THE world's first offshore windfarm that can store generated energy equal to the capacity of 2 million iPhones is set to be installed off the coast of Scotland.
Dubbed 'Batwind', the project will see five floating turbines positioned in waters north of Aberdeen acting as a windfarm battery system which could prove revolutionary to the industry,
Statoil, the gas and oil firm behind the innovative project, is installing the floating turbine project about 15 miles off the coast of Peterhead,
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Higher costs required to store energy have prevented feasible schemes being set up until now.
But it has been claimed that 55 out of the 420 Renewable UK group members are now investing millions in similar plans.
Stephen Bull, the senior vice-president for offshore wind at Statoil, said that including a storage option to increasing renewable supplies could give renewable firms a firmer footing to challenge conventional power stations.
"We are going into a brave new world of energy in the UK," he said. "For coal this knocks them out and potentially old nuclear as well."
And he added: "By developing innovative battery storage solutions, we can improve the value of wind energy for both Statoil and customers.
"With Batwind, we can optimise the energy system from wind park to grid. Battery storage represents a new application in our offshore wind portfolio, contributing to realising our ambition of profitable growth in this area.”
A structured programme is now being established to support and fund innovation in battery storage areas between Statoil and Scottish industry and academia.
This programme will be managed by ORE Catapult and Scottish Enterprise.
“We are very pleased to develop and demonstrate this concept in Scotland, which has a huge wind resource, strong academic institutions and an experienced supply chain," said Mr Bull.
"The agreement between Statoil, the Scottish Government, ORE Catapult and Scottish Enterprise represents a unique opportunity for government, researchers and industry to work together to develop new energy solutions for the global market.”
Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Energy Minister, said earlier that "the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding will allow the signatories to work together in the development of the Batwind battery storage solution. This will help maximise the renewable generation of the Hywind offshore wind farm, whilst informing the case for energy storage and demonstrating the technology’s ability to support renewables in Scotland and internationally.”
“A recent industry and government report, produced by the Carbon Trust, concluded that if the energy market was adapted to appropriately recognise the benefits of electricity storage to the wider system, this could lead to savings of up to £50 a year on an average energy bill and a system wide saving of up to £2.4bn a year by 2030.”
Maggie McGinlay, of Scottish Enterprise, said: “We’ve worked with Statoil for a number of years to deliver the Hywind project, so it’s fantastic to remain involved in this next stage of battery storage innovation.
"This is exactly the kind of innovation in the energy sector we’re keen to encourage and support as it may have potential to advance industry growth in Scotland.”