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Swindon plans to build one of UK’s largest battery storage facilities

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The site of the proposed battery storage facilityThe site of the proposed battery storage facilityA planning application to build one of the UK’s largest battery-based electricity storage facilities at the former Mannington Depot has been submitted by Swindon-based renewable energy firm Public Power Solutions.

The battery storage scheme would provide the opportunity to deliver balancing services for National Grid, to help enable the growing proportion of renewable generation in the UK, and ensure greater flexibility for the energy system in line with the Government’s recent industrial strategy.

It will have a maximum capacity of up to 50 MW – making it one of the largest standalone batteries to be developed so far in the UK.

The site, enclosed between the A3102, railway line and Mannington Retail Park, is previously developed land which was formerly used as a municipal depot. It will connect to the grid via the nearby substation at Toothill.

The batteries will be housed in containers with a 30-year lifespan for the project as a whole, and offer significant land rental value for Swindon Borough Council for a brownfield site.

Steve Cains, head of Power Solutions said: “We’re really excited that Swindon continues to lead the way with implementing innovative green energy technologies.

"Rapid technological advances have now made energy storage a viable proposition. This has the potential to be a real game changer, helping to integrate the variable generation from renewables, reduce costs for consumers, and build a clean energy system fit for the future.

"The site at Mannington is perfect for a facility like this, and we’d like to help other local authorities develop similar projects.”

Cllr Toby Elliott, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for sustainability, said: “I am really excited by this battery storage project, which builds on the success of our award-winning community solar farm schemes and shows that Swindon is once again blazing the trail in the clean energy field.

"It also shows how our inventive use of technology can generate an income for the Council at a time when we are having to close a £30m funding gap over the next two and a half years.”

Investing in innovation in electricity storage is one of the key policies identified by the government’s Clean Energy Strategy announced last month.

Connecting large batteries to the National Grid helps to smooth out the peaks and troughs which occur in power demand, and match them better with variable supply.

The batteries can be used to store energy when it is abundant, and therefore cheaper, and discharge it when demand is greater and the cost is higher.

The technology also helps reduce the need for expensive investment in upgrading the grid, also helping reduce energy costs for consumers in the long run.

If planning consent is obtained, the project is expected to be operational by 2019.

The planning application can be viewed on Swindon Borough council’s planning portal at http://pa1.swindon.gov.uk quoting reference number S/17/1879