Inside Europe’s Largest Battery Storage System Powered by Tesla
In the quiet outskirts of Cottingham lies the Pillswood Battery Energy Storage Scheme, Europe’s largest battery storage system. Spanning the size of three football pitches, the £80 million facility houses rows of Tesla Megapacks, which are large-scale batteries designed to store massive amounts of power. Hull Live recently shared their exclusive tour of the site.
Managed by Harmony Energy, the Pillswood facility provides an essential balancing service to the National Grid, ensuring energy security across the region. The lithium-ion Megapacks store surplus wind and solar energy, which can then be used as needed. This innovative approach supports the UK’s push for net-zero emissions and reduces reliance on foreign gas imports.
The Pillswood battery storage system can store up to 196 MWh of electricity in a single cycle, equivalent to the energy stored in 107 million triple-A batteries. This clean energy generation and storage method produce no greenhouse gas emissions or air pollution.
Harmony Energy CEO Peter Kavanagh and Operations Director Alex Thornton are leading the operation. According to Thornton, the project is expected to help lower energy prices in the long term by integrating more renewables into the grid. “The cheapest form of any power generation is on-shore wind, followed closely by solar, so the more of that we can put on to the grid, the longer term it is going to reduce the prices,” he said.
The 78 Tesla batteries at the site, each weighing 24 tonnes, have the combined power to fuel 300,000 homes for two hours. Harmony has been collaborating with Tesla since 2016, with Tesla playing a pivotal role in developing the Pillswood operation.
Alex Thornton expressed satisfaction with the project’s completion, stating, “We started on this project back in 2016 and it has been a real challenge.” He added, “I love what we do, and we’re making a real difference here. We’re always looking at new opportunities and we’re currently developing some solar projects in the UK and Europe.”
As for the future, Thornton believes that East Yorkshire will continue to be a leader in green energy. “This part of the world is super critical to green energy solutions, with Dogger Bank and now this site, so we’re thrilled to be putting Cottingham on the map in terms of renewable energy,” he said.