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Zenobe Energy set to build Europe’s largest battery in Chester, UK

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Zenobe Energy has announced plans for Europe’s largest battery in Capenhurst, Chester, which will be the first in the world to absorb reactive power directly from a transmission network. 

Offering 100MW of energy storage, the facilities in Capenhurst will help manage voltage levels on the grid to ensure that the UK can cope with the installation of intermittent renewables. It is set to be operational in April 2022. 

James Basden, co-founder and director at Zenobe Energy, commented, “This is an incredibly exciting day for not just Zenobe, but the UK. 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.

“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. We will look to replicate this solution nationwide, working with the government and industry to stabilise the UK energy system, push energy prices down and ensure an emission-free future.”

Why large battery storage projects will become more common

As the UK works towards its pledge to be net zero by 2050, it will leverage more and more renewables to provide power to the country. The problem with renewable power is the fact that it’s intermittent, meaning there will be fluctuations on the grid where periods of generation are outstripping demand, or vice versa. In these situations, the UK will either need to provide more power to meet demand or to take away excess power, something that energy storage can help with. 

Over the next 15 years, the Capenhurst project is forecast to remove 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to 20,000 acres of mature forest (1,000,000 trees) or taking 216,044 diesel and petrol cars off the road. It was commissioned as a direct response to the National Grid’s pathfinder programme, seeking to solve the challenge of reactive energy management through the use of innovative technology.

The project is also the first of its kind to be approved under the new revised planning regime. Designed to help bring sustainable solutions onto the grid, the change allows batteries larger than 50MW to be granted planning permission locally rather than by the national approval body.

Additionally, it’s the first deployment of the £150 million investment in Zenobe from Infracapital, the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G Plc, which was announced last year as part of Zenobe’s aim to accelerate the UK’s transition to a green energy system. The battery will double Zenobe’s stationary battery capacity, maintaining the course to have 1000MW capacity by 2026.

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