BESS | Screw pile foundations | RADIX | UK

BESS: 50MW Battery Energy Storage System, Suffolk, UK

Specialist high voltage engineering firm, Smith Brothers, required efficient, robust screw pile foundations and steel frames for their 132kV development in Halesworth, Suffolk.

Smith Brothers

Suffolk, UK


Renewable Energy

Screw piling | battery energy storage system (BESS) | UK


A short works programme to energise faster

Yorkshire-based Smith Brothers required a robust foundation solution for 28 battery storage units, one transformer, and 14 PCS and TX units. Once complete, the 132kV development will provide over 50MW of flexibility and balancing services to UK Power Networks (UKPN).

A short work programme was required, which would involve designing, manufacturing, and installing a bespoke foundation solution to bring the 60-tonne transformer onto the site and online.

Screw piles were chosen to ensure critical project milestones were met, and site access issues could be alleviated, with the BESS project planned to be delivered over three phases.

Battery Energy storage units | Pile foundations | RADIX

Solution – Phase One

A turnkey foundation solution for BESS

Screw pile foundations for 28 battery storage units

Following a site survey and ground tests, 168 RADIX Extendable 76mm Screw Piles were specified for the 28 battery storage units, with six screw piles installed to 2.1m to support each 2m x 10m battery storage container.

We also designed, manufactured, and installed the steel c-sections for each battery storage unit, allowing loads to be distributed evenly and securing the fixing of each unit to their screw pile foundations.

All screw piles and bespoke structural platforms were installed in seven working days using our screw piling and ground screw machines, ready for all the battery storage units to be loaded immediately, cutting the customer’s programme length for this project phase by over half.

Transformer | Screw pile foundations | BESS Project in the UK

Solution – Phase Two

Supporting 60 tonnes on a customised foundation solution

The second phase of the project involved providing a solution for the main site transformer. The team designed the screw pile layout and structural steel framework to support the 60-tonne transformer. Due to its weight, ten 2.1m screws and five 5.5m screws were used to ensure support was achieved.

All 15 screw piles and steel framework were installed within a day, and the team subsequently returned to the site to assist with the landing of the transformer.

The project is a vital investment into the region’s long-term energy future, and using screw piles has helped ensure that the project is on schedule and within budget, with little disruption to the other construction works on site.

Solution – Phase Three

Bespoke screw pile foundations for PCS and TX units

The final phase of this project required the design, manufacture, and installation of the screw pile foundations and bespoke 10m x 1m structural steel frames for 14 PCS units, along with 3m x 2m steel bunds and screw pile foundations for the accompanying TX units.

One of the specific challenges of this project was the relatively small footprint on site, meaning that any construction work and site access would need to be carefully considered, especially as units were brought to the site. Our screw piles can be installed in hard-to-access locations using our powerful but agile machinery, causing little disruption, so this solution was ideal for addressing this particular concern by the client.