To reduce our reliance on fossil fuels
  • To reduce emissions
  • To minimise waste and increase recycling;
  • To offset carbon emissions

Councillor Sarah Dyke, portfolio holder for Environment, said: “With the new Environment Strategy being formally approved only last week, this is a great project to demonstrate just how important the environment is to our council. It highlights our commitment of taking immediate steps to deliver on our ambitious objectives, as we move to reduce our carbon dependence for the benefit of all. This is the first of many other exciting projects yet to come.”

Councillor John Clark, portfolio holder for Income Generation, said: “Not only is this a strong project under the council’s Environment Strategy, but a sensible and viable business decision to generate further income from our assets, within our balanced investment portfolio, ensuring that this council can deliver services to our communities for the future in a sustainable manner.”

A spokesman from Opium Power added: “We are excited to be working with SSDC to expand the capacity of the Battery Energy Storage System at Fideoak Mill by a further 5 MW. The services provided by this energy storage system are vital to the Grid now and in years to come to ensure the Grid remains stable and balanced. Currently, fossil fuels contribute over 40% of the UK’s electricity supply. Over the next decade this fossil fuel energy provision is due to be replaced by renewable energy sources. The provision of energy by renewable sources is subject to large variations due to the intermittent nature of the wind and sun. Battery Energy Storage evens out the inevitable peaks and troughs of renewable energy supply and is therefore essential to enable a constant, balanced and controlled energy source for the nation.

“It is also important to note that this project will provide a significant financial return to SSDC over the next few decades. The undeniable emergence of renewable sources as the predominant provider of electricity in the near future secures this project’s commercial value in the energy marketplace.”

Thomas Jennings, Head of Optimisation at KiWi Power Ltd, said: “We’re excited to be working with SSDC Opium Power as they expand this innovative project from 25MW to 30MW. At Fideoak, KiWi Power has deployed the latest iteration of its distributed control system, which enables advanced control and optimisation capabilities. With two more coal plants due to close in March 2020 and renewable penetration increasing, prices will become more volatile, creating greater revenue opportunities for fast-acting battery energy storage assets. We will use our expertise and technology to optimise the battery in real-time and deliver maximum value and sustainability impact on behalf of our project partners.”

The council has created this BESS with Somerset-based Opium Power Limited, BYD, BSR Connect and KiWi 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 the additional phase for 5MW comes as a result of wishing to drive ahead with Environmental Strategy commitments and the approval of a viable business case for c.£2.5m from SSDC’s investment fund, to enable the BESS site to maximise its benefits and storage capacity at 30MW. This new project ensures that SSDC makes the most from its assets for both financial return and our environment. 

You can read more about the launch of the Energy Storage facility in earlier 2019 online at our website.

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