Market framework needed

1 February 2016

At the UK Electricity Storage Network annual meeting on 27 January, ESN director Dr Jill Cainey suggested that the UK storage market is now coming to fruition, with National Grid currently tendering for 200 MW and another 500 MW expected to be requested later this year (the 200 MW referred to being for enhanced frequency response).

The storage industry is however being restricted by lack of clarity on its classification, Dr Cainey said. "Electricity storage is a game changer for the energy industry but UK government must define it and deliver an appropriate regulatory framework...The technologies are proven and the value of storage has been demonstrated, with the appropriate market framework in place, storage could rapidly be deployed across Britain. Storage is now part of the energy debate and the ESN looks forward to hearing the government's plans for supporting the industry".

A number of utility scale storage projects are expected to come on stream across Britain this year including the 5MW/15MWh Highview liquid air energy storage project funded by the 'Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competition', run by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) (see opposite page).

The UK government has committed more than £80 million of funding to support research and design in electricity storage programmes across the UK, including £30 million committed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop five academic centres across Britain.

The storage market is expected to undergo huge growth over the next few years with Eunomia reporting that the market in the UK could deliver over 1.6 GW of capacity by 2020. In October 2015 an independent National Infrastructure Commission was launched, charged with offering unbiased analysis of the UK's long-term infrastructure needs. The NIC has identified storage as a key solution for improving grid resilience and developing a low carbon electricity grid.

Electricity storage is now taking centre stage around the world as a key solution for balancing electricity networks. Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and multinational companies including General Electric, Bill Gates, Total and Tesla are now investing heavily in utility scale storage.


(Originally published in MPS February 2016)

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