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News from the UK Power Industry 24th June 2019

Posted by: James Turner
Industry News

£100 million fund launched to capitalise on offshore wind 

A new £100m offshore wind initiative will explore challenges for UK firms and help them “compete for contracts in a global market”, according to a UK industry chairman.

Benj Sykes, industry chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council and Orsted UK country manager, said that the £100m, ten year project would offer opportunities for new and existing companies. The initiative, through the newly-created Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP), will also launch an industry study into the offshore wind foundations market to “identify potential barriers to growth” for UK firms in the current market.

The study will focus on fixed foundations for monopile and jacket structures alongside new floating offshore wind turbines. The programme hopes to support over 650 UK companies to access the domestic offshore wind market and a global market estimated to be worth £30 billion per year by 2030.

Sykes said: “The Offshore Wind Growth Partnership will provide practical help for UK companies so they can compete successfully for contracts in this thriving global market. The UK’s global pre-eminence in offshore wind means we are uniquely placed to sell our innovative products and services worldwide.”

The project is part of the newly-launched  £250m Offshore Wind Sector Deal, from which the north-east hopes to gain up to 3,000 jobs as three of the world’s biggest wind projects begin to take shape.

Nick Sharpe, director of communications at Scottish Renewables, said the project offered “a real chance” for supply chain businesses “to invest and expand, creating skilled jobs and delivering economic growth across the country”. Full story.

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Battery storage capacity to reach 70% growth in 2019 

Up to 500MW of additional large-scale battery storage capacity could be built in the UK in 2019, increasing its capacity by more than 70% to 1.2GW.

As of June 2019, there is currently 700MW of large scale battery storage installed in the UK, with around 80MW showing as completed in the first half of 2019, although this number is likely to be higher due to a slight delay in completed projects being announced. 

The pipeline of projects currently stands at 11GW, and although it is unlikely that this will all be built, we currently see nearly 800MW of projects at the ‘under construction/ready to build’ stage, meaning that they are likely to be built within the next 12 months. 

Based on the projects that have been built already and the pipeline of projects that could be built throughout this year, we can also pick out some trends emerging in the types and sizes of projects. 

Looking ahead at how the pipeline has developed in 2019 there are clear differences in the types of projects being proposed compared to last year. We are seeing a move away from projects providing frequency services and more of a focus on energy trading, through the Balancing Mechanism and on the wholesale market. There is also a lot of interest in electric vehicle charging.

What has become clear is that the UK’s battery storage sector has been adapting to market changes. There has been a shift away from long-term contracts providing specific services, and we are seeing a shift towards more flexible projects that are able to react to the situation at a specific time, opening up opportunities in trading electricity and responding to the market. We are also starting to see a lot more co-location of technologies, including electric vehicle charging, and small-scale generation as the benefits are better understood, indicating an evolution in the use-cases and business models underpinning these projects. Full story.

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