Scottish Power will begin building the largest battery in the UK on its Whitelee wind farm, after the Scottish government approved the plans.
The project is designed to unlock the full potential of renewable wind energy and to provide a continuous supply of electricity from the site. The industrial-sized battery, which is reported to be half the size of a football pitch, will store the power that’s generated by the 215 wind turbines at the Whitelee site near Glasgow, the largest wind farm in the UK.
The energy supplier has said that the new battery will support the National Grid by providing a reliable supply of electricity even when the wind isn’t blowing. The battery would have more than twice the capacity of any current battery in the UK and could be fully charged in under an hour.
“Batteries will take renewable energy to the next level,” said Keith Anderson, chief executive of Scottish Power. “It is a nice, neat solution to help use more and more renewable power in the UK, because that’s what we need to be doing to reach a net zero-carbon economy. Over a period of time, we will get to use much more wind output from the project, and across the whole of the country, because even at times of low demand we will be able to capture far more of the wind rather than wasting that potential energy.”
Last year, Scottish Power said it was committed to generating all of its energy from wind power, becoming the first of the Big Six energy suppliers to supply 100% renewable energy. And the energy firm believes that the production of their ‘super battery’ will help the UK to become a global leader in the production of green energy. Work to install the battery will begin early next year, and it is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2020.
“This is a significant step forward in the road to baseload for renewable energy,” said Mr Anderson. “We know that renewable energy generation needs to quadruple and we know that onshore wind is the cheapest form of green energy.
“By integrating storage technologies with onshore wind, we are blowing away one of the myths about renewable generation not being available when you need it. Natural resources like wind and solar are variable in their very nature and by using a battery we can ensure we optimise our ability to use the resource most effectively. This is another step forward by Scottish Power in investing in clean, green and flexible generation to fully displace historic fossil fuel generation.
“If we are to meet the bold target of net-zero by 2050 and deliver the decarbonisation of our economy, transport and heating systems, large battery storage facilities such as this along with more wind farms like Whitelee are crucial.”