Emissions & Environment, Energy Storage, Europe, T&D Infrastructure

Sembcorp’s rapid response BESS system online

Sembcorp Energy UK has announced that the first 60 MW of its battery energy storage system (BESS) fleet are now in operation.

Located in Asfordby in Leicestershire, as well as Ellesmere Port and Runcorn in Cheshire, the three battery storage sites recently came online following licensing approval and successful testing, bringing Sembcorp Energy’s total operational energy portfolio to 973 MW.

These sites comprise half of a 120 MW portfolio of battery storage projects – one of the largest transacted fleets of its kind in Europe.

Developed in partnership with Fluence, the units are able to supply power in a matter of milliseconds. This rapid response will help National Grid keep the lights on and avoid situations such as the outage of 9 August 2019, when the UK suffered its largest blackout in more than a decade.

These battery storage installations join Sembcorp’s UK fleet of gas-fired plants, which provide flexible, efficient, rapid-response power to the UK energy market. A total of 40 sites are remotely monitored and controlled from the central operations facility in Solihull, where they can be called upon by National Grid at times of high demand.

Nomi Ahmad, head of Sembcorp Energy UK, said: “This is a significant milestone as we grow our business with a technology that supports a renewable future and helps deliver the UK Government’s decarbonisation plan. Our assets are positioned close to points of demand where power is most needed. Our sites will play a pivotal role in providing a more secure energy system, helping to mitigate blackout events such as were experienced by UK network operators recently.”

Stephen Coughlin, CEO of Fluence said: “With this fleet of projects, Sembcorp Energy UK is setting the pace for rapid growth in utility-scale energy storage across global markets. These first three projects – and the ones still to come – will provide the deep, split-second flexibility and reliability that are critical for the UK to achieve its ambitious decarbonisation targets. We look forward to the continued growth, innovation, and benefits for the UK that our partnership with Sembcorp will produce.”

Sam Wither, head of Sembcorp Energy UK’s flexible generation business, commented: “Battery storage complements the continued growth of renewables and takes the UK a step closer to meeting its 2050 decarbonisation ambition. Our partnership with Fluence has grown from talking about energy storage to creating one of the largest distributed portfolios globally in a relatively short space of time. The energy market is ever-changing, and we have fostered a partnership with Fluence that can deliver to the fast-evolving demands of the UK.”

The entire fleet will be completed in 2020 and will boost Sembcorp’s ability to provide the flexible distributed energy generation needed to decarbonise the UK system.

Image courtesy of Sembcorp