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UK BESS roundup: Centrica, Pulse Clean Energy, Gore Street projects as operational capacity reaches 3GW

By George Heynes, Cameron Murray
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A roundup of battery storage news in the UK, with projects from Centrica, Pulse Clean Energy, Habitat Energy and Gore Street, as the country’s operational capacity reaches over 3GW.

The flurry of project news, alongside reports of a big fundraise by developer Field, comes as the UK’s operational capacity hits over 3GW/3.4GWh and another 2.8GW/4.9GWh under construction. The figures are the latest from Solar Media Market Research’s UK Battery Storage Project Database Report.

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The Report adds that there is now a total of 71.4GW/100.9GWh in the pipeline, including 24.4GW/40GWh with planning approval.

Centrica to build 130MWh project in Scotland

The B2B arm of large utility Centrica – Centrica Business Solutions – has confirmed it has secured the development rights for a 65MW two-hour battery energy storage system (BESS) – its largest to-date.

The 130MWh BESS, which is to be located in Abernethy, Scotland, will store renewable energy generated by offshore wind farms in the North Sea, it said last week (6 July).

According to Centrica, the BESS is scheduled to be connected to the grid in 2028 and could discharge energy up to four times a day. This could provide a key balancing mechanism for the UK grid and ensure ample renewable energy is provided throughout periods of peak demand.

The project forms part of the energy company’s ambition to deliver around 1GW of low-carbon energy assets and will join a 30MW BESS in Aberdeenshire, which is scheduled to go live in mid-2024.

“The new battery storage site is our biggest project to date, and demonstrates our long-term commitment to improving the energy independence of the UK,” said Gregory McKenna, managing director at Centrica Business Solutions.

“If the country wants to achieve a reliable, secure and decarbonised power system, then battery storage sites must be the rule rather than the exception. Storing energy at times of surplus to keep the lights on during times of peak demand will be key to delivering on these ambitious targets.

Original article on Solar Power Portal.

Pulse Clean Energy and Habitat bring 100MWh online

Developer Pulse Clean Energy and optimiser Habitat Energy have together activated four BESS projects totalling 100MWh, they announced last week (6 July).

The projects – Briton Ferry and Tir John in South Wales, Willoughby in Warwickshire and Flatworth in the North East of England – were acquired by Pulse as part of a diesel-to-battery conversion programme.

Habitat worked closely with Pulse since it acquired the projects, which are replacing diesel sites, with the optimiser advising through development and managing asset onboarding.

Jon Doughty, UK managing director of Habitat Energy added: “The UK energy system is rapidly evolving and battery storage is absolutely critical to the success of that evolution. Our combination of AI-powered analytics and expert human optimisers is fundamental to achieving market-leading results in this continuously changing market.”

Habitat last week announced it would optimise over 500MW of BESS projects for Gresham House, one of three investors with energy storage-focused listed funds in the UK, along with Harmony and Gore Street Capital. The latter also made its own announcement last week, covered below.

Gore Street to energise Stony BESS at end of July

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund, managed by Gore Street Capital, confirmed that energisation for a 79.9MW BESS in Milton Keynes is set to begin on 31 July.

In its latest portfolio and trading update, the BESS-focused fund said the energisation process of the Stony asset has been scheduled with National Grid ESO. Once completed, the site will bring the company’s total operational portfolio to 371.5MW.

Our sister site Solar Power Portal previously reported that Gore Street acquired the energy storage project from RES in 2021. The project was construction-ready, with all land rights, grid connections and planning consents having been secured, and Gore Street was expecting the total capex to be around £30 million spread over 12-15 months.

In its statement, he company warned of decreased revenues for its GB-based assets stating that the market faces increased saturation and declining prices. Portfolios which are solely dedicated to this market are now experiencing a fall in revenues, it added.

Gore Street said the financial year started well for the average revenue from 1-hour systems. Based on data provided by Modo Energy, its GB-based assets generated an average revenue of £7.62 per MW hour for the 6-month period from January to end-June 2023, compared to the UK average of £6.83 per MW/h for 1-hour systems during the same period. Two-hour systems were reported to have generated, on average, just 7.6% more per MW/h than Gore Street’s systems average during the period.

Gore Street partner Paula Travesso, speaking on Modo podcast recorded live at Energy Storage Summit 2023 in London in March and discussing the market in 2022, said that two-hour systems still don’t make enough revenues to justify the increased capital expenditure required.

See the original article on Solar Power Portal.

Developer Field raises £100 million for expansion, say reports

UK BESS developer Field, which is also entering Italy, has secured a £100 million (US$128 million) fundraising round for expansion according to Sky.

The firm, set up by the co-founder of utility Bulb, Amit Gudka, after its collapse in 2021, secured the capital from DIF Capital Partners, a Dutch infrastructure investor.

The report added the fundraising would be officially announced by Field in the coming weeks. Field declined to comment when asked by Energy-Storage.news.

The money will be used to expand the company’s rollout of BESS, with several sites already operational in the UK and Italy the next target. Italy country head Emanuele Taibi spoke to Energy-Storage.news for a deep-dive article into the most recent edition (35) of PV Tech Power.

It builds on a £77 million funding raise (equity and debt) Field secured in the middle of last year, as reported by our sister site Solar Power Portal.

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