The capacity of battery storage is set to soar to an impressive 1.6 GW by the year 2020. This is a vast increase from the capacity of 24MW, recorded in January 2016. So why and how is this set to rise and what benefits can be offered from battery storage in the UK?
The key is that the UK has seen an increase in both large companies as well as landowners who can now see why using power storage can benefit them. This potential involves making income from an easy installment process, whilst generating and maintaining your own supply and living self-sufficiently. Planned projects in the UK for the next four years total more than 150 projects with a combined capacity of 2.3GW, an increase of more than 100. In fact, Government injected a £246 million investment as part of a new 1 billion Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to battery storage in late April 2017.
Battery storage is a simple concept – store energy when it is easily generated and cheaper, to use or send back later when it is more expensive and limited. It’s an idea that makes a lot of sense and it is beginning to gain more recognition now which serves as great news. So why has there been this increase in demand? It’s partly since renewable or sustainable energy sources have risen in order to produce the increase in demands for electricity.
Often renewable and sustainable sources are looked upon and thought that it has a certain durability and effectiveness - like solar for example. Although solar will not generate the same amount of energy or heat in broad daylight as at night, this effective storage system is also applicable to solar thermal. Green Sqaure's solar thermal system means you can store your unused energy and use when you are in need, so at night for instance or through winter months.
Although an easy solution could be seen as just running more fossil fueled power plants – the government is fully backing the crossover to alternative methods. Batteries offer a solution where renewable energy CAN be constant and as reliable as possible. This option is fast becoming more of a real and feasible commercial success throughout the UK.
EDF energy renewables has been awarded a contract to set up what will be the largest battery storage project in Europe, located in Nottinghamshire, which will be in operation early 2018. The 49MW project is part of a new 200MW frequency response system which is being introduced across England and the UK by the National Grid, in order to gain balance to the power grid.
Another reason for this is that generally, the UK and the world are on route to be using far more electricity than we use currently. As the gradual shift comes into action from fossil fuels – this also means our needs for electricity will heighten and we will be more reliant on electricity. There is a lot of importance set on building a reliable future for renewables including minimal disruptions to our supplies.
The is a second method to add to battery storage which also looks very promising too. Hydro pumped storage is a commercially appropriate method and adds to the effectiveness of renewables against fossil fuels. To briefly explain hydro; excess energy is used to pump water from a low point to an elevated point, where it is then stored in a reservoir. This gains a gravitational energy because it is higher than the initial turbine. When power is needed it will then be released and pumped through the turbine to produce electricity as desired. Although this is not the most efficient method (as energy is lost in the process) it still serves its purpose, to keep energy flowing at a more constant rate. One benefit is that this can be bigger and therefore store more, depending on the size of the reservoir.
In late 2016 the National Grid prepared a contract to ensure a 200MW storage was supplied via 8 battery systems. These auctions were won by large energy supply companies like E-on and EDF energy, which provides us with potential for a green future. This followed from earlier signs in 2016 where we saw Shell, Mobil and Total, 3 of the largest oil companies give plans for renewable and battery twin systems. This will diversify away from petroleum and they will then invest using SunPower by Total.
When we see advances like this it means that many other companies will be fast on the case with their own technologies. In this particular case, the capacity of the battery storage will be an important factor in making market leaders. Competitors for the largest and best functioning battery will ensue, similar to how green vehicles have. Dyson have set out to invest a billion pounds into their storage development plans which will certainly be one company to look out for!
Thanks to all the investment and prospects on the horizon for battery storage in the UK and across the world, there is the added feature that increases market force of larger scaled economies. As more people begin to adopt to renewables and sustainable systems, battery storage technologies are becoming cheaper and even more reliable than others. All of these reasons serve great potential and provide the groundwork for a much more sustainable future.