A battery storage project developed by Pacific Green, and owned by the Sosteneo Energy Transition Fund, a fund managed by Milan based investment manager Sosteneo Infrastructure Partners, is now connected and energised on the electricity transmission network following work by National Grid to plug the facility into its 400kV Richborough substation in Kent.

Richborough Energy Park’s 100MW/100MWh battery will boost the capacity and flexibility of the network, helping balance the system by soaking up surplus clean electricity and discharging it back when the grid needs it – with a capability to power 250,000 homes for an hour.

The battery will also provide grid stability services, for example helping to manage voltage and frequency imbalances as renewable generation dips up and down. The facility is managed by Pacific Green under a long term asset management agreement and was Sosteneo’s first acquisition in the UK.

To ensure a safe connection, National Grid upgraded its Richborough substation to accommodate new switchgear and installed new protection and control systems on its supergrid transformer, plugging in the project via a tertiary connection – a complex but cost-effective connection type.

Richborough substation already hosts the connection for National Grid’s own 1GW Nemo Link interconnector with Belgium, while Thanet Offshore Wind Farm – the world’s biggest at the time of its launch – also connects into an adjacent substation on the wider Richborough Energy Park site.

The battery will help exploit the clean electricity potential of these and other renewable projects in the region, storing and releasing green energy to power homes and businesses and also helping to relieve any system constraints.

Chris Twomey, COO & Head of Asset Management for Sosteneo said:

“We commend the work of Pacific Green and National Grid in bringing the Richborough Energy Park to life, helping establish our presence in the UK and representing an important milestone for our clients”

Scott Poulter, Chairman & CEO of Pacific Green, commented:

“It’s been a pleasure to work with the National Grid to develop Richborough Energy Park, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with many more projects to come.

“Having taken control of the site in 2021, I’m proud at the speed and efficiency with which my team has steered the project to financial close in summer 2022, first energisation a year later, full energisation last month, and now into commercial operation.”

Stuart Jones, Portfolio Director for the Customer Connection South Region at National Grid Electricity Transmission, said:

“Battery storage has a crucial role to play in delivering a net zero energy system in Britain, so connecting projects like Pacific Green’s at Richborough Energy Park to our transmission network marks key progress on our country’s clean energy journey.

“Given the Richborough site’s history, it’s apt that it’s becoming a pivotal part of our network for the energy transition, with our substation connecting clean electricity projects like batteries and interconnectors – all of which are helping Britain harness increasing volumes of renewable power into the future.”

The Richborough site embodies the energy transition from old to new, occupying land where a coal power station generated electricity from the early sixties through to 1996, and stood until its demolition in 2012.

Richborough Power Station - Photo © Chris Bell

The former coal plant, with its iconic hyperboloid cooling towers, played an important role powering Britain’s early supergrid, just as the new green technologies on site today will help deliver the country’s net zero ambitions. Richborough was also host to an experimental 1MW wind turbine in the late eighties, which at the time was the UK’s largest.

National Grid started redeveloping the site following the demolition of the coal plant, building the converter station for Nemo Link where the plant’s cooling towers once stood.

The subsequent completion of the Richborough Connection project in 2021 plugged the subsea link into the electricity transmission network via the first major new power line to be constructed in Kent since 1961.

National Grid is investing billions to innovate and evolve the transmission network in England and Wales to support Britain’s net zero goals, notably through The Great Grid Upgrade – the biggest overhaul of the electricity grid in generations.

Publish date: 20 December, 2023