£147 million deal will double Scottish energy storage capacity

The facility at Blackhillock: how it will look.

Construction has commenced on a new energy storage facility in Scotland, part of a drive to maximise the efficacy of renewables and reduce the cost of wasted wind to consumers.

The facility, Kilmarnock South, is the third major investment of a large programme of battery storage assets provided by Zenobē, a specialist in fleet electrification and battery storage.

“The portfolio of assets will enable the country to become a world leader in renewables, ensuring its abundant wind generation does not go to waste,” said the group. It is expected to be operational by late 2025.

“The Kilmarnock South project by Zenobē represents a major step forward in battery storage innovation and will deliver significant benefits to households. As a critical component of Zenobē’s 1.2GW Scottish storage portfolio, the project is anticipated to contribute to a saving of up to £1 billion in energy costs for families over the next 15 years, thanks to its focus on reducing energy system inefficiencies.”

“Equally, the site is expected to prevent 3,400,000 tonnes of CO2 over the same period. The project aligns with Scotland’s ambitious renewable energy objectives and equips the country with the most advanced technology to manage renewable power globally.”

Funding for the project was arranged by NatWest and supported by an international consortium of investors, underlining the growing market demand for grid-scale battery storage asset development.

The announcement follows last November’s launch of Zenobē’s 50MW grid-connected battery in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire. The battery, said to be strategically placed to harness Scotland’s abundant wind generation from offshore wind farms, was the first of Zenobē’s portfolio of projects in Scotland to go live and the first to connect directly onto the Scottish transmission network. It is estimated to power 130,000 homes in Scotland for two hours, using electricity that would have otherwise gone to waste due to lack of capacity to store surplus wind power.

Zenobē said it has selected several market leading suppliers that are developing key technologies to deliver large-scale battery storage facilities.

SMA Solar Technology AG will provide battery inverters and medium voltage power stations with Wärtsilä appointed as the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) supplier. Omexom will provide Balance of Plant works and GE Grid Solutions, a Business of GE Vernova will deliver two 180MVA transformers, manufactured in Stafford, to the project.

James Basden, Founder, Zenobē, commented: “Reaching this significant milestone demonstrates Zenobē’s commitment to stopping the waste of wind power by doubling Scotland’s battery storage capacity. Kilmarnock South will enhance the country’s position as a leader in delivering energy that is cost-effective, clean and efficient. This is an important moment as we bolster the UK’s energy infrastructure and help to ensure that every household feels the benefits of sustainable, affordable electricity”.

Aaron Gerdemann, Senior Business Development Manager, SMA Solar Technology AG, said: “The close collaboration during design phase produced a unique, technologically advanced and economically viable stability solution for the interconnection to UK’s transmission system.”

Andy Tang, Vice President, Wärtsilä Energy Storage & Optimisation, said: “The new site will utilise Wärtsilä’s latest energy storage technology, called Quantum High Energy, which provides increased energy density for Zenobē and is fitted with state-of-the-art features to ensure the highest level of safety for the surrounding community.”

A statement from Zenobē said the firm had received a substantial infusion of capital including c. £600 million from KKR and c.£270 million from Infracapital, and so “is ready to grow its battery storage and EV fleet businesses in the UK and other markets including Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and beyond”.