Energy Storage


While the increased use of renewable energy and nuclear power is vital in reaching the UK’s carbon reduction targets, neither of these types of generation allows the level of output to be continuously controlled to meet the prevailing demand for electricity.


In parallel with this, the UK’s patterns of electricity demand are also becoming more unpredictable. The use of electric vehicles is growing rapidly and electricity is also expected to become an increasingly important source of heat in industry.


Image:  Acorns

All this creates challenges for the National Grid in making sure that electricity continues to be available whenever and wherever consumers need it.


Thanks to a dramatic reduction in the cost of batteries, energy storage projects are now seen as one of the best ways of meeting this challenge, with these being able to:

  • Import electricity when levels of generation exceed demand (for example on windy summer nights); and
  • Export electricity when the level of demand outstrips the available generation (for example when a large fossil fuel power station trips off line, or in winter evenings when there is no solar generation).


Given these benefits, National Grid forecasts that battery energy storage capacity in the UK will grow from 46MW in 2016 to around 6,000 MW by 2020. In line with this, the Government estimates that, by 2050, new storage projects could deliver net savings to the UK economy of £17-40bn.


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