UK gives green light for ‘world’s largest’ battery project

UK gives green light for ‘world’s largest’ battery project
Image courtesy Carlton Power

A multi-faceted clean tech project site, built out of an old coal power plant in the UK, will be home to what developers are calling the world’s largest battery energy storage system (BESS).

UK independent energy infrastructure development company Carlton Power has secured planning permission for the battery project, which will provide grid balancing services once complete.

The 1GW (1040MW/2080MWh) project, located at the Trafford Low Carbon Energy Park in Greater Manchester, values £750 million ($967.6 million) and was greenlit after planning permission was granted by Trafford Council, the local planning authority.

Once operational – commercially slated for the final quarter of 2025 – the Trafford facility will operate in the UK energy market, provide reserve and ancillary services to the electricity grid and be capable of capturing multiple income streams, states the company.

According to Carlton Power, the project is being developed in several blocks, providing an opportunity to invest in large-scale 250MW projects at an advanced stage of development.

The site is also strategically placed on the National Grid electricity system for the 400KV transmission network and high-pressure natural gas, as well as being close to the proposed HyNet Hydrogen networks.

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Repurposing a coal plant into a tech haven

The project is located on Trafford Low Carbon Energy Park, alongside other low carbon tech projects, in a long-time industrial area on the site of an old coal-fired power station.

Commenting on the project was Keith Clarke, the company’s founder and chief executive, who said: “Carlton Power acquired the former coal-fired power station in 2008 to redevelop the site for new energy projects.

“With the approval of the BESS, this brings the total investment value of the site to £2 billion ($2.6 billion)…The investment in the Trafford Low Carbon Energy Park over the next 2-5 years demonstrates Carlton’s long-term vision and commitment to re-energising the Trafford site.”

The Trafford BESS is Carlton Power’s second major energy on the site. The other is a 200MW Trafford Green Hydrogen scheme; the scheme’s first phase (15-20MW) is also set to enter commercial operation in Q4 2025.

Carlton Power also recently secured planning permission for one of the UK’s first hydrogen pipelines at the Trafford site.

In addition to Carlton Power’s two projects, Highview Power Storage Inc. is planning to build and operate the world’s first commercial liquid air storage system – a £250 million($322.5 million) 250MWh long duration, cryogenic energy storage system – on the site.

Councillor Tom Ross, the leader of Trafford Council and Green City-Region lead for Greater Manchester, commented: “The Trafford BESS, alongside the Trafford Green Hydrogen scheme, places Trafford and Greater Manchester at the forefront of the UK’s energy transition.

“The two schemes will help address our climate crisis – one of Trafford Council’s corporate priorities – and will support our region’s plan to reach a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2038. I applaud Carlton Power’s long-term vision in developing the Trafford Low Carbon Energy Park.”

The greenlit battery project is now subject to a final investment decision, with construction expected to begin in the first quarter of next year.

Carlton Power is also in advanced talks with companies to finance, build and operate the system.