As the UK transitions to renewable energy sources, battery energy storage systems (BESS) play an integral role in securing energy supplies. BESS provides grid stability by optimizing inconsistent wind and solar generation. It also stores surplus energy when demand is low, so it can be used during peak times. With lithium prices dropping in recent years, BESS presents an attractive investment for utilities seeking profit from selling stored energy at higher prices during high demand.
However, BESS projects face risks from extreme seasonal weather that require planning.
Hot summer temperatures can overwhelm BESS cooling systems, causing thermal runaway and potential fires or explosions. This poses safety and financial risks. Mitigation steps for summer include monitoring temperatures, ensuring low humidity, avoiding charging/discharging during extreme heat, assessing drought impacts on water supply, and managing vegetation to minimize wildfire risks near rural BESS sites.
Cold winter weather exposes BESS to flooding, freezing and excess moisture which can damage batteries and cause thermal events. To mitigate risks, maintain ventilation, regular temperatures, and snow clearance in containers and surrounding areas. Use containers with IP-5 ratings or higher for moisture resistance.
Excessive rainfall can flood BESS sites, so protect susceptible areas during construction with drainage and barriers. Regularly review flood defenses and upgrade as flood risks change over time.
Assess risks from high winds, storms and lightning, which can damage structures and transmission lines. Hailstones over 2 inches wide can also severely harm renewable energy facilities.
With proper risk mitigation planning, BESS will continue enabling the UK's transition to carbon-neutral energy systems. However, evolving weather threats require vigilant protection to avoid derailing progress.