‘Super battery’ approved for Scottish Power’s Whitelee wind farm
Plans to install a huge “super battery” on the site of the UK’s largest wind farm have been approved by the Scottish Government.
Scottish Power, which operates the Whitelee wind farm on Eaglesham Moor near Glasgow, said its planned capacity will make it largest wind farm battery in the UK.
The installation will occupy a space half the size of a football pitch, and will be able to reach a full charge from the wind farm’s 215 turbines in less than an hour.
The energy firm said the facility would support the National Grid in maintaining the resilience and stability of the electricity grid, even when the wind is not blowing.
The battery can been fully discharged or used in bursts as and when required to keep the electricity network stable by balancing supply and demand.
Last year Scottish Power became the first major UK energy company to say it would generate all its energy from wind power instead of oil and gas.
Chief executive, Keith Anderson, described the plans for the battery storage site as a “significant step”.
“We know that renewable energy generation needs to quadruple and we know that onshore wind is the cheapest form of green energy,” he said.
“By integrating storage technologies with onshore wind, we are blowing away one of the myths about renewable generation not being available when you need it.
“Natural resources like wind and solar are variable in their very nature, and by using a battery we can ensure we optimise our ability to use the resource most effectively.”
He added: “If we are to meet the bold target of net-zero by 2050 and deliver the decarbonisation of our economy, transport and heating systems, large battery storage facilities such as this along with more wind farms like Whitelee are crucial.”
South Lanarkshire Council approved the battery plans in May but Scottish ministers have now approved the proposals.
The battery facility will be constructed on vacant land within the Ardochrig substation compound which lies to the eastern edge of the existing wind farm site.
Installation work is expected to start early next year with the facility fully operational by the end of 2020.
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP said: “Onshore wind provides about 70% of renewable electricity that we generate in Scotland at the moment so it’s a really big contributor to our energy mix.
“If we can make that combination of technologies work really effectively, it helps overcome the intermittency issue that renewables have been accused of in the past and with the technologies combining together you get a huge contributor to our energy system but also one which is very efficient.
“It gives confidence in the market to other developers looking to bring projects forward and it helps to ultimately deliver lower prices to consumers.”