100MW of UK Battery Storage to be Built by Pivot Power in New Landmark Deal

Pivot Power, EDF’s storage subsidiary has teamed up with Finnish technology company Wärtsilä and struck a landmark deal to deliver 100MW of energy storage in the UK.

An order has been placed by Pivot Power for Wärtsilä to deliver 2 large-scale lithium-ion grid batteries which are 50MW of electricity storage apiece to Oxford and Kent by the end of 2020.

They are expected to be fully operational before the end of 2020. Wärtsilä has agreed to support both projects under 10-year service agreements with flexible performance guarantees.

Pivot Power, the energy storage and EV charging specialist was acquired by EDF Renewables late last year and the announcement came this week for their plan to build the first two projects in Cowley in Oxford and Kemsley in Kent.

The contract is the first to be announced since EDF Renewables acquired Pivot Power in November 2019.

The two battery storage projects will be the first to be completed as part of Pivot Power’s ambitious programme to develop, own and operate up to 2GW of grid-scale energy storage and high-volume power connections. They will be directly connected to the UK high voltage transmission system, with the aim being to support flexible and reliable EV charging arrays and increased clean energy generation.

The deal reinforces EDF’s goal to become Europe’s leading energy storage firm, targeting 10GW of new capacity by 2035.

Adrien Lebrun, Pivot Power’s engineering director said:

“At Pivot Power we are committed to enabling a clean electric future and accelerating the expansion of electric vehicles across the UK, and as part of EDF Renewables we are making this vision a reality. These Wärtsilä energy storage systems allow us to harness cutting-edge technology to future-proof our investments in a changing energy market, supporting our long-term goal to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint and bring us closer to net zero.”

The agreement with Pivot Power is the largest energy storage deal in Europe to date for Wärtsilä. Wärtsilä views the UK as a key new market for its storage technology and accompanying AI energy management software.

Andrew Tang, Wärtsilä’s vice president for energy storage and optimisation, said:

“The exciting projects will support a cost-effective, reliable and low-carbon energy system and promote the rapid adoption of clean transport in the UK. These pioneering energy storage projects highlight the capabilities of GridSolv and GEMS to provide flexible energy services in the energy market.”

Pivot Power aims to accelerate the UK moving to a lower carbon electricity and transport future by developing, funding and operating large battery storage projects connected directly to the transmission system. They plan to provide the electricity capacity for large-scale electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout the UK.

One such battery storage system was unveiled at the Arsenal football ground more than a year ago. The battery system, a 2MW/2.5MW lithium ion BSS, stores enough energy, provided by its official renewable energy partner, Octopus Energy, to run the 60,000-seater Emirates stadium from kick-off to full-time. To give you an idea of the energy involved, this would be the equivalent of powering 2,700 homes for 2 hours.

The project has been funded with investment from Downing LLP.

The BSS will allow Arsenal to avoid peak power prices by buying electricity when it is cheap and storing it for use when prices are high. Typically, energy can cost three times more at peak times than overnight.

Arsenal Managing Director, Vinai Venkatesham said:

“This is a big step forwards for us in being efficient with energy usage and it builds on our work in reducing our carbon footprint as an organisation. We have been powered by green energy since 2016 thanks to Octopus Energy, and the battery storage system will support our efforts further.”

It will also enable Arsenal to make money by using the BSS to provide a range of services that will support the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy, providing flexible capacity that will help the electricity network accommodate more renewable generation and support the growth of clean technologies like electric vehicles and heat pumps.

Arsenal can also benefit by using the battery storage system to make money by providing flexible capacity that will help the electricity network accommodate more renewable generation and support the growth of clean technologies like electric vehicles and heat pumps.

Pivot Power CEO, Matt Allen said:

“Arsenal is showing how football clubs and other big power users can save money and support the UK’s climate change and clean air targets. Batteries are central to creating a cost-effective, low-carbon economy and we are keen to help government, local authorities and businesses seize the opportunities they offer.”

Pivot Power has installed the BSS and will operate it for 15 years. The battery will generate income by providing services to National Grid to help it balance supply and demand, which will be shared between Pivot Power, Downing LLP and Arsenal.

Pivot Power is developing a nationwide network of 50MW grid-scale batteries and rapid electric vehicle charging SuperHubs, with financial backing from Downing LLP.

Pivot Point are not however alone in developing battery storage systems. The water company, United Utilities has announced plans this week to install a 2MW battery at its Clifton March water treatment facility in Lancashire which is set to work in conjunction with solar panels in order to generate and store reliable clean energy for the site.

Battery storage specialist Zenobe Energy, will be financing, installing, and operating the energy storage system, marking the firm’s first project in the UK water sector, according to Solar Power Portal.

Steve Slavin, head of renewable energy at United Utilities, said the project would help to cut bills and greenhouse gas emissions at the site.

“Energy is one of a water company’s largest operational costs. By generating our own power, we can protect United Utilities from a volatile energy market, which will allow us to predict our cost of treatment and stabilise bills for our customers. The batteries will also allow us to help National Grid even out the peaks and troughs in power demand throughout the day. This is exactly the sort of innovation water companies need to be embracing if we are to meet the sector’s goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2030.”

Energy storage is often called the “holy grail” of energy. There is no doubt that energy storage is a critical tool in increasing the spread of renewable energy, and a bridge between the needs of utilities and their customers.