There are many sets of battery containers in Minety, Wiltshire of the UK, which is about 140 kilometers west of London. They are part of the Minety Battery Storage Project, which is the largest battery energy storage project by capacity in Europe. The project is financed and built by China Huaneng Group Co., Ltd. (China Huaneng).
Grid fluctuations and intermittency caused by the fast development of renewable energy in the UK in the past few years once have led to a significant imbalance between power supply and public demand. The country might encounter grid failures and even power outages under some extreme conditions.
For instance, the UK in August 2019 suffered its most severe electricity blackout in a decade, which further exposed the challenges faced by the country in the stability and reliability of its national grid network.
Therefore, the building of a battery energy storage project has become an ideal solution for the UK to further bolster the flexibility and security of its national grid network.
In 2017, China Huaneng (Hong Kong) Limited foresaw the vital importance of battery energy storage to the development of global clean energy and the vast development prospect of relevant technology. It thus set up a joint work team with CNIC Corporation Limited to promote the development of battery energy storage projects in the UK in that year. They finally targeted Minety Battery Storage Project.
The Minety Battery Storage Project is one of the largest energy storage projects in Europe and the first large battery storage project undertaken by Chinese power generation enterprises in developed countries. It provides multiple services including DC, capacity market, triads, balancing mechanism and energy arbitrage services. Flexible storage and supply systems of the Minety Project has an essential role in balancing supply and demand since it enhances stability and flexibility of the grid in a cheaper, quicker and zero-emission way, which helps the UK better achieve its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
With an installed capacity of 99.8 megawatts, the Minety Battery Storage Project started construction in December 2019 and commenced commercial operation in July 2021. All sets of main equipments were produced and assembled in China, with a Chinese-component rate of over 70 percent.
To better meet the demands of both domestic management and the construction tasks in the UK and lower the project cost via the introduction of competitive approaches on the basis of a transparent accountability system, the managerial team adopted the EPCM method during the construction period.
The construction team of Minety Battery Storage Project has also taken utmost efforts to safeguard local wildlife. There is a conservation area of great crested newts on the south of the construction site. To prevent the wild species from entering the construction area, they set up a 1,200-meter wooden fence on the boundaries of the site and invited ecological experts to monthly check the fence's effectiveness. In addition, its lighting facilities only turn on when critically needed at night so as to minimize any disruptions to the normal activities of bats.
The construction team has tried to assimilate itself into the local community and fulfilled its corporate responsibilities whilst achieving economic benefits. Since 2020, it has regularly made donations to build and repair infrastructural facilities and help improve the well-being of residents.
The Minety Battery Storage Project is a crucial step taken by China Huaneng in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. Construction and management experiences accumulated by the project will further strengthen China-UK economic and trade cooperation and pave the way for a greener future.