Britain’s switch to greener energy will take another significant step forward this week with the opening of an industrial-scale battery site in Sheffield.
E.ON said the facility, which is next to an existing power plant and has the equivalent capacity of half a million phone batteries, marked a milestone in its efforts to develop storage for electricity from windfarms, nuclear reactors and gas power stations.
The plant, housed in four shipping containers, is the type of project hailed by the business secretary, Greg Clark, as crucial to transforming the UK’s energy system and making it greener.
David Topping, the director of business, heat and power solutions at E.ON, said:
“This is a milestone for E.ON in the new energy world and an important recognition of the enormous potential for battery solutions in the UK.”
The utility-scale batteries are being built in response to a request from National Grid, the owner of Britain’s power transmission network, for contracts to help it keep electricity supply and demand in balance, which is posing an increasing challenge for the grid as more intermittent wind and solar comes online.
The new generation of batteries will also earn their owners money by helping with the government subsidy scheme for providing backup power during winter, known as the capacity market. The storage plants will also be able to take power off the system when supply is unexpectedly high, such as on a particularly windy or sunny day.