Zenobē Energy has secured £147 million and started construction on its 300MW/600MWh Kilmarnock South battery energy storage system (BESS).
Zenobē Energy, an infrastructure investor and developer in BESS and electric fleet mobility assets, will use the funding arranged by retail banking company NatWest to develop the project which is anticipated to come online in late 2025.
The two-hour duration BESS will be used to reduce the cost of wasted wind generation in Scotland and therefore reduce energy prices for consumers.
In a statement, the company confirmed it will work with several suppliers to deliver the BESS site. This includes SMA Solar Technology AG, which will provide battery inverters and medium voltage power stations, with Wärtsilä appointed as the BESS supplier.
Omexom will provide a balance of plant works and GE Grid Solutions, a business of GE Vernova, will deliver two 180MVA transformers to the project.
The project has been recognised as a “key milestone” for Zenobē as it eyes a 1.2GW BESS portfolio in Scotland.
James Basden, the founder of Zenobē, stated that the Kilmarnock South BESS will “enhance the country’s position as a leader in delivering energy that is cost-effective, clean and efficient” with it regarded as an “important moment as we bolster the UK’s energy infrastructure”.
It is worth noting that Zenobē has a second large-scale BESS project in Scotland currently in development near Blackhillock. Construction started in February 2023 with the first phase (200MW/400MW) due to go live in Summer 2024 with the second phase (an additional 100MW) to go live in the second half of 2026.
Zenobē Energy tops Mercom VC top five list
In what has proved to be a successful week for the Zenobē, research group Mercom confirmed that the firm attracted the most venture capital (VC) funding of any company in the energy storage industry during 2023, as reported by our sister site Energy-Storage.news.
Having top the list in the previous year, Mercom confirmed that Zenobē raised a total of US$1.084 billion (£790 milllion) through financing from its main existing investor, Infracapital, and US$750 million (£589 million) from new investor, US private equity firm KKR.
Round off the top five were Redwood Materials, SK, Verkor and Hithium.
The battery energy storage opportunity in mitigating curtailed wind
As previously mentioned in this article, the Kilmarnock South BESS aims to reduce the amount of wind generation that is curtailed due to a lack of grid infrastructure capacity. This topic was explored recently on our sister site Current± which highlighted how wind curtailment could present an opportunity for battery energy storage.
By 2030, Scotland is aiming to have at least 11GW of offshore wind capacity and 20GW of onshore wind capacity. This could cause implications due to the transmission system between Scotland and England, specifically the B6 border, only being able to transmit a maximum of 6GW. This has often resulted in wind congestion leading to renewable generators being shut off and fossil-fuel-powered plants being activated meaning consumers get charged more.
Writing for Current± in an exclusive guest blog, Matthew Boulton, director of solar, storage and private wire at EDF Renewables UK, explained that the part energy storage is expected to have in the energy transition is often underestimated with batteries anticipated to play a “crucial role” in providing the necessary flexibility to the grid.
Instead of the need to curtail wind resources when it is windy, if sufficient battery storage is connected to the grid, this energy could be released instead of firing up gas power plants and additional wind resources could be used to charge up batteries. The result would mean a minimal impact on energy bills to consumers as opposed to the current course of action.
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