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Europe’s biggest battery switches on in UK to combat energy shortages

Pillswood battery facility near Hull in the UK can store up to 196MWh, enough to power 300,000 homes for two hours (Harmony Energy)
Pillswood battery facility near Hull in the UK can store up to 196MWh, enough to power 300,000 homes for two hours (Harmony Energy)

Europe’s largest battery facility has opened in East Yorkshire, offering backup power from renewable energy sources to up to 300,000 homes.

The Pillswood battery energy storage system in Cottingham went online on Monday, a month ahead of schedule due to concerns about electricity shortages for UK households this winter.

The system, operated by Harmony Energy, uses Tesla’s AI software to configure the supply of energy to the demands of the grid.

“Battery energy storage systems offer the ability to stabilise and balance the outflow of electricity from renewable sources, and ensure it is used more effectively,” Harmony Energy stated on its website.

“They are the key to a flexible energy system that can respond instantaneously to changes in supply and demand.”

The facility has a capacity of 196MWh, allowing it to power up to 300,000 homes for two hours.

Last month, UK energy regulator Ofgem warned that there is a “significant risk” of gas shortages as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Roughly half og the UK’s electricity is generated through gas-fired power stations, meaning the country risks entering a “gas supply emergency”.

Pushing the opening forward could potentially help meet the increased energy demand over the colder months.

“The completion and energisation of the Pillswood scheme, the largest of its kind in Europe by energy capacity, is a significant milestone for Harmony Energy Income Trust, being the first of six similar projects the Trust intends to deliver in the coming year,” said Harmony Energy director Peter Kavanagh.

“All stakeholders have recognised the importance of achieving energisation for this project ahead of winter, and we would like to thank Tesla, G2 Energy and Northern Powergrid for their efforts in delivering the project ahead of schedule despite a very challenging geopolitical and global supply chain environment.”