Dong Energy plugs offshore wind farm into world-first battery system

(www.telegraph.co.uk)

Offshore wind giant Dong Energy has become the first to plug an offshore wind farm into a battery system to store power to be used as needed.

The world-first hybrid system has powered up on the Merseyside coast to store electricity generated from the first phase of Dong Energy’s 90 megawatt (MW) Burbo Bank wind farm in order to help to balance the frequency of the power grid.

The new 2MW battery system helps to combat criticism that renewable power could lead to flickering light bulbs, or even blackouts, by disrupting the normal power grid frequency of around 50 hertz.

Richard Smith, National Grid’s head of networks, said the system operator plans to call on Dong Energy to release electricity into the grid to help stabilise the frequency.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the Dong Energy solution of storage connected to the offshore wind farm will provide services to help us respond to day-to-day operational challenges,” he said.

Benj Sykes, Dong Energy’s UK boss, told The Telegraph last month that battery storage technology is “a game changer” for the booming offshore wind market.

Mr Sykes was speaking ahead of the launch of the second phase of the Burbo Bank offshore wind project which uses the world’s largest operating wind turbines to produce almost 260MW of power.

“There is still a long way to go with storage but when I look at the pace of innovation in offshore wind I’m very confident that this will all come, and it’ll be faster than I think any of us can imagine,” he said.

The company’s share price bounced up almost 3pc to DKK305 on the Copenhagen exchange this morning after HSBC lifted its rating for the renewables developer ahead of an expected boom in the sector.

The bank said recent subsidy auctions which have resulted in lower than expected winning bids are likely to spark interest within countries along the Baltic coast and will deepen the commitment within other major markets.

HSBC said Dong “should be a prime beneficiary” of the market growth given its size and experience in the burgeoning sector.

A fresh report from Renewable UK has found that that the UK’s offshore wind capacity could expand to almost five times its current level by the end of the next decade.

The independent study, commissioned by the trade body WindEurope, claims that a total capacity of at least 25 gigawatts could be installed in UK waters by 2030, more than one and a half times the capacity of the UK’s existing fleet of 15 nuclear reactors.

RenewableUK’s Emma Pinchbeck, said: “The Government can help us by continuing to hold fiercely competitive auctions for financial support, as well as putting offshore wind at the heart of its upcoming Industrial Strategy. Clear, bold, modern energy policy will attract billions of pounds of investment”.