BY BEN COOK
- Pacific Green plans to connect 1.1GW of energy storage in UK by 2024
- Australian and US markets will have huge potential in coming years
- Batteries should be used to maximise revenue via trading
Pacific Green will play a huge role in rolling out storage in the UK in the coming years.
The company has made a splash by signing an agreement to develop up to 1.1GW of battery energy storage systems in the UK, which will be sourced by TUPA Energy.
With the first 100MW project set to go live in Kent, Energy Storage Report spoke exclusively to Gareth Dauley, executive vice president at Pacific Green Technologies Inc, to get the lowdown on the UK market, the outlook for international markets, and the opportunities for energy storage trading.
Gareth, tell us more about the deal with TUPA Energy…
GD: The first 100MW in Kent will connect first. The rest of the projects will be a similar size if not bigger and they’re dotted around the country. The Kent one will be the flagship and the first one to market but we’ll also have projects in the Midlands, Scotland and northern England, for example.
It’s about when the grid will allow us to connect – some of our sites won’t be connected until 2024. We want to get a project to connection every three to six months. The Kent project will connect in Q1 2022 and, once we do the first project, the rest will become easier.
We are a battery supplier and the whole process for us is origination: that is, finding a connection in a grid and finding land close to that connection so we can connect our energy storage system. The planning and approval process can take three to nine months. We’re looking at around nine projects: the smallest one we’ll be doing is 50MW, and the largest will be in the 100MW to 250MW range.
What’s the appeal of the UK market?
GD: We’re a global company, but we’re looking at the UK and Ireland, as well as central and southern Europe, Australia and the US, Central America and also the Caribbean and South America. We’ve secured a supply of five GWh of batteries for this year, and 16 to 20 GWh of batteries for next year.
Why the UK is very appealing is it’s one of the most advanced markets in the world and it is a pioneer in developing the best system flexibility. That’s helped us with co-locating projects, so wind-plus-battery, solar-plus-battery, or battery standalone. The UK market is advanced, the policy is right and we’ve seen that it can be lucrative. It’s also pioneering and the approach can be repeated around the world. It has given us the opportunity to commoditise flexibility.
Is the UK your biggest market?
GD: At the moment, yes. In the UK, the government has said that, depending on what reports you read, 19 to 30 GWh of battery storage is needed on the system within the next five to ten years. However, Australia is creeping up on us very quickly and the US, in terms of the size of the market, is going to be the biggest energy storage market outside of China.
What sectors are you targeting?
GD: In terms of targeting specific industries, we’re looking at the grid-scale developers, because they’re the companies that know what they want. They want to buy a battery to deliver for their portfolio.
The second one is solar and wind funds and companies because there is a massive need for co-location in order to use their existing infrastructure to maximise the yield on their current assets and – in a subsidy-free world – the user cases start to make more and more sense. And the rest is co-generation or generational assets.
And what potential do batteries offer for energy trading?
GD: People tend to use the battery once or twice a day. So why lock yourself in for ten years doing one to two cycles as day when there’s a new market that requires you to do four or five cycles a day? Why don’t you do that as well? So we pitched our batteries in this way, we’re flexible to meet the needs of the market, we understand the future scenarios and we future proof our batteries to make sure that you can maximise your revenue from not only some trading, but from any opportunities that arise.