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Welsh battery scheme may aid the growth of green energy 22 May

Battery Storage

Nestling alongside rows of conifers and wind turbines in a Welsh valley, a pioneering project built by Swedish energy company Vattenfall will materialise this summer potentially proving a blueprint for unlocking Britain’s renewable energy potential.

The Upper Afan Valley near Swansea is currently home to the biggest wind farm in England and Wales, and this July work will begin on one of the UK’s largest battery storage schemes. The sites existing infrastructure, such as the grid connection meant it was about £5m cheaper than building it on a standalone site.

The batteries will not store the electricity generated by the Pen y Cymoedd with which they share a site, instead the batteries will offer vital services to the national grid to cope with the fluctuations that come from renewable power. “It’s that extremely rapid enhanced frequency response that renewable technologies can’t provide,” said Elsworth. “Battery technology is a good thing for the system and a good thing for bringing more renewables on.”

Energy storage is vital for increasing renewable energy penetration. Dr Robert Gross said: “Storage can aid the growth of renewables in a number of ways. First as in this case, storage offers a very fast response, which can help keep the system stable over very short timescales.” But he added batteries were unlikely to solve the “greatest long-term” challenge of storing energy across seasons, such as between summer when demand is low but solar generation is high, and winter when demand is high but solar output is low.

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