Activation of Pivot Power’s 50 MW Wärtsilä energy storage system to unlock more renewable energy for the UK


Wärtsilä has supplied an energy storage system at the Kemsley substation in South England which is directly connected to National Grid’s high-voltage transmission network. The system is the second to go live as part of Pivot Power’s nationwide rollout of Energy Superhubs, following the first activation in June in Cowley. In total, Pivot Power plans to deploy up to 40 similar sites throughout the UK, which will provide up to 2 GW of flexible capacity.

The UK aims to align its energy sector with its net-zero target, and energy storage capacity will need to dramatically grow to 18 GW by 2035 to support this transition, according to recent power system modelling from Wärtsilä[1]. Energy storage is crucial to provide the flexibility needed to enhance the reliability of the country’s electricity system and cost-effectively integrate more renewable generation. Pivot Power’s Energy Superhub network could provide almost 10% of the energy storage predicted the UK will need by 2035 and it will help to create a smarter, more flexible grid.

Wärtsilä has supplied its advanced energy storage technology for the Kemsley project coupled with its GEMS Digital Energy Platform, which leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning for a broad range of applications, providing critical feedback to stakeholders. GEMS software supports value streams via the dynamic containment market, a key frequency response service recently enabled by the National Grid.

Wärtsilä and Pivot Power have recently announced a deal for 100 MW / 200 MWh of energy storage in the West Midlands, split across one site in Coventry and the other in Sandwell, near Birmingham. Installing and effectively operating energy storage systems at scale will enable the UK grid to maximise its potential for wind and solar energy, and to reach its target of a net-zero power sector by 2035.

Matt Allen, CEO of Pivot Power, said: “The expansion of our battery storage portfolio is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to future-proofing the UK’s energy system and accelerating a net zero future. Through this collaboration with Wärtsilä and EDF Renewables we are creating more of the low carbon infrastructure needed to manage the integration of renewables into the grid and power our lives with clean energy.”

Andy Tang, Vice President, Energy Storage & Optimisation, Wärtsilä, said: “Wärtsilä’s goal is to enable 100% renewable energy systems globally. To make this a reality, more energy flexibility is vital for balancing out the intermittent nature of this form of generation and ensuring a resilient energy system. Energy storage underpins flexibility solutions, enabling the UK to develop an affordable renewable-led power system. By collaborating with Pivot Power, we are driving the change that the UK’s energy infrastructure needs.”

The UK market has huge potential to support the installation of a significant amount of energy storage. Research from Wärtsilä’s Energy Transition Lab[2] found that adding flexibility to the UK power system via energy storage can deliver a higher share of renewable generation (62%) than could be possible by adding wind and solar without flexibility, with corresponding utilisation of storage also increasing.