Local energy innovation projects over the last week have been dominated by a range of new energy storage schemes. Irish state utility owner ESB acquired the 7MWh Mill Farm battery storage project in Lincolnshire, marking the first time the organisation has entered the UK storage market. ESB are not new to the UK however, owning three onshore wind farms, two CCGT gas turbines and a biomass facility. ESB said that this facility will help stabilise grid services.

Liverpool also makes entry into energy storage, with a 20MW battery storage unit, the Carnegie Road plant. Orsted acquired the project from Shaw Energi, and the new unit will be provided by NEC Energy Solutions. Orsted’s previous largest battery storage unit was 2MW, representing a significant increase in capacity for the company. This unit is also intended to balance national grid services.

Newer forms of energy storage were also investigated, with the world’s first green ammonia energy storage plant starting trials in Oxfordshire. The plant will use renewable power to create ammonia from water and nitrogen at times of low demand, which can then fuel an engine at times of higher demand. The project is overseen by Siemens, who stated that the technology had potential for a longer-range form of storage. It also allows renewable energy to moved in bulk. The project is also financed by Oxford and Cardiff universities, the Science and Technologies Facilities Council, and Innovate UK. This project follows on from the world’s first liquid air energy storage plant in Manchester earlier in the year.

Loch Ness – consultation for a 400MW storage begin this week

More traditional forms of energy storage also made news, with a 400MW pumped storage project advancing in Loch Ness. Intelligent Land Solutions, developers of the scheme, said that due to doubling of renewable energy in Scotland since 2007, large energy storage schemes were necessary to balance out generation. The plans for the project are to go out for consultation this week.

While England and Scotland continue with energy storage, Wales continues the story of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry is to face questions from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee and the Welsh Affairs Committee. In particular, the committees will question delays to the project and the government’s decision-making processes around the project. Evidence has been given by Charles Hendry (who wrote an independent review of the project), the RSPB, Tidal Lagoon Power, Aurora Energy, Natural Resources Wales and the Crown Estate. The Minister has previously questioned the cost affordability of the project.
Away from supply side infrastructure, the government awarded £8.8mn for projects reducing energy use via smart meters from businesses. The nine competition winners included Samsung and Toshiba, and many of the projects involved using smart meters to provide apps and energy management systems to more accurately control business energy demand.

Energy storage continues its path of being a quieter technology than wind and solar, but one with a large number of projects ramping up quickly. The interest in non-battery storage projects could lead to a storage mix with different technologies being able to cope with different types of storage demand, much like the renewable power mix.

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