'Europe's largest': Zenobe plots 'pioneering' 100MW battery project near Chester

  • Apr 08, 2021
  • Business Green

Zenobe Energy has announced plans for a "pioneering" 100MW battery storage project in north-west England, which it claims will be the largest of its kind in Europe once up and running next year.

Situated in Capenhurst near Ellesmere Port, the battery system is sheduled to be operational from April 2022, providing the Merseyside area with a reliable reactive power source while at the same time supplying active power services, the energy storage start-up announced earlier this week.

Zenobe claimed the project would be first in the world to absorb reactive power directly from the grid and could pave the way for other storage plants in the UK critical to balancing an power grid increasingly dominated by intermittent renewables such as wind and solar.

"As we move to a cleaner energy system, batteries like this one will play a vital role in stabilising the grid and ultimately enabling a greener, more sustainable, Britain," said Zenobe co-founder and director James Basden. "We will look to replicate this solution nationwide, working with government and industry to stabilise the UK energy system, push energy prices down and ensure an emission-free future."

The project is the first in England to receive planning permission since the UK's planning regime was changed to give give local authorities new powers to approve battery projects larger than 50MW.

In the wake of the rule change last December, Zenobe has doubled the capacity of the storage system it is planning in the village of Capenhurst, having originally announced last Spring that it had been contracted by National Grid to build a 50MW system.

Basden said the energy storage project was demonstrated how a favourable policy environment could drive innovation. "The Capenhurst project is a great example of the pioneering solutions businesses like ours can bring to the table when industry innovation is encouraged by up-to-date legislation," he said.

The project is being funded through an £150m funding injection Zenobe secured late last year from Infracapital, the infrastructure division of investment manager M&G, it said.

The number of battery storage projects planned in Britain has been growing rapidly over the past few years as the grid has become increasingly dependent on variable renewable energy generation as it shifts away from coal power. Figures published by RenewableUK earlier this year revealed that the UK's battery storage pipeline had grown 50 per cent in the last 14 months, with the trade body calculating there is roughly 1.6GW of battery storage in operation and a further 8.9GW under construction or consented across the country.