Orsted got the planning green light to build a major battery facility to store power from one of its largest offshore wind projects underway globally – the 2.4GW Hornsea 3 in the UK North Sea.

The Danish group plans to co-locate a “utility scale” energy storage system based on lithium-ion battery technology with Hornsea 3’s onshore substation at a site at Swardeston, south of Norwich in eastern England.

Orsted, which has not so far released details of the storage capacity planned on the 32,000 sq metre site, said in a statement sent to Recharge: “As the UK shifts away from fossil fuels, the way we consume and generate electricity is rapidly changing.

“In the transition to clean energy, storage is a key component of a smarter, more flexible energy system. With planning permission now in place, we will continue to work alongside local stakeholders and our chosen suppliers to finalise designs.”

The storage project was today (Wednesday) unanimously approved by planning authority South Norfolk Council, despite some objections on the grounds of fire safety.

Orsted told the meeting “it is not in anyone’s interest, least of all the applicant's, for there to be an incident at this site” and said it had acted on advice given by fire services, reported local media the Eastern Daily Press.

Deploying large-scale battery systems as part of the wider Hornsea 3 project would be among the most ambitious plans globally to link energy storage with massive offshore wind capacity and integrate variable output from sea-based turbines into national electricity grids.

Orsted already has a 20MW standalone storage system operating in the UK at Liverpool, and a small 2MW pilot battery system linked to its Burbo Bank offshore wind project in northwest England.

Hornsea 3, which separately received consent at the end of 2020, is among a clutch of huge North Sea wind farms that are crucial to the UK’s push to deploy 50GW of offshore wind by 2030, four times what’s in place now.