Statera Energy

Statera submits planning application for 500MW Culham battery storage facility

14 May 2024

The 7 hectare facility will help meet peak demand in the local power network around Culham Campus and make a significant contribution to the UK’s Grid stability and energy security

Statera Energy has submitted a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council for a battery energy storage system (BESS) at Culham Campus – formerly known as UKAEA Culham Science Centre – in Oxfordshire.

The proposals require development of 7 hectares of the 26.8 hectare site (26%). A remaining 16 hectares are being set aside to re-establish a registered park and garden with new woodland and grassland habitats and provide a significant 50% uplift in biodiversity.

An historical tree belt to the north of the site will be restored using 170 new native trees, re-establishing parts of the Nuneham Courtenay Park and Garden. New permissive paths across the site will provide access to the parkland and views over the Thames Valley, benefiting people working within the neighbouring UKAEA site.

If consented, Statera’s Culham BESS is scheduled to connect to the Culham Substation in 2027, when it will be extended by National Grid as part of a wider upgrade to electrical infrastructure at Culham Campus.

The proposal would provide Culham Campus with an enhanced connection to the grid that will give it greater power security, resilience and stability. It supports UKAEA’s ambition for the campus to continue to be a world leading fusion facility, promoting growth and employment in the region.

The 500MW of storage capacity is achieved using 296 shipping containers modified for batteries, 37 inverter houses, 7 control rooms, 4 shipping containers for storage and welfare facilities and a customer substation.

Increasing BESS capacity close to National Grid’s strategic substations, such as Culham, is critical to the decarbonisation of the UK’s electricity system. Both the UK’s target of achieving net zero by 2050 and the earlier target to decarbonise the power system by 2035 require a substantial growth in renewable energy generation, along with electricity storage to balance the intermittent generation from renewables. National Grid expects batteries to make up the largest share of storage power capacity by 2050 with battery use rising from current levels of 3GW to as much as 20GW by 2030 and 35GW by 2050.

Oliver Troup, development lead at Statera Energy, comments:

Aside from the national benefit short duration storage provides in a flexible grid system, Statera’s Culham BESS will support the expansion of Culham Campus, already home to 45 businesses and a leading centre for nuclear fusion. Finding sites that work for this type of scheme is very challenging. It’s even harder to find a site that directly benefits such a unique science and technology park.