A BATTERY the size of four 40 foot long shipping containers has been delivered at a state-of-the-art biomass plant on Rotherham’s doorstep amid hopes it could save £50 million a year.
The ten megawatt lithium-ion battery - which has the same power as 500,000 mobile phone batteries - is part of an energy storage project at E.ON’s Blackburn Meadows facility on the site where the Tinsley Towers once stood.
The £5 million project has taken a year to complete and is the first in the country to go into action.
The battery itself consists of 1,000 South Korean-made power cells which store electricity generated at the Alsing Road plant.
It can store power when grid demand goes down and then immediately release it back to the system - within a second - when needed.
The 20-hectare plant - which employs just 25 people - produces enough power for 40,000 homes from burning 25 tonnes of woodchip per hour in its 1,000-degree furnace.
Plant manager Luke Ellis said he was pleased that the battery was now in use as it ensured the plant’s supply of electricity.
The plant at Tinsley, which won a national award for architecture in July, scooped one of 12 contracts nationally to build a battery and came into use less than a year after getting the go-ahead last October.
Mr Ellis said: “This is the first project of its type to be brought online.
“We are proud of it and our team has worked hard to achieve it.”
David Topping, director of business heat and power solutions at E.ON, welcomed the new system at Blackburn Meadows.
He said: “This is a milestone for E.ON in the new energy world and an important recognition of the enormous potential for battery solutions in the UK.
“The success of this project, three months ahead of plan, is tribute to the excellent work done by colleagues across E.ON as well as our contractors.”
Leon Walker, commercial development manager at National Grid, said: “Using battery storage is a significant development for managing the national grid.
“It’s an ultra-fast way of keeping electricity supply and demand balanced.
“Over four years we estimate that this service will save the system operator around £200 million.
“This is good news for consumers who benefit from our cost efficiencies, and paves the way for battery technology to establish itself as an important component of our energy system.”