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Sungrow and Constantine partner on 3-hour BESS projects in UK

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Inverter supplier Sungrow and developer Constantine Energy Storage are partnering on 825MWh of BESS projects in the UK, including two with discharge durations of nearly three hours.

Sungrow Power Supply Co will supply Constantine Energy Storage (CES) with its liquid-cooled grid-scale BESS (battery energy storage system) solution ‘Power Titan’.

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The units will go towards an 825MWh pipeline that CES is developing spread across five sites with scheduled commercial operation dates in 2024, through its subsidiary Pelagic Energy Developments. CES will then acquire them once operational.

Two of them, near the cities of Birmingham and Chester, will be 57MW/165MWh systems, with a discharge duration of 2.9 hours. Sungrow claimed this makes them the UK’s longest duration grid-scale BESS projects.

However, other grid-scale BESS projects which have longer durations but are smaller in scale look to already be online or coming online soon.

For example, an already-operational solar PV and battery storage project – CIRENCESTER SOLAR FARM – owned by a local council is widely reported to be a 10MW/51MWh system and was described in February’s Capacity Market Auctions for 2024/25, the T-1, as having a four-hour duration. Statkraft is operating the site, as reported by our sister site Solar Power Portal.

Meanwhile, construction engineering firm Hydrock secured planning approval in December 2022 for a 12MW BESS project in Cheshire, which it indicated would have a four-hour duration. Being built for developer Fig Energy, the project is expected to achieve commercial operation by the end of 2023 and pre-qualified for the 2024/25 T-1 auction.

In fact, the T-1 auction indicated other four-hour systems may be coming online in time for the 2024/25 timeframe too, awarding contracts to 7.48MW of four-hour new-build BESS projects.

Sungrow senior vice president James Wu commented: “We are delighted and very proud to announce what we think is a game-changing deal for liquid-cooled energy storage in the UK. Constantine Energy Storage is at the very forefront of enabling the energy transition on these shores, and we at Sungrow are happy to assist them in creating a better, cleaner future for everybody. We hope this agreement will be a forerunner for other important deals in the future.”

The UK battery storage market is one of the most developed in the world with around 2.4GW online as of the end of 2022 and another 1-2GW expected to come online every year throughout the decade. Some 800MWh was deployed last year according to Solar Media’s Market Research team’s UK Battery Storage Project Database Report.

Durations are increasing with many new projects opting for two-hours as the market increasingly moves to ‘merchant’ energy trading revenues, as well as capacity market contracts, and away from solely relying on grid service contracts.

The UK government is also looking to bring in policy support to foster the growth of the country’s long-duration energy storage (LDES) sector, with many large-scale projects contingent on market reform. The topic was raised at last month’s Energy Storage Summit in London.

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