The Energy Storage Report 2024

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UK BESS: Retail bank in US$70 million debt financing, EDF secures permissions for 442MWh

By George Heynes

Battery storage asset owner and operator Varco Energy has secured £58 million (US$70.66 million) of debt financing facilities from bank NatWest to fund its pipeline of battery energy storage systems (BESS) in the UK.

Varco Energy approached major UK retail bank NatWest to facilitate the financing required for its Native River and Sizing John BESS projects, both of which are projected to become operational in the final quarter of 2024.

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Following an evaluation of Varco’s financial needs and projected revenue, NatWest agreed to serve as lender, offering a £50 million capex facility, an £8 million Value Added Tax (VAT) facility, and an interest rate hedging facility.

Varco Energy’s two BESS assets in the UK have reached the construction stage, with key suppliers and contractors announced. Native River, a 57MW/138MWh transmission-connected BESS located south of Liverpool for which it has signed up technology provider GE Vernova, and Sizing John, a 57MW/138MWh transmission-connected facility south of St Helens for which it has enlisted Fluence. 

These assets are within a congested segment of the UK’s high-voltage grid and will play a crucial role in providing localised balancing and stability services for the National Grid ESO. They will also enable broader load-shifting capabilities, facilitating the integration of renewable energy generation into the wider UK grid.

By John Lubbock.

To read the full version of this story, visit Solar Power Portal.

Approvals for EDF Renewables’ three-project portfolio

EDF Renewables UK has secured planning permission for three grid-scale battery energy storage systems (BESS) in recent weeks, with a total output of 221MW and energy storage capacity of 442MWh.

The three new grid-scale lithium-ion battery storage facilities will be located in the southern English counties of Kent, Norwich and Essex, and have a capacity of 50MW/100MWh, 114MW/228MWh and 57MW/114MWh, respectively.

EDF stated that planning permission had been granted for the Kent battery project in July 2023 and will support the government’s target of reaching net-zero by 2050.

The Norwich battery project, which will have the highest capacity of the three, was granted consent at the end of August 2023 with construction anticipated in early 2024. EDF’s project will consist of 176 battery cubes along with power conversion systems and cooling units. Underground cabling will connect the battery asset to the Norwich Substation.

Finally, the Essex-based battery asset is expected to begin construction in early 2024 with the aim of being operational in early 2025. The firm stated that it is actively seeking methods to improve the local environment, via a biodiversity net gain, with the proposals.

All three of these projects will be co-located with nearby solar projects.

Currently, EDF Renewables UK has two 50MW battery storage facilities operational in Kemsley and Oxford, with two more sites in the West Midlands set to be operational this autumn, and a further two sites currently in construction.

By George Heynes.

This story first appeared on Solar Power Portal.

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