Fresh delays for major battery storage project in Northumberland

A 30MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) has been dealt a further setback by Northern Powergrid (NPG) in being able to connect to the grid. The site at West Sleekburn received planning in October 2022 but subsequently had its planned connection date delayed until October 2036.

As part of the grid reforms currently being carried out by the transmission and distribution network operators, NPG had previously highlighted the Blyth grid supply point as an area where accelerated connections may be possible under their Delegated Technical Limits programme.

However, despite hoping to confirm an earlier connection date before Christmas, NPG recently delivered a fresh blow to the project outlining that Blyth had been removed from the programme of accelerated connections due to technical reasons, with no fixed timeline for when it will be reconsidered.

Chris Marsh, Chief Executive Officer at Enviromena, said: “We are extremely disappointed with the latest delay, which has left a key project without a feasible connection date despite being ready to construct.

“The North East is enjoying a renaissance for clean energy as it emerges as a key hub for renewables. The actions of NPG go directly against the Government’s wider agenda to move away from fossil fuels and achieve carbon net zero goals by 2050 and it is stifling investment in the area. The delay represents a major setback.”

He added: “We submitted details to Northern Powergrid demonstrating our West Sleekburn project was ready for an earlier connection with both planning and land rights in place. The site is ready to provide much-needed storage facilities for cleaner energy and I would urge Northern Powergrid to re-focus their efforts on resolving the issues at Blyth and kickstarting accelerated connections in the area.

“We have seen other network operators across the country accelerate connection dates by as much as thirteen years in recent weeks and we hope a similar resolution can be found for the Sleekburn project.”.

The National Grid estimates the UK will need over 25GW of battery storage, up from 1GW it is today, to manage renewable intermittency and improve the resilience of the electricity system.

Enviromena is committed to leading the transition to a world powered by clean energy by providing safe, affordable, and reliable clean energy solutions to customers across the UK and Europe.