Statera has submitted planning application for Oxfordshire project.
The proposal also sets aside 16 hectares to re-establish a registered park and garden, providing a 50% biodiversity uplift. Image: Statera Energy.

Statera Energy has submitted a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council for a 500MW battery energy storage system (BESS) at Culham Campus – formerly UKAEA’s Culham Science Centre – in Oxfordshire.

If consented, Statera’s Culham BESS is scheduled to connect to the Culham substation in 2027, when National Grid will extend it as part of a wider upgrade to electrical infrastructure at Culham Campus.

The proposal would provide Culham Campus with an advanced connection to the grid, providing greater power security, resilience and stability, supporting UKAEA’s intention of making the campus a world-leading fusion facility.

The 500MW of storage capacity will require 296 shipping containers modified for batteries, 37 inverter houses, seven control rooms, shipping containers for storage and welfare facilities and a customer substation.

It will mean development of 26% of the site (seven hectares out of 26.8). The proposal also sets aside 16 hectares to re-establish a registered park and garden with new woodland and grassland habitats, providing a 50% uplift in biodiversity.

A tree belt north of the site will be restored using 170 new native trees, re-establishing parts of the Nuneham Courtenay Park and Garden.

Increased BESS capacity close to National Grid’s substations, like the one in Culham, is necessary to decarbonise the UK electricity system. Substantial growth in renewable energy generation will enable the country to reach its target of achieving net zero by 2050 and, more pressingly, decarbonise the power system by 2035.

Energy storage will have to factor into this, balancing the intermittent generation that comes with wind and solar power sources. National Grid expects batteries to make up the greatest share of storage power capacity by 2050, with battery use rising to as much as 20GW by 2030 and 35GW by 2050 – current levels are about 3GW.

Oliver Troup, development lead at Statera Energy, commented: “Aside from the national benefit short duration storage provides in a flexible grid system, Statera’s Culham BESS will support the expansion of Culham Campus, already home to 45 businesses and a leading centre for nuclear fusion.

“Finding sites that work for this type of scheme is very challenging. It’s even harder to find a site that directly benefits such a unique science and technology park.”

The state of UK battery storage

Statera is also building a 300MW battery at Tilbury Substation in Essex and maintains over a gigawatt of battery schemes in the UK. In March, the UK company secured planning consent for a 290MW/1,740MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) to be developed near the county capital, Exeter.

 In November last year, Statera was acquired by global investor EQT. Being part of a larger financial institution like EQT is likely to have securing debt packages – such as the financing for Statera’s Thurrock project –easier, as will combining the package with a long-term revenue guarantee like the capacity market.

Last year, increasing financing costs, as well as falling revenues in the UK, has seen several big BESS developer-operators change hands, including Banks Renewables, Zenobē and Gresham House.

As covered on our sister site,, the Gresham House fund manager said at the start of this month that revenues for the Gresham House Energy Storage Fund have started to recover in 2024.