Construction of the first grid-scale electricity storage facility to be built in Britain for more than 30 years could begin as early as 2018 following today’s granting of planning permission for the scheme.

Developer Snowdonia Pumped Hydro (SPH) has been given the go-ahead by the UK government to turn two abandoned slate quarries at Glyn Rhonwy near Llanberis in North Wales into water reservoirs that will store some 700 MWhs of electricity—sufficient to supply 200,000 homes with electricity for seven hours a day over a projected operational lifetime of 125 years or more.

The GBP 160m facility will use surplus electricity, for example from wind and solar sources, to pump water through an underground tunnel from the lower to the upper reservoir. When lack of wind or sunshine reduces renewable power output, or when fossil fuel generators fail to start, the water will flow back down the tunnel, spinning a turbine in an underground chamber to regenerate the stored electricity at a power output of 99.9 MW.

The only visible evidence of the pumped hydro storage facility will be a modest building on an industrial park, and two reservoirs contained by slate dams blending with existing slate tips, whose water levels silently rise and fall each day.

The UK currently has four pumped hydro storage sites, the youngest of which was built with taxpayers’ money more than 30 years ago. SPH is seeking private equity funds to build the Glyn Rhonwy scheme without public money.

Pumped hydro provides over 90% of the world’s electricity storage, and countries including the US, South Africa, Australia and China are among those expanding their national pumped hydro fleets as they seek to balance the intermittency of wind and solar.

In Britain it was thought that only a limited number of mountainous areas were suitable for pumped hydro sites, but SPH has shown energy civil servants how the UK could build some 50 GWh of pumped hydro storage using unconventional sites like ex-industrial quarries, coastal locations and existing drinking water reservoirs.

“There are signs that the government is taking storage seriously,” said SPH managing director Dave Holmes. “The National Infrastructure Commission last year urged swift action on storage, and a team inside the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is looking urgently at how planning barriers and market disincentives to storage can be addressed. We see the grant of permission for our Glyn Rhonwy scheme as highly significant, signalling a real change that will enable the UK to meet carbon reduction targets, while keeping electricity supply secure and prices for consumers under control.”

Energy experts agree that as the percentage of intermittent renewable generation on Britain’s electricity grid continues to increase, a mix of storage types and technologies may be the optimum solution to ensure that electricity supply remains secure and affordable. These include long duration grid-scale storage such as pumped hydro, localised shorter duration storage provided by household or community batteries, complemented by demand reduction measures.

SPH has not sought to develop Lithium-ion batteries at grid-scale. Said Holmes. “Glyn Rhonwy can be expected to deliver around 32 million MWh over its lifetime. An equivalent 700 MWh Lithium-ion installation would deliver just 2.1million MWh before needing its batteries replacing. This means electricity delivered by pumped hydro is twenty times cheaper per MWh than Lithium-ion batteries over its lifetime, and carries less environmental baggage.”

The Glyn Rhonwy facility is expected to bring a significant economic boost to North Wales, supporting hundreds of jobs during the construction phase and creating up to 30 high quality full time local positions to operate the site for its 125 years or more service lifetime.

The Ladbroke Grove development from Taylor Wimpey Central London, is part of the regeneration of Grand Union Centre, and includes both luxury apartments and homes for first-time buyers, close to Kensington and Chelsea. This mixed use scheme combines living and working, with office accommodation and retail units available alongside a high-quality development of apartments set around a private courtyard in W10.

Evinox Energy are delighted to be working with P R Morson on this outstanding development, supplying heat interface units and metering & billing services.

Design and sustainability

To reduce the environmental impact of the development, the apartments are all connected to a communal heating system, which supplies residents with thermal energy for heating and production of domestic hot water. System water is heated in a central plant room, distributed via pipework around the building and energy is transferred to residents via a ModuSat HIU.

The ModuSat HIU’s at The Ladbroke Grove include both an energy meter for heating and hot water, and an electricity meter, meaning residents will be billed for both utilities by Evinox Energy.

In Built Pre-Payment Facility

Evinox ModuSat HIU’s are supplied pre-payment or credit account ready, meaning there is no requirement for additional controls, sensors or hardware providing flexible metering options.

With most modern housing schemes being mixed use, the ability to operate a part credit billing and part pre-payment system on the same scheme is extremely desirable, and providing a future proof solution is a key advantage of the Evinox system, as it can be adapted to different tenant occupations. The ability to make changes remotely provides the ultimate in simplicity and flexibility at The Ladbroke Grove.

By combining smart HIU’s with excellent after-sales, end user support and flexible metering and billing services, the building owner has a hassle-free, sustainable development and residents enjoy a fantastic place to live.

Visit the Evinox Energy website today for more info, or contact on 01372 722277 /

Wind turbine towers are set to reach heights of up to 170m with new construction techniques and materials, according to wind power engineering specialists K2 Management. Tower heights have grown steadily over the last decade as operators seek stronger wind speeds higher up in the atmosphere.

Based on work with various clients across the globe, K2 Management believes new technology developments like modular concrete structures mean turbine heights are likely to soar to up to 170m in the coming years – higher than London’s ‘Gherkin’, and almost as high as the Eiffel Tower. This compares to the tallest towers of 150m at present. There has been a 48% increase in average hub height since 1999, and based on its experience in the industry and its partnerships, K2 Management has insight on how to manufacture hybrid tower concepts up to 170m.

According to K2 Management wind resource experts, a 3 MW turbine located in a forest area for example, with an average wind speed of 6 meters per second, will meet 13 percent more wind speed if the turbine height doubled from 70 to 140 meters. Annual energy yield prediction would increase by almost 30 percent because of less surface aerodynamic drag and the viscosity of the air.

Therefore, going up to 170 meters from 70 meters will boost energy yield prediction by 35 percent on average. The more complex the terrain – for instance forests, hills, mountain, buildings – the larger the impact is in using taller turbine towers.

K2 Management CEO Henrik Stamer says “170m towers could become a common sight in the near future in markets like the USA and Germany as part of a new renewable skyline. We expect to see more of these mega designs as we help our clients get the most out of their wind projects.”

Through its network of experts across the globe, K2 Management possesses a unique vantage point overlooking the wind industry, allowing for a view into emerging trends. The Company is able to draw on this wide breadth of experience to identify ways of making wind projects more efficient.

Stamer adds: “As a company that is at the global cutting edge of technology we are helping push the limits of the wind industry in terms of power generation efficiency, cost-effectiveness and return on investment; and these new mega wind turbine towers are a case in point.”