UK: Pivot Power & Wärtsilä install new Energy Superhubs


UK-based Pivot Power has announced a deal with technology company Wärtsilä to deliver two new grid-scale battery storage facilities in the West Midlands. The so-called Energy Superhubs at Coventry and Sandwell will each provide 100MW of battery storage and high power charging facilities.

This is the latest phase of Pivot Power’s nationwide rollout of Energy Superhubs, designed to deliver up to two Gigawatt battery storage and power connections to support ultra-rapid charging electric vehicles in the UK. Pivot’s new owner EDF says the installations form a “key pillar” of its plan to develop 10GW of battery storage globally by 2035.

Pivot Power added that its first project, Energy Superhub Oxford, was nearing completion. The site integrates rapid EV charging, battery storage, low carbon heating and smart energy management. The company estimates this could save 10,000 tonnes of CO2 every year once opened, equivalent to taking over 2,000 cars off the road. Funding comes through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Wärtsilä will also supply the battery technology for both projects in the West Midlands. The company’s GEMS Digital Energy Platform dynamically optimises energy systems. Wärtsilä says the partnership with Pivot Power was an “important part of its ambition to enable a 100% clean energy system in the UK by providing essential grid flexibility.” It also builds on the companies’ first two projects in Oxford and Kent.

Andy Tang, Vice President, Energy Storage & Optimisation, Wärtsilä, added, “The enhanced flexibility this project will provide is precisely what we need to accelerate our cost-optimal pathway to 100% clean power.”

The battery storage systems will help power ultra-rapid EV charging at strategic locations in the local area at both sites. For example, in Oxford, it will deliver up to 10MW of power to what Pivot calls the UK’s largest public charging hub at a Park & Ride on the city outskirts, with plans to expand to bus and council depots shortly.

The installation in Coventry and Sandwell will follow a similar layout. For Sandwell, Councillor Steve Melia stressed that this was a “unique infrastructure investment” at a site that is “at the heart of the English motorway network”. The Sandwell Energy Superhub is located close to junction 7 of the M6, where the M5 and A34 meet.

The Coventry battery storage system will be installed to the northeast of the city, close to junction 2 of the M6 motorway.

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

Since entering the scene as a startup in 2018, Pivot Power was working with National Grid to connect battery storage units with critical infrastructure junctions. Accordingly, Energy Superhubs are all located alongside National Grid substations and selected for proximity to major road networks and urban populations, the company informs.

Pivot Power adds it was looking to engage with councils around each of its planned sites to help support the rapid expansion of Energy Superhubs nationwide. In previous communications, the company targeted setting up about 45 of these sites.

Wärtsilä claims it has delivered 72 GW of power plant capacity in 180 countries around the world. The global company is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki and has about 19,000 employees at around 200 locations in 80 countries.


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