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Centrica announces its first battery storage development outside the UK

Centrica Business Solutions has started work on a 24MW battery storage facility in Ostend, Belgium as it expands its portfolio of energy assets outside of the UK for the first time.

Working in partnership with Alfen, an energy solutions specialist at the heart of Europe’s energy transition to limit climate change, the battery will provide storage capacity for wind and solar farms across Belgium. 

The battery, situated on land at Ostend Basic Chemicals, will have the capacity to store energy and power 48,000 homes for two hours, enabling the grid to balance the peaks and troughs of renewable energy generation.

Work will begin in 2023 with the site set to be at full capacity by early 2024. Once operational, Centrica Energy Trading will employ a multimarket optimisation strategy, allowing energy to be stored and then sold and deployed to the grid when supply outstrips demand or when there is a requirement for additional power to be deployed to the network. The Ostend battery has been selected by Belgium's network operator, Elia, to participate in the capacity market.

Bill Rees, Director of Centrica Energy Assets, said: “We’ve set ambitious targets for the delivery of flexible energy assets and to make good on this promise we’re becoming more active in developing and acquiring flexible assets both at home and abroad.

“As the share of renewables in our energy mix grows, flexibility will be even more critical to ensure renewables are being harnessed effectively, all while keeping the lights switched on securely and affordably. Belgium is becoming strategically important for us and we’re excited about the prospect of developing more storage assets in support of the Belgian transmission system and to help the country navigate the energy transition in a clean and sustainable way. We hope Ostend is the first step of many strategic renewable energy assets.”

“We’re excited to work with Centrica Business Solutions to bring its first battery storage project outside the UK to life,” said Michelle Lesh, Chief Commercial Officer for Alfen “Battery storage technology has evolved significantly over the last decade, and we’re proud to support Centrica’s ambitions across mainland Europe, especially in Belgium where the market is growing quickly as it prioritises green energy to secure its long-term energy supply.”

The development will support Belgium’s transition to net zero as the country moves to prioritise green energy after committing to shut down five of its seven nuclear reactors by 2025. 

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