The biggest storage battery in Europe has been switched on in a field in north Wiltshire.

Larger than a football field, it was made by Pensa Power, a subsidiary of Shell, and took more than a year to construct near Minety in Wiltshire.

The battery will store excess energy generated from renewable sources and feed it into the National Grid.

It is hoped it will be the first in a string of similar installations across the country.

Catherine Newman, chief executive officer of Limejump, who are managing the site, said: “We get excess power when it’s sunny or windy and that excess power gets stored.

“When we have peaks in demand, everyone turns on their light switches and kettles, we can discharge these batteries to make sure the power is consistent across the national grid.”

The 100-megawatt system is the largest of its kind of in Europe and will be used to help balance the UK’s electricity demand.

As more power comes from wind and solar, the need for these batteries and similar storage sites is expected to grow.

The RAC and British Gas have joined forces to make it easier and more affordable for drivers to make the switch to an electric car.

Following just weeks on from the RAC launching its market-leading electric vehicle (EV) leasing website, the new partnership means customers can have a smart 7kW home charge point installed by an expert British Gas engineer and take advantage of a bespoke electricity tariff with cheaper off-peak overnight charging.

Having a home charge point on a competitively priced electricity tariff makes running an electric car much easier, cheaper and greener, by making use of excess renewable energy when demand is low overnight.

Customers who want to have a home charge point installed via the RAC have the choice of two models – with either fixed or removable cables – made by one of Europe’s most established manufacturers of electric car chargers, Alfen. Both come with a three-year warranty and are installed by a British Gas trained EV installer. The Alfen Eve S-Line Untethered can be installed from £659 and Alfen Eve S-Line Tethered from £745.

Both chargers can be controlled via a smartphone using the award-winning Hive app. This makes charging more convenient as it not only allows drivers to see if the car is plugged in and charging, it also helps them save money as they can choose to schedule charges to take place overnight when the electricity rate is cheaper. They can also easily look back at their daily, weekly and yearly charging, to see the cost and their electricity usage.   

The RAC and British Gas partnership also gives customers access to a highly competitive home electricity tariff specially designed to make overnight electric car charging cheaper than with a conventional tariff. The RAC-e Recharge Electric Car Tariff saves customers money, with charging between 12-5am GMT costing just 6p per kWh. As charging can be scheduled easily via the Hive app, this could save up to £300 on a home electric bill. What’s more, British Gas will match 100% of the electricity used for this tariff to electricity from renewable sources. Prices can even be fixed until 30 June 2023.

In order to take advantage of the RAC-e Tariff, which has no exit fee, customers will need to have a British Gas electric smart meter installed so their off-peak charging can be tracked. If a property doesn’t have an existing British Gas smart meter, one will be fitted free of charge.

RAC director of EVs Sarah Winward-Kotecha said: “Working with trusted names like British Gas and Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions means customers can now – through the RAC – lease some of the most popular electric cars at market-leading prices and get a smart home charge point installed with a specialist energy tariff that offers cheaper off-peak EV charging.”

The latest RAC EV leasing offers can be found at rac.co.uk/electric-cars.

The RAC is the number-one for EV breakdown as it is the only UK breakdown provider to offer van-mounted, lightweight emergency mobile charging system for electric cars. The RAC’s expert local patrols can use EV Boost to quickly get a flat or severely depleted EV on the move again. And if a car needs to go to a garage, the RAC’s All Wheels Up recovery system can be used to safely tow an EV with all four wheels off the ground.