New electric battery storage facility opens in West Lothian

Helen Mahy CBE, chairman of TRIG and Gavin McAlpine, executive chairman of RES, show Scotland's trade minister Ivan McKee, centre, around the Broxburn Energy Storage facility
Helen Mahy CBE, chairman of TRIG and Gavin McAlpine, executive chairman of RES, show Scotland's trade minister Ivan McKee, centre, around the Broxburn Energy Storage facility
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An innovative new battery storage facility has been opened in West Lothian to help balance the amount of electricity being fed into the National Grid.

The largest and fastest of its type in Scotland, the development will charge up during periods of excess generation such as windy days, then feed power into the grid when production is lower but demand is strong.

It will operate 24 hours a day, controlled from a centre in Glasgow, and is able to respond in milliseconds.

It’s estimated the scheme, the country’s first industrial-scale battery storage system, will save the National Grid around £200 million a year.

The firms behind the Broxburn project say the 20MW facility will help maximise the potential of renewable energy, which can be unreliable due to its dependency on weather conditions.

The plant will be operated by Renewable Energy Systems (RES), which built it before selling it on to the Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) last year in a deal worth £20m.

Rachel Ruffle, managing director of RES, said: “Energy storage can play a large role in supporting the transition to a secure, low-carbon, low-cost energy system.

“The use of energy storage will allow for a greater penetration of renewables and can avoid costly grid upgrades – leading to cost benefits for all consumers.

“We believe that this project will play an important role in demonstrating this and will encourage policy-makers and regulators to accelerate the removal of barriers to wider deployment of energy storage in the UK.”

Richard Crawford, director of infrastructure at InfraRed Capital Partners, investment manager for TRIG, added: “This is an exciting day for us. Broxburn is our first investment in battery storage and also one of the UK’s first utility-scale batteries.

“As the installed base of renewables generation continues to increase, energy storage infrastructure projects like Broxburn are becoming increasingly important in balancing intermittent generation and in turn delivering a better service and cost to consumers.”

Ivan McKee, Scotland’s minister for trade, investment and innovation, was on site to launch the development.

He said: “A welcome addition to Scotland’s low-carbon energy system, projects such as this one can increase system flexibility and create opportunities for the further decarbonisation of Scotland’s economy.”