Eelpower announces £500 million,1 GW storage plan for the UK


Eelpower, an independent U.K. provider of flexible energy services, has announced ambitious plans. Having just acquired the 20 MW Rock Farm battery storage scheme from Anesco, it has said it will deploy 1 GW of storage by 2022.

The Rock Farm scheme, located in Shropshire, has been connected to the local grid and is owned and operated by Western Power Distribution. Commissioned last month, Anesco developed and constructed the project. Overall, it comprises 16 1.25 MW storage units from Chinese manufacturer, BYD.

While the financial details were not disclosed, Eelpower has said it will reap benefits through a number of different revenue streams, including Firm Frequency Response contracts from the National Grid, and wholesale trading.

By 2022, Eelpower intends to invest around £500 million in the deployment of the 1 GW of storage. The company is funded by Gravis Capital Management – in April, the two signed a debt funding agreement worth £20 million – and other, private investors.

The company deployed its first solar PV farm in 2010 and has, since then, worked on a total of seven energy storage projects, including co-locating batteries with solar in 2014, in what it says was the U.K.’s first such project and, this year, co-locating storage units at two low-head river hydro schemes in Yorkshire, which are owned and operated by its sister company, Barn Energy – also said to represent a first.

Over the past 10 months, Eelpower says it has worked together with Anesco on energy storage projects totaling 33 MW. Two further storage schemes – 10 MW near Winchester and 8 MW in Cumbria – are set to come online later this year, while the next six to eight months will see a further 80 MW constructed. Following this, 100 MW are expected to come online every three to six months.

Mark Simon, Chief Executive of Eelpower Ltd said, “With the transition to a flexible, decentralised energy system moving at pace, Eelpower is responding to the market opportunity.

“We intend to deploy significant battery capacity – 1GW by 2022, to provide National Grid and local grid companies with the flexibility that the system needs while building a platform for us to profitably trade electricity.”

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Anesco, which officially opened the U.K.’s first subsidy-free solar farm, with storage, last September, currently has 29 operational sites, comprising 76 individual battery units for a combined capacity of 87MW. It plans to exceed 380 MW by 2020.

pv magazine has contacted Eelpower for more details on its plans.

UK storage

At an event, hosted by the U.K. Solar Trade Association last November, titled “Storage: Market Access and Systems Integration”, the potential for energy storage development in the country was showcased. From the perspective of the solar industry, co-location of solar with storage was the key point.

Meanwhile, in December, a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Energy Storage stated that lessons learned from solar failures could propel the battery storage market to 12 GW by 2021. That is, if the government can devise policies and measures, which deliver greater energy security to the country.

Following this, in January, new government funding totaling £42 million ($58.5 million) was announced for the Faraday Institution, to support further battery storage research.

The monies are part of a wider £246 million Industrial Strategy intended to boost the U.K.’s battery know-how and scale-up capabilities. Four U.K.-based consortia will receive funding to support their application-inspired research aimed specifically at overcoming current challenges in acceleration of the electric vehicle (EV) industry.

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