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Zenobē to Invest £750m in Scottish Battery Projects

Zenobē to Invest £750m in Scottish Battery Projects

British power storage firm ZenobÄ“ Energy has announced that it has begun construction on a world-first portfolio of utility-scale battery storage projects across Scotland. The three utility-scale battery storage assets will require a £750m ($886.5m) total investment which ZenobÄ“ says will help save more than £1bn in curtailed offshore wind power.  These battery storage projects will provide 1GW of storage capacity in Scotland, which could deliver a considerable boost to the UK’s drive to deliver a carbon free power system by 2035.

The three utility-scale battery storage assets span four sites at Blackhillock near Keith, Kilmarnock South, Wishaw, and Eccles, all chosen for their closeness to vital transmission networks. The latter makes up the largest facility at 400MW/800MWh, followed shortly by Blackhillock and Kilmarnock at 300MW/600MWh, and Wishaw at 50MW/100MWh.

The grid-connected projects are expected to be completed between 2024 and 2026. Construction has already begun this month at the Blackhillock site with the first 200MW phase of the facility due to go live at some point in the first half of 2024. Other plants will follow in late 2024 and early 2026.

Once all three projects are finished it is anticipated that Zenobē will become the biggest provider of battery-based transmission solutions in Europe.

ZenobÄ“ Energy was founded in 2017 and operates battery storage plants, electric vehicle fleets and infrastructure across the UK. It’s latest build out takes its total portfolio in Scotland to 1050MW/2100MWh and equates to more than the total MWh of all grid-connected batteries operating in the UK today.

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Zenobē co-founder and director James Basden said:

 “ZenobÄ“ is transforming the uptake of clean power, enabling the UK to become both more independent and greener in how it generates electricity. These projects are using the latest technological innovation to make renewable energy more reliable and affordable at a national scale. This is the future for how utility-scale battery projects will work on every grid. Our projects at Blackhillock, Kilmarnock South and Eccles are world-firsts for battery storage, addressing a key, complex hurdle to the uptake of renewables in an innovative way and pushing forward our progress to energy independence and a zero-carbon grid.”

The company says that the battery storage sites are expected to reduce carbon emissions by up to 13.4 million tonnes over their 15 years of operation. This is equivalent to taking 490,000 diesel or petrol cars, more than all cars in Glasgow and Edinburgh combined, off the road over that time frame.

The battery storage sites are contracted to provide stability services to National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) in an effort to improve the reliability of the UK’s energy system which increasingly needs to support the influx of renewables. They will operate under the first commercial contracts in the world to use transmission connected batteries to provide short-circuit level and inertia, essential for the grid to function efficiently as fossil fuel plants phase out.

ZenobÄ“ will provide 4.4GVAs of inertia, equivalent to c. 5-10% of Britain’s requirement. The batteries will also ease network constraints by importing electricity at times of peak renewable generation. These are essential services which will contribute to the lowering of consumer bills and the UK’s acceleration towards net zero. The batteries are forecast to lower consumers bills by over £1 billion by reducing the curtailment of windfarms over the same period.

Short circuit level maintains system voltage during a fault. Inertia, which is derived from the kinetic energy stored in rotating turbines, prevents sudden changes in system frequency. Inertia is typically provided by spinning components such as steam or gas turbines, which rotate at the right frequency to help balance supply and demand and can spin faster or slower if needed. These key grid services are usually delivered by fossil fuel powered plants. Renewable power sources do not provide these services, so to decarbonise successfully, it is necessary to find alternative, reliable sources of grid stability, not only in the UK but globally.

National Grid ESO networks head Julian Leslie said:

“NGESO is working hard to enable the UK to have a carbon-free power network. These contracts are part of the solution that will enable NGESO to have the ability to operate a zero-carbon system in 2025. The investment into these three major projects represents a turning point in how major grid-scale battery storage can support the grid as fossil fuel generation is phased out.”

The Wishaw facility is also the first to win a constraint management contract from NGESO and will be the first in Scotland to connect directly to the Transmission network when it goes live in 2023.

James Basden said:

“At a time of increasing energy prices and the need for greater energy security, this is the type of investment which the UK needs now to drive growth, and which will enable both the country and ZenobÄ“ to become leaders in delivering the energy transition.”

Zenobe design finance, build and operate battery solutions. Their batteries capture renewable energy, balance its supply on the grid and transport it to electric vehicles. At the end of their lifecycle, they repurpose them.


James Basden said:

“As more coal and gas power stations come off the network and we replace that power with solar and wind, it gets harder to manage the electricity power grids. It gets very hard to keep the voltage at the right level.”



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Janet Richardson

Janet is an accomplished director and writer at The Renewable Energy Hub. Janet has worked at a senior level at a number of publishing companies and is an authority on renewable energy topics. Janet is passionate about sustainable living and renewable energy solutions, dedicated to promoting eco-friendly practices and creating a vibrant community of eco-conscious individuals and businesses seeking sustainable energy solutions.

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