Policy uncertainty stems flow of ‘multi-gigawatt’ pipeline of Scottish hydro power and UK renewable energy storage projects

'Here's one we made earlier." This is the 50-year old dam for the Cruachan hydro power scheme in Argyllshire operated by Scottish Power, where energy chiefs are deeply frustrated by UK policy on new pumped storage hydro.
Here’s one we made much earlier.” This is the 50-year old dam for the Cruachan hydro power scheme in Argyllshire operated by Scottish Power – where energy chiefs are deeply frustrated by UK policy on new pumped storage hydro.

The UK (mostly Scotland) has ‘multiple gigawatts’ of renewable energy storage projects pumped-up and primed to proceed – but are stalled pending ‘a better (UK) government policy framework’.

New data released by the Renewable Energy Association reveals the extent of energy storage deployment and the industry’s future growth in the UK.

There are 35 standalone grid-connected projects operating, spanning technologies from lithium-ion batteries (such as those used in mobile phones or electric vehicles) to pumped hydro systems (where water is stored in a reservoir and released through turbines when electricity demand peaks).

At least 1,500 smaller, residential-scale projects are also recorded. The cumulative electricity storage capacity operating in the UK is currently 3.23-GW.

At least 453 MW of energy storage capacity has been announced as under construction or being commissioned, in addition to the 200 MW of “enhanced frequency response” storage that was contracted by National Grid last month.

The Renewable Energy Association also highlights that the 1.2 GW of extra capacity that bid into National Grid’s Enhanced Frequency Response auction but did not win a contact ‘is a clear indication that the storage industry has matured quickly and is ready to deliver.

These extra projects will have demonstrated that they are ready to deploy and will have secured planning permission and grid connection capacity.

The Renewable Energy Association’s second edition of the Energy Storage in the UK – An Overview report is the authoritative database of energy storage projects in the UK. The REA’s energy storage sector group brings together over 100 companies operating in the UK’s energy storage supply chain.

Frank Gordon, REA Senior Policy Analyst, said: “Storage is a critical technology for the decentralisation of the UK’s energy system and will support long-term renewables deployment.

‘<UK Govt> Policy is the single greatest barrier to the industry’s growth and reform is needed.’

See also:

EXCLUSIVE: SSE keeps 600MW Highlands hydro project on ice as new report shows prospects for large-scale new UK pumped storage power plants are bleak


“Energy storage has great potential in the UK, and can unlock billions worth of savings according to the Government’s advisers. Our research indicates that there are multiple gigawatts of capacity that are being proposed or are ready to be developed, but a joined-up and supportive policy structure is critically needed.

“We need more action to unlock the opportunities and the Government’s awaited Call for Evidence should address crucial issues such as a definition for energy storage in legislation or the grid codes. We are also seeking an end to double charging of grid fees and consistent treatment when connecting to the grid, changes we have been calling for since our first Energy Storage Overview report in 2015.

“We welcome the supportive comments made by the energy minister at the Conservative Party Conference and look forward to seeing what actions he will take to support the industry’s growth.”

A copy of 2016 version of Energy Storage in the UK: An Overview can be found here,

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