With 20GW+ of wind and solar generation connected to the UK’s electricity system and more to come, there will be an increasing need for energy storage.
As in Australia, the UK’s energy storage revolution is about to get under way.
A report prepared by KPMG LLP at the request of the UK’s Renewable Energy Association (REA) indicates storage may soon be economic for both domestic and business prosumers in certain circumstances.
The case for early adopters purchasing is bolstered by nonfinancial buying criteria; such as a desire to reduce reliance on the mains grid. Battery systems are expected to become generally economic for these UK households and businesses that already have existing solar power systems from around 2017.
“Since 2012 costs for domestic solar PV systems in the UK have fallen by 40% and further cost reductions are expected,” states the report. ” Similarly, Lithium ion battery storage costs are also falling at a similar rate of around 10% per annum.”
For large scale energy storage, KPMG found it’s already economic in certain circumstances, but the relative newness of storage technologies may mean funding barriers to commercial deployment continue to pose a challenge.
A number of significant battery storage projects have already been constructed in the UK, including a 6MW/10MWh installation at Woodman Close substation in Leighton Buzzard and the 10MW Kilroot Advancion Energy Storage Array in Northern Ireland.
Energy storage in general will bring a number of benefits to the UK’s grid; including lower electricity costs, decreased network investment, balancing local demand and supply and an increasing contribution to decarbonisation.
“2016 is going to be the breakthrough year for energy storage and the growth of decentralised energy,” said REA Chief Executive Dr Nina Skorupska CBE; who pointed out the cost of renewables is continually decreasing while gas and nuclear was needing increasing government support.
“We are not asking government for subsidies, what we need is a stable policy environment that has been so lacking in the past year, coupled with a common sense approach to regulation and the ability to fully participate in the electricity market.”
The report, “Development of decentralised energy and storage systems in the UK”, can be viewed in full here (PDF).