Report highlights the ‘Rubik’s Cube’ of energy storage

Energy storage developers and investors face “an unsolved Rubik’s Cube of technologies, regulatory frameworks, revenues and costs” according to a new report.

And the study – which focuses on the UK energy sector – finds that Britain could have 10 GW of energy storage by the 2030s… but only if the government can deliver “a clear, long term policy and regulatory framework” to support the technology.

The report – ‘Energy storage - towards a commercial model’ – has been compiled by four firms: renewable energy advisors Regen SW, finance company Triodos Bank, low-carbon developer Green Hedge Energy and law firm TLT.

It explores the alternative business models that will make clean energy “the subsidy free backbone” of Britain’s electricity system. Report highlights the ‘Rubik’s Cube’ of energy storage

Philip Bazin, environment team leader at Triodos Bank UK, said: “It is clear, from the advances made in other countries and now in the UK, that proven sustainable electricity storage solutions exist and that their cost is fast reducing. What we now need to make these solutions more financeable is a clear, long term policy and regulatory framework to support the demand for these solutions and create an exciting sizeable new market in the UK.”

Bazin said that the deployment of energy storage solutions in the UK “is one of the key pillars that is required to achieve an energy system that is 100 per cent sustainable - a low carbon, resilient and balanced energy system. It’s essential that financial institutions work closely with developers and policy makers to create a conduit for energy storage technology that will support the wider strength of renewable energy production.”

Regen SW director Johnny Gowdy said that although energy storage is “developing rapidly and the flexibility it provides can reduce the need for expensive new energy generation projects, developers and investors face an unsolved ‘Rubik Cube’ of technologies, regulatory frameworks, revenues and costs”.

He said in the short term, battery storage projects will tend to focus on rapid response services to support the network. “As costs fall, storage will play a key role in providing reserves of energy to balance supply and demand and could become ubiquitous in our homes, workplaces and in transport. A UK energy storage sector in excess of 10 GW power capacity in the 2030’s is achievable.”

Green Hedge Energy managing director Niels Kroninger said energy storage was “like a Swiss Army Knife – it can deliver a wide variety of critical services.”

He added that if “different revenue streams work together better” then it would “eliminate risks to investors in storage, which in turn could deliver even greater savings to consumers”.

Maria Connolly, head of energy & renewables and real estate at TLT said that in the short term “we could see behind-the-meter storage making a significant impact on the electricity grid. Large power users are starting to look at taking advantage of BtM and the revenue streams and cost savings available to them.”

She said that in the longer term, “co-locating storage with other renewable technologies including wind or solar developments could be part of the solution which make projects of this nature commercially viable in a subsidy free environment."

 

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