Battery storage a winner in UK auction awards

The progress being made by battery storage technology was indicated by the awarding of contracts by the National Grid to several such projects in its capacity market auctions last week.

Battery storage plants will be given UK government subsidies to provide electricity when supplies run low in a breakthrough for a technology considered crucial to the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Centrica sign
The facilities, which absorb surplus electricity at times of excess generation and release it when needed — won contracts allocated by the UK power system operator, adding up to 500 MW capacity in total.

It is the biggest uptake of battery technology by the National Grid so far and an indicator that the economics of the technology are improving as it matures. With more and more renewables coming on to the grid, storage is seen as critical to maintaining balance of supply and demand as fossil fuels are phased.

Winning bidders included a 49 MW battery storage facility — one of the biggest of its kind in the world — to be built by Centrica, the UK energy group, at a former coal and gas-fired power station at Roosecote near Barrow in Cumbria.

Centrica also won backing for a new 370 MW combined cycle gas turbine at King’s Lynn in Norfolk. But this was one of only two large new gas plants to win contracts despite government efforts to tilt the rules of the auction in favour of such facilities.

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