Centrica to develop grid-scale solar and storage projects through new division

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UK utility Centrica has through its subsidiary, Centrica Business Solutions, developed a new team that will focus on the development of 650MW utility, grid-scale solar and 900MW energy storage projects.

The aim is to help speed up the transition to renewable energy-based, smart and reliable energy networks in the UK and across Europe.

The new division, Centrica Energy Assets, will develop, operate and maintain grid-connected solar and storage assets under efforts by the utility to provide consumers with clean and affordable electricity.

Centrica has established the subsidiary to grab opportunities within the region’s solar and energy storage markets. With the UK market for solar energy now exceeding 14GW and increasing, the demand for storage is also expected to rise and Centrica seeks to grab market opportunities through the new division.

Today, Centrica has completed 85MW of solar energy projects and wants to expand its portfolio by an additional 650MW by 2026 to prepare for future business cases and to decarbonise operations.

Centrica will also add a total of 900MW of storage capacity to support its renewable energy ambitions.

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Moreover, the storage systems will help Centrica to leverage demand response and frequency regulation services to offer consumers and energy markets flexible electricity for the stability of the UK grid network.

The projects will enable Centrica to play an important role in helping the UK to deliver a cost-effective energy transition.

Centrica Energy Assets will collaborate with landowners and farmers on projects development on their land, turning them into prosumers, and in the process generate extra revenue from energy assets installed. The storage systems will be operated in real-time using Centrica’s Flexpond demand-side platform for participation in ancillary and wholesale markets.

The utility says by so doing will help landowners and farmers to play a key role in the fight against climate change. Centrica will also use the projects to move closer to its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2045 and for consumers by 2050.

Greg McKenna, Managing Director of Centrica Business Solutions, said: “In recent weeks, we’ve seen a commitment from Government to a green grid by 2035, but to achieve this it’s vital we build out the level of storage to help manage supply and demand. This new team will invest in the technology that will help us reach that 2035 target and provide the back-up that ensures we can make best use of the renewable energy generated.”

Bill Rees, Director of Centrica Energy Assets, added: “Fighting climate change is going to take multiple partnerships, with landowners, technology companies, and a diverse, dynamic workforce with the energy and passion to deliver a net-zero future for the UK. We are creating forward-looking and sustainable jobs, simultaneously supporting the government’s economic and climate ambitions.”