Sembcorp has announced plans to build Europe’s largest battery energy storage system to help the UK achieve its net zero target.
As part of Sembcorp Energy UK’s (SEUK) growing battery storage portfolio, SEUK intends to construct a 360MW battery at its site at Wilton International on Teesside.
Following COP26, the company says the development signals a major step by SEUK to further support the UK’s net zero targets, helping to ensure the resilience of the electricity network and further enable the increasing growth of renewables.
At the Wilton International site, Sembcorp has available land and connections ready to enable swift instalment of the batteries, which will be built in tranches.
SEUK currently operates 70MW of batteries, with a further 50MW already in the pipeline and due to be operational in early 2022. As one of the UK’s largest battery portfolios, the units can supply power and other services to the national grid in a matter of milliseconds, and such rapid response time is crucial to maintaining a secure and stable energy system that will aid the UK’s low-carbon transition.
The plans for both this battery portfolio expansion, and the first-of-a-kind 300MW net zero emissions plant, Whitetail Clean Energy, align SEUK’s growth with technologies that support a greener future. Should all these developments proceed, SEUK’s total energy portfolio would be expected to total over 1.6GW, with almost half a gigawatt being supplied by batteries.
Andy Koss, CEO of UK & Middle East, Sembcorp Industries, said, “Now, more than ever, flexible energy sources play an increasingly important role in maintaining secure and reliable energy supplies. With a growing reliance on renewables, the UK energy system needs to be flexible and able to respond quickly to changes. Sembcorp Energy UK is committed to accelerating the energy transition with sustainable solutions, such as batteries. Additionally, the location of 360MW of batteries at Wilton International strengthens Teesside’s green regeneration and position as a hub of low-carbon innovation in the north east."
Energy and climate change minister Greg Hands said: “As we shift to a greener electricity grid on our path to net zero, flexible energy storage will be key to ensuring we get the full benefit from our world-class renewables. This project will help put Teesside at the heart of the energy transition, bringing green growth to the region, while helping us deliver on our ambitious climate change commitments.”
Ben Houchen, Tees Valley mayor said: “This is fantastic news that further cements our region’s reputation as ground zero for net zero. This investment will add 70 cleaner, healthier and safer jobs to the thousands we are already delivering across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool as we develop the critical technologies that are needed to make the UK net zero by 2050. Since the Industrial Revolution the ingenuity of Teessiders has spearheaded the development of new technologies. With this announcement, which will see the creation of Europe’s largest battery on the Wilton site, the message is clear: if you want to pioneer low-carbon innovation then come to Teesside.”