West Midlands energy superhub projects move a step closer

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Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, has announced a deal with global tech firm Wärtsilä to deliver two grid-scale battery storage facilities in Coventry and Sandwell to accelerate the West Midlands’ drive to net zero.

The projects will collectively provide 100MW/200MWh of battery storage – enough to power over 200,000 homes for two hours.

This is the latest phase of Pivot Power’s nationwide rollout of energy superhubs, designed to deliver up to 2GW of transmission-connected battery storage and high-volume power connections to support more renewables and create the power infrastructure for mass-scale, rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging.

The model supports EDF group’s ambition to become Europe’s leading e-mobility energy company by 2023 and forms a key pillar of its plan to develop an additional 10GW of battery storage globally by 2035.

Once complete, the energy superhubs will form part of a portfolio of Britain’s most powerful EV charging sites. Pivot Power’s first project – Energy Superhub Oxford – is nearing completion and will provide a blueprint for towns and cities across the UK to cut carbon and improve air quality.

It is backed by funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and integrates rapid EV charging, battery storage, low carbon heating and smart energy management technologies to save 10,000 tonnes of CO2 every year once opened. This is the equivalent to taking over 2,000 cars off the road, increasing to 25,000 tonnes by 2032.

Wärtsilä will supply the battery technology for both West Midlands projects.

Matt Allen, CEO of Pivot Power, said: “This is the next step in our nationwide rollout of Energy Superhubs which will create the low carbon infrastructure needed to support the EV and renewable energy revolution. As part of EDF Renewables, Pivot Power’s purpose is to accelerate a net zero future where clean energy powers our lives. We are working hand in hand with local authorities to help them meet their climate and clean air pledges, so people can live and work in cleaner, more sustainable cities.”

Andy Tang from Wärtsilä, said: “The UK recently set a bold ambition to slash carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 and flexibility is the key to achieving 100% renewables and decarbonising the economy. Our energy storage systems are helping leading innovators like Pivot Power turn these ambitions into reality. The enhanced flexibility this project will provide is precisely what we need to accelerate our cost-optimal pathway to 100% clean power.”

At both sites the battery storage systems will share their connection to the high-voltage electricity transmission network with a high-volume power connection, which will deliver large amounts of power for rapid EV charging to strategic locations in the local area, from public charging hubs to bus depots and commercial fleets.

For example in Oxford it will deliver up to 10MW of power to the UK’s largest public charging hub at a Park & Ride on the outskirts of the city, with plans to expand to bus and council depots in the near future.

Rolling out charging infrastructure for electric vehicles at scale is critical to help the West Midlands meet its target to be zero carbon by 2041.

Pivot Power is developing its energy superhubs in partnership with Coventry City Council, Sandwell Council and West Midlands development agencies.

Construction of the battery storage systems is due to start at Sandwell in Q4 2021 and at Coventry in Q1 2022.

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