South Somerset District Council invests in grid-scale battery storage

South Somerset District Council has announced plans to build a  25MW battery storage facility with a one-hour discharge period. The aim is for it to be operational by the end of 2018. The council said this was, “Only phase one of the project. There may be a further phase to follow which could increase the capacity of the facility.”South Somerset District Council is the investor and co-owner of the facility, Somerset-based Opium Power  will be the project manager and co-owner, working with MSF Technologiesand Kiwi Power. BYD Europe BV will be the battery supplier and BSR Connect is the project roll out connection contractor. The local distribution network operator is Western Power Distribution.

The council said, “This investment was carried out within the approved governance of our commercial strategy. The minimum return on investment after repaying the loan and interest is 7.5%. We anticipate an internal rate of return of c14% on the same basis based upon current cashflow forecasts for the battery energy storage facility.” The site is just 75m from a major grid substation, reducing costs, and it came with a an approved grid connection and all the necessary consents, the council said.

The council added that the project, “is part of the council’s new vision of creating more income generation opportunities, using our resources to make investments which provide a better return so we can inject more money into the services we deliver for our communities.

“By investing in battery energy storage, the Council is taking its first exciting step into ownership and development of renewable energy which will provide essential support to the National Grid for balancing power demand and storing renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted.”

Council leader Ric Pallister said: “This project is just what we want our commercial strategy to deliver. Our team has worked incredibly hard to secure an exciting investment which will not only help the environment, but also provide invaluable revenue to help protect and strengthen vital services for our communities.”

Jason Dobson of Opium Power  said: “Opium Power is very excited to be working in partnership with South Somerset District Council to assist in protecting the local area against power issues and also providing additional revenues that will help protect local services in the community.”