Welbar Energy Storage, a joint venture of Penso Power and Luminous Energy, has obtained full planning approval for an energy storage project in the UK. Known as the Hams Hall project, it will be sited in North Warwickshire, a district within the county of Warwickshire. The news was first announced by Penso Power on May 4 and later reported by other renewable energy news outlets.
The Hams Hall project will have a transmission capacity of 350MW and an energy storage capacity of 1,750MWh. It will be able to support the grid system for more than five hours. The energy storage technology that will be adopted for the project is Li-ion battery.
Penso Power’s previous energy storage project is the 100MW Minety project in the county of Wiltshire. It comprises two 50MW battery energy storage systems and entered operation in the middle of 2021. China’s Huaneng Group and CNIC Corporation provided the funding for the project, and the main off-taker is Shell Energy. There is a plan to expand the project by another 50MW.
Other news outlets’ articles on the Hams Hall project cited a research report stating that the UK will need up to 24GW of long-duration energy storage by 2035 in order for its grid system to “decarbonize”. These articles also pointed out that the UK government announced earlier this year that it will provide almost £7 million in funding to support the development of energy storage projects across the country.
Richard Thwaites, CEO of Penso Power, told Solar Power Portal that large energy storage projects offer a scale advantage with respect to procurement costs, deployment costs, connection costs, operational efficiency, and “options for routes to the market”. His company’s model is therefore about developing large projects as they “make a lot more sense from a financial point of view”. Thwaites also told Solar Power Portal that he is “amazed” that much smaller energy storage projects with a duration of one hour are able to advance to the planning phase. Such projects are “so limiting” in terms of what they can do.
In Penso Power’s announcement about securing the planning approval for the Hams Hall project, Thwaites said this project is not only an important one in the company’s multi-gigawatt pipeline but will also play a key role in improving the resiliency of the country’s grid system.
The Hams Hall project belongs to a pipeline of projects that are being funded by BW Group under an agreement that was arranged with Penso Power in October 2021. Penso Power, Luminous Energy, and BW Group are the joint shareholders of this project. Penso Power will oversee project development and manage the project once it enters operation.
David Bryson, director at Luminous Energy, said his company has been collaborating closely with the National Grid and local groups in the site selection and planning process for the Hams Hall project. Bryson also said “the UK needs to take back control over its energy storage supply”, and energy storage systems will enable a steady flow of clean and affordable power while improving the reliability of the national grid system. Bryson also noted that energy storage projects provide economic benefits and drive local green initiatives.
Penso Power specializes in the development and operation of grid-scale battery energy storage projects. The pipeline of projects that it is developing with the financial backing of BW Group totals more than 3GWh. Luminous Energy also develops PV and energy storage projects. It operates across four continents and has brought over 1GW of projects into the market. As for BW Group, it is one of the major global maritime companies and holds interests in shipping, floating infrastructure, deep-water oil and gas production, etc. Apparently, it has now entered the renewable energy market as well.