A new study has found that the UK could be poised for a “breakthrough” in electricity storage, resulting in better integration of wind and solar power without requiring more high-cost peaking capacity.
The report, by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, states that the development is due in large part to an expected drop in battery prices over the coming few years.
Other storage technologies which may also see significant growth include traditional approaches such as pumped hydro and novel ones like flywheels.
According to the study, by 2020 energy storage could be in widespread use in the UK across the transmission and distribution systems, at customer sites and perhaps co-located with wind farms and solar parks.
Shu Sun, energy storage analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said the benefits from the effective introduction of storage in the could be very substantial, such as enabling the country to generate a much higher percentage of its power from renewable sources.
“The prize may be within sight, but there are obstacles that need to be cleared before the can attain it,” he said.
He added that in the short term a small number of demonstration projects would be built but for a more widespread adoption of storage in the transmission and distribution networks, appropriate mechanisms need to be built into RIIO – the revenue-equals-incentives-plus-innovation-and-outputs financing model launched in the UK by regulator Ofgem.
Yesterday, Ofgem revealed it is planning to give Scotland’s high voltage network a GBP 7bn overhaul under the RIIO.