Equinor has approved a final investment decision (FID) on the Blandford Road battery storage project in the UK, the first of several UK developments said to be on the cards.
The scheme will be built under a strategic partnership between Equinor and Noriker Power, a flexible power developer in which the company made an equity investment last year.
In addition to its 45% equity share of the company, Equinor agreed a strategic cooperation framework with Noriker which grants it the opportunity to directly participate in projects the company develops.
It has already built over 250MW of large-scale battery and hybrid facilities, though the Blandford Road scheme is the first project from its pipeline that Equinor has matured to an investment decision.
The 25MW / 50 MWh battery storage plant will be built in Dorset, England. The project will use CATL lithium-ion battery racks and connect to SSE’s distribution network, providing capability to manage power intermittency, balance supply and demand and deliver grid services to both SSE and National Grid.
The project will start construction in January 2023 and is expected to be operational by Q3 of the same year.
Grupotec Renewable has been appointed to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), while Noriker will manage and develop the project on Equinor’s behalf.
“Equinor aims to create a profitable renewables business by integrating battery storage assets in our portfolio in selected power markets,” noted Olav Kolbeinstveit, senior vice president for power and markets within renewables at Equinor.
“During the last 10 months we invested in two leading battery storage development companies, Noriker Power in the UK, and East Point Energy in the US. Today we took the next step and sanctioned our first commercial battery storage project.”
Vice president for energy storage development, Ingrid Fossgard-Moser, said Equinor would look to sanction up to three projects in the country over the next nine months.
“A portfolio of flexible storage assets will broaden and diversify Equinor’s energy offerings in the UK and strengthen our role as a reliable supplier of energy,” she added.
Following its acquisition of East Point in the US, the Norwegian energy group said it hoped to build a portfolio of profitable battery storage assets in “selected power markets”, supported by flexible services and the trading capabilities of its wholly owned trading house, Danske Commodities.
Equinor said such projects would contribute to lifting returns from its overall renewables portfolio while also lowering portfolio risk.