Equinor’s first commercial battery storage asset begins operations
The Blandford Road battery storage asset in the UK has come into operation. The operational phase marks an important milestone in Equinor’s ambition of delivering flexible power solutions in the country.
The 25 MW/ 50 MWh Blandford Road battery storage asset is fully owned by Equinor. It was developed and will be operated by the British battery storage company Noriker Power in which Equinor owns a 45% equity share.
The asset is located in Dorset and is connected to theSouthern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) network. Comprising around 150 lithium-ion battery units, Blandford Road can store enough electricity to power 75,000 UK homes for two hours.
“This is a significant milestone for our ambition to deliver flexible power and maintain security of supply in the UK. A strong battery storage portfolio will further strengthen our position as a leading broad energy partner to the UK, building on our 40-year presence which includes being a stable supplier of oil and gas, developing the UK’s offshore wind industry, and pioneering solutions to decarbonise the UK economy,” says Alex Grant, UK Country Manager at Equinor.
The British Energy Security Strategy sets out an ambition for 95% of the UK’s electricity to be low carbon by 2030, and battery storage systems can play an important role in this transition. They can store excess power generated from wind and solar and release it when the electricity grid needs the power most, improving security of supply and helping protect the electricity system from power price extremes.
“Equinor envisages a renewables portfolio that combines generation assets such as wind and solar with flexible assets such as batteries to help mitigate the intermittency of the renewable power generation. In the UK, we have our largest offshore wind power position as a company with several offshore wind farms in operation and under development. In parallel, we are building our battery storage capacity, with our first asset Blandford Road in operation and our second asset Welkin Mill under construction,” says Olav Kolbeinstveit, senior vice president for onshore and markets within Renewables at Equinor.
The Welkin Mill battery storage project is developed by Noriker Power in the Greater Manchester area in England. The new asset will have a capacity of 35 MW/70 MWh and can store enough electricity to power over 100,000 UK homes for two hours. It will connect to the distribution network operated by Electricity North West (ENWL). Welkin Mill is expected to be operational in 2024.
Equinor’s energy trading house Danske Commodities will provide market access, balancing and optimization services for the Blandford Road asset, building upon their 15 years of experience from the UK power markets.
“We have developed a distinct business model that integrates Equinor’s industrial perspective and financial capacity, Noriker’s local capabilities and know-how, and Danske Commodities’ power trading expertise. This business model allows us to quickly scale our battery storage portfolio in the UK and enhance value creation from power markets”, says Kolbeinstveit.