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SMS energises its first 50MW battery energy storage site in 620MW pipeline

The 50MW Burwell site in Cambridgeshire is the first in a pipeline of 620MW of battery energy storage projects from SMS. Image: SMS.

The 50MW Burwell site in Cambridgeshire is the first in a pipeline of 620MW of battery energy storage projects from SMS. Image: SMS.

SMS has energised its first battery energy storage system (BESS), the 50MW Burwell site in Cambridgeshire.

The lithium-ion BESS will now deliver a range of balancing and ancillary services to National Grid ESO, providing flexibility for the grid. SMS announced the start of construction of Burwell in February 2021, with the project originally expected to be completed in the final quarter of 2021.

It is the first of a pipeline of 620MW of BESS projects either under construction or being planned by SMS, with a second site – a 40MW system in Barnsley, Yorkshire – also nearing completion. Following on the heels of these sites, are two more 50MW sites in Suffolk and Derbyshire.

“With the energisation of our first storage site, and three more projects due to come online in relatively quick succession, our ambitions for leading the growth of this fast-emerging sector couldn’t be much clearer,” said John Flaherty, managing director of grid-scale energy storage at SMS.

“Our batteries will play a significant role in improving the integration of renewables and help bolster system resilience as we come to rely on clean energy generation. Such benefits are central to reaching net zero emissions, and our aim as a business is to deploy the low-carbon assets required at scale to achieve that goal as soon as possible.”

SMS’s 620MW portfolio includes 140MW of assets already under construction and 100MW that has been fully secured, while the remaining 330MW is under exclusivity. It is planning to complete this pipeline of projects by 2025.

Established in 1995, SMS is best known for its role in the national rollout of smart meters, where it provides funding, installation, operation and management of smart meters and carbon reduction assets.

In this space, it recently announced a partnership with Alternative Home Area Network Company to test new solutions for households that are currently difficult to connect to the smart meter network. It also extended its exclusivity agreement with Shell Energy and secured a deal with Aclara to offer its complete portfolio of SMETS2 gas and electric smart meters.

SMS has been working to expand its operations in recent years, including entering into the virtual power plant space with the acquisition of battery storage, microgeneration and electric vehicle charger start-up Solo Energy in 2020, along with its utility-scale battery storage portfolio.

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