Tucked away in rural Wiltshire, on the edge of a farm field, sits an array of shipping-container sized units. Divided into three adjacent facilities, each of the forty or so containers hold an arrangement of lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries and associated electrical equipment.
Welcome to Minety, an unassuming village of just over 1,400 inhabitants, known for its successful rugby club. Today, the rural parish is home to Europe’s largest battery storage project.
Energy Penso Power commenced building its initial 100MW battery storage project in December 2019, backed by Chinese investment from CNIC Corporation with construction and operations provided by state-owned electricity provider China Huaneng Group.
Other key players in the huge battery storage scheme include G2 Energy, providers of transmission infrastructure and substation, Sungrow, providing lithium-ion battery storage systems from Samsung and Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), Eclipse Power Networks, providing grid connection, and Limejump, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, optimising the use of the LiFePO4 batteries.
Then in February 2020 Penso Power announced a 50MW expansion to the enormous battery storage project, taking the initial 100MW battery storage to 150MW.
When fully charged, the Minety battery storage facility can provide 150-266MWh of electricity, enough to power around 15,000 homes for a day. The facility stores excess electricity generated by renewable sources, and then supplies that power back to the grid when required. This can be in times of low light for solar energy farms and low wind speed for wind farms.
As well as balancing UK electricity demand and supply, the Minety battery storage project will contribute toward the nation’s net zero ambitions. The UK’s net zero target by 2050 is one of the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction plans in the world plus it was signed into legislation back in 2019.
Speaking about the project, Penso Power’s CEO, Richard Thwaites said of the ambitious project:
“Minety is a landmark project for UK battery storage. Its sheer size marks it as the most significant battery storage development in Europe so far, dwarfing other battery developments in scale and ambition. It shows that storage will play a more substantial role in the UK energy market as we continue our path towards Net Zero.”
Continuing, Thwaites added:
“Energy storage facilitates a greener electricity system helping balance the intermittency of renewable generation. Our focus on large projects means that we achieve scale benefits on both procurement and deployment costs, while the offtake structure helps us provide superior risk-adjusted returns to our investors.”
Each battery unit in the Minety grid energy storage project, contains multiple inverters for discharging AC current to the grid. Stored electricity from the battery units is evacuated into both the National Grid and the Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) electricity transmission networks.
Caltest Instruments are specialists in power and instrumentation with expertise in the alternative energy sector.