Renewables chiefs say energy storage holds the key to solving UK capacity crunch

Will the lights go out this winter?
Will the lights go out this winter?

With the UK closing some of its most polluting power stations, there is a risk of blackouts over the winter.

Highest risk in a decade this year of winter power cuts as UK grid capacity margin falls to 1.2%

National grid has taken steps to prevent this, securing 2.56 GW of power through the capacity mechanism, costing a reported £36 million.

Old power stations will continue to be decommissioned showing the need for a new strategy in this area or the costs will continue to rise each year.

However, energy storage represents a huge opportunity for cost savings and grid management. Storage would help provide energy security in the long-term and alleviate short term issues caused by intermittent generation. Storage now faces regulatory and legislative barriers to level the playing field to achieve breakthrough in the UK.

A spokesman for the Renewable Energy Association – the largest UK renewables body – said: “It is essential that the government adopts new technologies to solve these ongoing grid problems, both to prevent increasing bills for consumers and to provide energy security.

“The REA is calling for a coherent national grid strategy that recognises the importance of solar and energy storage and the role they can play in solving grid issues.”

A new report on solar in the UK will be released this week to explain how energy storage would operate in the grid alongside solar and will show how, as part of a coordinated strategy storage can help the UK move away from carbon intensive generation.

Solar is the fastest growing generation technology with over 8 GW installed already in the UK. Combined with energy storage solar can also be one of the most flexible sources of power, even contributing to peak demand in winter.

The REA set up UK Energy Storage earlier this year to drive forward this emerging industry, and represents over 50 leading companies active in this area.

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