Above Image: Visualisation of 100 MW of energy storage at the Kemsley site, UK (copyright Wärtsilä)


Pivot Power is developing what is claimed to be a “world-first” national network of grid-scale batteries and high-volume power connections to provide capacity for rapid electric vehicle charging. The first two projects, at Cowley in Oxford and Kemsley in Kent, are expected to be fully operational before the end of this year. Wärtsilä will support the projects under 10-year service agreements with flexible performance guarantees. The order was booked with Wärtsilä in December 2019.

These will be the first projects completed as part of Pivot Power’s programme to develop, own and operate up to 2 GW of grid-scale energy storage and high volume power connections directly connected to the UK’s high-voltage transmission system. The new facilities are intended to support increased renewable energy generation and expanded EV charging infrastructure, with the UK market for EVs expected to grow significantly in 2020, which has been described as “the year of the electric car” by industry analysts.

This is the largest energy storage deal in Europe yet for Wärtsilä, which has set its sights on the UK as a key new market, as part of its plan to lead the global transition towards a 100% clean energy future, transitioning from “being an engine manufacturer to a smart technology company.”

The systems are based on Wärtsilä’s advanced energy management software platform GEMS, which leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to enable the intelligent management of large-scale energy storage systems, and its GridSolv modular storage solution, which supports stand-alone energy storage deployments and integrated hybrids with thermal or renewable generation assets. Wärtsilä says its “solutions can be dynamically adjusted according to the demands of the markets across multiple revenue streams and can optimise a fleet of assets for best results.”

The contract is the first to be announced since EDF Renewables acquired Pivot Power in November 2019. It forms part of EDF Group’s Electricity Storage Plan under which it aims to be “the leader in Europe” with 10 GW of additional storage by 2035. It also supports the EDF Electric Mobility Plan, to “become the leading electric mobility company by 2022 in the UK, France, Italy and Belgium.”