Renewable energy solutions and innovations have been on the rise as the looming climate crisis alerts the world to pick up the pace in developing clean energy further. 2021 has been a good year for Solar power, and the “clean energy” momentum will likely sustain in 2022. Sustainable energy innovation, invention and projects have had an enabling environment the world over. Recently, Amp Energy, a Canadian renewable energy developer, successfully secured approval for developing 2 400 MW batteries for the Scottish Battery Complex located in central Scotland.
The approval will allow the storage facility to offer 800 MWh from Amp developed batteries. Once operational, the system will become the largest grid-linked storage facility in Europe. The overall process was smooth for the developers, receiving approval for planning in January 2022 from the “Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit”.
The project’s benefits
The project’s benefits will be manifold for the UK’s electricity structure. According to Amp, the batteries will store and provide clean energy from Scottish windfarms, securing the future energy profile of the country. Furthermore, the developers have claimed that the project’s benefits will be gained at a meagre cost compared to transmission system upgrades.
The UK has been focused on making a complete transition to a decarbonized grid. In addition, the UK has been committed to the growth of renewable energy in Scotland, citing the transition to clean energy as a vital need. Amp’s development will lead to a low-cost solution for consumers and an alternative to expensive transmission upgrades.
Amp’s project will also feature grid-forming inverter tech supported by synchronous condensers to aid in the stable operation of the grid. This system is more efficient than the traditional grid-following inverters; grid-forming inverters can provide the grid with virtual inertia without the support of any large spinning parts. The system does not rely on mechanical inertia, making for a more efficient method for intermittent renewable energy generation without any curtailment.
Synchronous condensers are now regarded as relatively older technology and not cost-effective. The purpose of these condensers is to support the parts of the grid that host larger portions of wind and solar electricity. However, bulky spinning machines have inherent strength problems. Therefore, beyond compensating reactive and short-circuit power, another purpose of the apparatus is to ensure stability and balance between demand-supply on the grid.
Modern batteries that operate in “virtual-synchronous” will likely replace the older “synchons”. Batteries work akin to fossil fuel plants on the grid, giving them the capacity to replace the functions of “synchons” with ease. Batteries respond to network disturbance in less than 100 milliseconds.
The venture will utilize the Scottish Battery Complex, optimize the location as an AI-powered energy platform, and act as a solution to grid limitations. The project is set to produce and transport around 1.75TWh of clean energy annually to other areas of the UK from the generation centre in Scotland.
The UK has primarily relied on wind power in the long-term goal to transition to emission-free energy infrastructure. The UK has been vocal about its wind farms in the energy strategy released in 2021. The document envisions generating 8-10GW power through onshore and around 11GW from offshore using wind power. However, the policy paper only mentioned Solar power without alluding to future projects. Despite a vague mention, national bodies like “Solar Energy Scotland” were thrilled that the government had made solar power a part of the national strategy, a small victory compared to their initial demand of including a solar power production target of 4-6 GW till the year 2030.