UK renewables players Anesco, Foresight partner again with 100MW of battery storage

By Molly Lempriere, Alice Grundy
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An Anesco-built UK battery energy storage system (BESS) project. Image: Anesco.

UK renewable energy and energy storage company Anesco is to build and maintain 100MW of battery energy storage for investors JLEN and Foresight Solar Fund Limited (FSFL).

This includes two 50MW sites, the first of which will be in Melksham, Wiltshire, adjacent to FSFL’s existing Sandridge solar park. This site was acquired by JLEN and FSFL through a 50:50 equity co-investment in May, marking Foresight’s first battery storage acquisition as it looks to diversify its portfolio.

The second site will be the West Gourdie, Dundee battery storage facility, which at just under 50MW will be one of the largest battery storage facilities in Scotland. JLEN acquired 100% of an equity stake in Gigabox South Road in March, which included the development rights to construct the West Gourdie project.

Both sites will be fully operational by autumn 2022, with all engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) set to be handled by Anesco. Additionally it will provide operations and maintenance (O&M) services for an initial four year period.

Anesco’s business development director, Sarah Webb, said they were delighted to be working on the two projects with Foresight.

“Interest in our EPC and O&M capabilities for third party assets remains high. These two sites add to our growing EPC pipeline, including 150MW of self-developed storage assets we’re set to commence construction on shortly.” 

The development of both battery storage assets builds on Anesco’s existing relationship with the Foresight Group, as it currently maintains 27 solar farms totalling more than 200MW on their behalf. This includes the 50MW Sandridge solar farm, which sits next to the upcoming battery development.

“Foresight, on behalf of its managed funds, continues to see opportunities in the UK storage market,” said Chris Tanner, partner at Foresight.

“The business case for such opportunities is supported by key fundamental drivers, largely driven by increasing levels of intermittent generation on the system. With the UK making legally binding commitments to achieve net zero by 2050, these trends are only expected to increase over the long term.”

JLEN is also looking to expand its battery storage portfolio, having raised £56.9 million through an oversubscribed share placing in May.

Anesco has now constructed more than 100 solar farms and 30 energy storage facilities, as well as providing O&M to more than 24,000 sites. In addition to these sites, in September it got given the green light from Brentwood Borough Council for the development of a 50MW battery storage asset.

Other grid-scale UK projects getting funding from major banks

Banks Santander and NatWest have financed two UK battery storage projects reported on by our sister site Solar Power Portal in the past few days.

The UK office of Australia-headquartered clean energy power producer TagEnergy has started construction on a £16 million (US$22.05 million) 20MW/40MWh battery storage facility in southwest England following Santander financing.

The Hawkers Hill Energy Park near Shaftesbury uses a system of Tesla Megapack lithium-ion batteries together with Tesla’s Autobidder AI software for real-time trading and control.

It is expected to be complete and connected to the grid by June 2022. It is the seventh battery storage facility Santander UK has supported through funding over the past two years, having provided a £6.4 million funding package.

This was partly financed by Santander UK’s Environmental and Social Growth Fund, designed to support lending that benefits the environment or society and contributes towards the UK’s sustainability agenda.

Since 2019, Santander UK has provided over £100 million of funding to the battery storage sector, including to Zenobe and Gore Street Energy Storage Fund.

Earlier this month, developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) said it has successfully closed financing for a non-contracted revenue model for its 7.5MW/15MWh Holes Bay battery project.

This closing has been completed with UK lender NatWest, which is to provide non-recourse financing for a non-contracted revenue model, making the project one of the first in the industry under this framework in the UK and worldwide.

Holes Bay – which was developed in partnership with Harmony Energy – has been in operation since June 2020, with the second site in FRV’s partnership with Harmony – the 34MW/68MWh Project Contego – also recently entering operation.

Construction has also begun on FRV and Harmony Energy’s 99MW/198MWh Clay Tye site. All three of the sites also use Tesla Megapack lithium-ion battery storage system technology.

Anesco story by Molly Lempriere, Santander and NatWest by Alice Grundy.

This story originally appeared as three separate items on our sister site Solar Power Portal.

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