UK’s Zenobē Energy gets US$285 million financing, starts 300MW BESS project in Scotland

By George Heynes

Zenobē Energy has started construction of a 300MW/600MWh battery energy storage project in Blackhillock, Scotland.

The announcement comes shortly after the UK energy storage and e-mobility specialist secured a £235 million (US$284.8 million) long-term debt facility from five banks.

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The project, which will be situated between the cities of Aberdeen and Inverness, will be the first in the world to deliver stability services using a transmission connected battery, the firm said. This is a key milestone in the company’s ambition to deliver 1GW of battery energy storage in Scotland.

Once fully operational, the battery asset will have a capacity of 300MW/600MWh. The first phase will see 200MW developed and is set to go live in the summer of 2024. The second phase will develop an additional 100MW and is scheduled to go live in 2026.

The project will enable further uptake of renewable power in the region and facilitate offshore wind farms at Viking and Beatrice. 

Wärtsilä, H&MV, SMA Solar Technology AG and GE Grid Solutions have been selected as key suppliers for the project.

The fresh debt financing comes from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Rabobank, Santander UK, Siemens Financial Services through Siemens Bank and NatWest, and the loan represents the largest project finance facility for battery storage projects to be arranged in Europe, according to Zenobe.

Along with Blackhillock, the finance will be used towards the company’s Kilmarnock South project, with a capacity of 200MW/400MWh. Like Blackhillock, Kilmarnock South could also be expanded by an additional 100MW/200MWh.

The agreement also includes a £400 million accordion facility that will be used to debt finance expansions at each site as well as future projects.

This will enable Zenobē to scale up its total battery storage portfolio in Scotland to over 1GW/2GWh by 2026.

Zenobē announced recently that its 100MW/107MWh Capenhurst battery energy storage system had started delivering reactive power services to the grid. The Capenhurst BESS, located in Chester, is the largest battery project directly connected to the transmission grid anywhere in Europe, according to Zenobē.

This story originally appeared as two separate items this week on our UK-focused PV and storage site Solar Power Portal.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 8th annual Energy Storage Summit EU in London, 22-23 February 2023. This year it is moving to a larger venue, bringing together Europe’s leading investors, policymakers, developers, utilities, energy buyers and service providers all in one place. Visit the official site for more info.

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