Statera Energy has submitted a planning application for a battery energy storage system at Culham Campus – formerly known as UKAEA Culham Science Centre – in Oxfordshire, UK.

The proposals require development of 7 hectares of the 26.8 hectare site. A remaining 16 hectares are being set aside to re-establish a registered public park and garden with new woodland and grassland habitats and provide a significant 50 % uplift in biodiversity. An historically important tree belt to the north of the site will be restored using 170 new native trees, re-establishing parts of the Nuneham Courtenay Park and Garden.

If consented, the Culham BESS is scheduled to connect to the Culham substation in 2027, when it will be extended by National Grid as part of a wider upgrade to electrical infrastructure at Culham Campus. The proposal would provide Culham Campus with an enhanced connection to the grid that will give it greater power security, resilience and stability. It supports UKAEA’s ambition for the campus to continue to be a world leading fusion facility, promoting growth and employment in the region.

The 500 MW of storage capacity is to be achieved using 296 shipping containers modified for batteries, 37 inverter houses, 7 control rooms, 4 shipping containers for storage and welfare facilities and a customer substation.

Increasing BESS capacity close to National Grid’s strategic substations, such as Culham, is critical to the decarbonisation of the UK’s electricity system. Both the UK’s target of achieving net zero by 2050 and the earlier target to decarbonise the power system by 2035 require a substantial growth in renewable energy generation, along with electricity storage to balance the intermittent generation from renewables. National Grid expects batteries to make up the largest share of storage power capacity by 2050 with battery use rising from current levels of 3GW to as much as 20GW by 2030 and 35GW by 2050.