The first grid scale installation of Tesla’s Powerpack battery system has been completed at a site in Somerset it was announced this week.
Energy Minister Baroness Neville Rolfe yesterday attended the official unveiling of the project, which has been developed by Camborne Energy Storage Ltd at a solar farm in the county.
The company said the system was designed to store renewable power and then deliver enough power to the network for around 500 homes when required.
The project is part of a fast emerging new trend with a recent industry report claiming there is now over 3GW of energy storage capacity operational in the UK with a further 453MW of new projects are planned or in development.
Neville-Rolfe said the government was keen to support the growth of the nascent sector. “We welcome this exciting project from Tesla and Camborne,” she said. “Innovation in storage technologies will help manage our electricity grid more efficiently, support greater energy security and, crucially, drive down consumer bills.
“Our upcoming industrial strategy will build on this work further, working with businesses to ensure the UK continues to be at the forefront of low-carbon technology, creating the conditions for future success.”
The industry has been calling on the government to provide a clearer policy landscape for energy storage projects and take steps to accelerate investment in the sector.
However, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark delivered a boost for the fledgling industry last month, delivering a speech in which he argued energy storage and smart grid technologies would play a critical role in the UK’s energy system in the future and launching a call for evidence on how smart systems should be developed.
Dan Taylor, managing director at Camborne Energy Storage Ltd, said the project provided further evidence energy storage systems were already commercially viable.
“Camborne is pleased to have developed Europe’s first Tesla grid scale installation by co-locating with a solar farm in Somerset, England,” he said. “This project is already commercially operational providing low carbon power during times of high demand. Our first co-located site is an early step in the right direction, both for Camborne and for the industry and we look forward to continuing to deliver further low carbon power to the UK.”
Advocates of energy storage are increasingly confident that demand for the technology at both a domestic and grid scale will expand rapidly as system costs continue to fall.
Tesla has placed its new Powerpack grid system and Powerwall domestic battery at the heart of its evolving business model as it seeks to provide customers with electric vehicles, energy storage, and solar arrays following recent shareholder approval for its planned acquisition of SolarCity.
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