Scottish Power
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The Scottish Government has given utility Scottish Power the go-ahead to install Europe’s biggest industrial-scale battery to date to store energy generated at the 539MW Whitelee onshore wind farm.

The 50MW capacity battery, set to be operational in 2020, will be the size of half a football pitch, and will capture power generated by the facility’s 215 turbines. It will be capable of reaching full charge in an hour, says developer Scottish Power.

That means it will be able to provide reactive and frequency response to the UK’s National Grid, enhancing flexibility and grid control.

Whitelee is capable of powering just under 300,000 homes, equivalent to all the households in Glasgow.

This is the first of 6 similar projects to be undertaken by Scottish Power at its largest renewable energy sites by the end of 2020.

Keith Anderson, Chief Executive at Scottish Power added: “This is a significant step forward in the road to base-load for renewable energy. We know that renewable energy generation needs to quadruple and we know that onshore wind is the cheapest form of green energy.

“By integrating storage technologies with onshore wind, we are blowing away one of the myths about renewable generation not being available when you need it. Natural resources like wind and solar are variable in their very nature and by using a battery we can ensure we optimise our ability to use the resource most effectively. This is another step forward by Scottish Power in investing clean, green and flexible generation to fully displace historic fossil fuel generation.”


  1. Scottish Power is run by accountants who don’t have a clue how to design and build a 100% renewable energy electricity grid, as they are demonstrating with this pathetic super-fail battery.

    The scale of energy storage capacity that is required means that batteries are the wrong technology choice for 100% renewable energy – much too expensive to build the size of capacity that is needed.

    The appropriate grid energy storage technologies are pumped storage hydroelectricity and power-to-gas making hydrogen fuel gas by electrolysis of water.

    This battery will have only a mere 50MW for at most one hour – a 50 MWh energy storage capacity, which is inadequate to delivery renewable energy on demand using Whitelee Wind Farm’s energy.

    50 to 70 times more energy storage capacity is required – 2,500 MWh to 3,500 MWh – to store of the order of one day’s average wind energy generation from the wind farm.

    It looks like Scottish Power forgot to remember that when a snake-oil battery salesman turns up trying to sell you a “biggest ever” battery which has far too small an energy storage capacity to serve your wind farm adequately then politely but firmly SHOW HIM THE DOOR!

    Scottish Power’s allegedly “super” battery has a tiny energy storage capacity of only 50 MWh which is the same as 0.05 GWh
    where 1 GWh = 1000 MWh.

    When we are discussing energy storage of pumped storage hydroelectricity schemes, we usually use GWh rather than MWh because the energy storage capacities are 1,000s of times bigger.

    Here are some energy storage capacity (in GWh) figures concerning existing and proposed pumped storage hydroelectricity schemes.

    Unless otherwise stated, the site referred to is in Scotland.
    The UK’s existing pumped hydro schemes and their capacities
    Wales Ffestiniog 1.3 GWh
    Cruachan 10 GWh
    Foyers 6.3 GWh
    Wales Dinorwig 9.1 GWh

    “Strathdearn” 6,800 GWh

    “Loch Morar” 1,300 GWh

    Australia’s “Snowy 2.0” 350GWh

    “Glasa Morie Glass” 170 GWh

    14 other possible sites in Scotland – each of a nominal capacity of 150 GWh, listed in this image
    which were identified by the ANU’s Global pumped hydro atlas
    – totalling 2,100 GWh.

    Another 14 possible sites listed years ago at this Strathclyde University link ranging in energy storage capacities from 12 GWh to 78 GWh, totalling 500+GWh

    The late David JC MacKay highlighted 13 possible sites in his book “Sustainable Energy – without the hot air”

    SSE’s “Coire Glas” 30 GWh (+ if a bigger dam is built)

    ILI’s “Red John” 2.4 GWh

    The Glenmuckloch Pumped Storage Hydro Scheme 1.7GWh

    A so-called “biggest-ever” battery – just 0.3 GWh.

    So in the context of grid energy storage, batteries are a gimmick, an exercise in pulling the wool over the eyes of regulators and politicians, not fit for purpose in building a 100% renewable energy grid and the parent company of Scottish Power – Spanish utility Iberdrola – know that very well because they use pumped storage hydroelectricity in Spain.

    There would also be a requirement to build High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) power transmission lines from the pumped storage hydroelectricity schemes in the Scottish Highlands to the south of England and all points in between.

    The longest such HVDC power transmission line in the world is the 2,385km (1,482 miles) Rio Madeira HVDC link in Brazil. So the distance of 500+ miles is no problem.

    One can reduce transmission losses by designing for as a high a voltage as is necessary to reduce the losses to the desired amount.

    Certainly, such an HVDC north-south link would be expensive as would the pumped storage hydroelectricity schemes themselves but the UK government could easily borrow from the Bank of England, which wouldn’t cost the UK taxpayer a penny, to invest in the National Grid’s energy storage facilities as an essential UK national infrastructure – so it wouldn’t have to add a penny to customer electricity bills either.

    This links to the Wind Generation Capacity Focus Table for a 539MW wind farm, like Whitelee.

    The “Wind Power” variable has been set to 539 MW. The default capacity factor for the table is 24% but that can be reset with the appropriate capacity factor for the particular wind farm, which can be estimated by dividing the actual energy generated in one year by 539 MW x 24 h/day x 365 days. Whitelee’s website assumes 27% but others say in practice it is less than that.

    For Capacity Factor 24%, the table rows recommend an energy storage capacity of between 2590 MWh and 2870 MWh.

    The table rows offer peak demand configuration rows of between 77 MW (Row A) and 539 MW (Row H) and the back-up power required for that varies from 0 MW (Row A) and 302 MW (Row H).

    So for example, the Row E configuration is

    Peak Demand Power: 200 MW
    Daily Usage of Energy: 2990 MWh
    Wind Power Capacity: 539 MW
    Capacity Factor: 24%
    Wind energy per day (average): 3100 MWh
    Storage Energy Capacity: 2870 MWh
    Back-up power: 79.8 MW

    My 100% Renewable Energy Blog
    * Wind, storage and back-up system designer
    * Double Tidal Lagoon Baseload Scheme
    * Off-Shore Electricity from Wind, Solar and Hydrogen Power
    * World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?
    * Search for sites to build new pumped-storage hydroelectricity schemes
    * Glasa Morie Glass Pumped-Storage Hydro Scheme
    * Let’s supersize × 1000 the tiny Glasa hydro scheme!
    * Modelling of wind and pumped-storage power
    * Scotland Electricity Generation – my plan for 2020
    * South America – GREAT for Renewable Energy