Overhyped: Europe’s Largest RE Battery Can Power Britain For 60 Seconds When Wind Power Fails

The hyperbole that greets the announcement of another giant battery is like the toxic plume they give off when they explode in flames. And, as we recently reported, that’s an increasingly likely occurrence: Giant Batteries Bomb: Renewable Energy Storage Systems Literally Setting The World On Fire

At a loss to deal with the hopeless and chaotic intermittency of wind and solar, renewable energy rent seekers and zealots have had to retreat behind the “batteries will fix it” barricades, as a last redoubt.

So, it’s only natural that they’ll overplay their hands every time a piddling 100 MW of lithium-ion storage gets tacked on to the grid.

Paul Homewood sets out to douse their misplaced exuberance with a little mathematics and physics.

Shell’s New Battery Won’t Solve Wind Intermittency Problem
Not a Lot of People Know That
Paul Homewood
22 February 2020

Oil and gas giant Shell has plans for a 100-megawatt grid storage battery in the west of England. It is slated to be the biggest battery in Europe once it is completed later this year and will be crucial to the UK’s quest to remain the continent’s top wind power player.

The battery project in the county of Wiltshire aims to store renewable power in two 50MW cells and then sell it to consumers when demand and prices are high.

“Projects like this will be vital for balancing the UK’s electricity demand and supply as wind and solar power play bigger roles in powering our lives,” said Shell Energy Europe vice president David Wells.

“Batteries are uniquely suited to optimising power supplies as the UK moves towards a net-zero carbon system,” he added. It is the Dutch firm’s latest attempt to diversify its business holdings away from fossil fuels towards more sustainable energy.

Chinese investment fund CNIC and state-run utility Huaneng Group will build the battery but Shell insists neither will be involved with its day-to-day operations once construction is completed.

The battery will hold enough juice to power 10,000 homes for a single day once fully charged, given that UK energy regulator Ofgem says that a typical household needs about 10 kilowatts every 24-hour period.


Despite the claim that it will be crucial to the UK’s quest to remain the continent’s top wind power player, it will, in fact, be nothing of the sort.

According to Shell’s blurb, the battery will store 100 MWh. UK wind output is running on average at 60 TWh a year, which equates to 6854 MWh per hour. In other words, Shell’s new shiny battery will only be able to replace wind output for less than a minute, if the wind stopped blowing.

The business logic is, of course, no different to that of small scale peakers, such as diesel engines and OCGTs, which come on stream to cover small fluctuations in supply and demand, thus earning premium tariffs.

The difference, however, is that diesel engines and OCGTs can run for much longer than an hour when needed.

Shell’s new battery may be a cheaper option than other peakers, but it certainly does make a jot of difference to the energy outlook, nor the problems created by the intermittency of wind power.
Not a Lot of People Know That

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  2. Jeff Walther says:

    Faith based grid: “The wind is always blowing somewhere.”

    Fantasy based grid: “Batteries/micro-grids/macro-interconnects/magic will fix the short comings of wind and solar.”

  3. I fear that that “reply” from the goat’s son is a complete mystery to me, even though I live just across the ditch. However, referring to that article myself, I am appalled at the ignorance of that Shell person, David Wells, and that of the UK regulator Ofgem in referring to 10 kilowatts over 24 hours. Of course what they really mean is 10 kilowatt hours during a 24-hour period which may or may not be the same thing depending on how peaky the demand is. The supposition that a battery will cure all the ills of solar and wind is nonsense! Pathetic rubbish from non-engineers, obviously.

  4. Son of a goat says:

    On the outskirts of Ballarat, the nasally barking of a Stihl chainsaw has been resonating through the air over the past week. In an ominous sign for zealots and their propaganda campaign, the Renewable Energy Messiah had taken to lopping down his woodlot and converting it to dunny paper.

    The Messiah, with the best of intentions, established it over a decade ago to offset the carbon emissions from his extravagant lifestyle. However, with the arrival of the coronavirus, circumstances dictated a change in plans.

    An obviously upset, Messiah was heard saying “F… the environment, I am going to make sure me, the missus and the offspring have enough fricken dunny paper for a decade.”

    The entrepreneurial genes of his late father have obviously been passed down to the next generation when he stated, “once me own needs are covered there should be more than enough timber left to process into dunny paper such that I should make a tidy profit.”

    Once more with his marketing prowess on display, he was to market 3 lines of toilet paper, each to have a monogram of either Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg or Angus Taylor on them.

    “Those arse wipes cleaned me and me mates up at the election, I like to look at this as payback.”

    There was an early casualty when a misjudged fell of a blue gum landed on the bonnet of the BMW. “Shit happens” uttered the Messiah at sight of his crumpled X7.

    His missus was urging forgiveness for the actions of the Messiah. “He took the election result real hard but with the bush-fires he had hoped his renewables campaign would gain traction again. Unfortunately the coronarvirus has literally destroyed any hope for the Messiah and his cronies. The last four years have been a waste of time and money.”

    • Bill Quinn says:

      Love your work SOAG.At times like these when there is not much good news on the horizon your wit and humour is greatly appreciated.Thank You.

      • Son of a goat says:

        Cheers Bill, it’s amazing how things change. Over Christmas with the bush-fires, climate change was the only game in town.

        Now the world is virtually in lock down mode from the Coronavirus and climate change hardly gets a mention.

        I hope and pray (that always gets the zealots jumping) that we all may work our way through this with as least harm as possible.

        There could be a yarn or two about Yoda and the geriatrics from the Lighter Footprint climate action group to come and Charismatic Kane who is himself working from home, apparently stalked by an owl outside his bedroom window!

        Even the wind farm noise guru Chappy might get a mention.

        Yes I saw you chimed in with your two cents worth on the Messiah’s twitter site today, Chappy.

        Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten you Chappy, I realize Relevance Deprivation Syndrome can be hard to cope with.

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