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12 GW Of Battery Storage Required For UK Energy Security

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A report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Energy Storage, released at the group’s Winter Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons, analyses policy change in the UK and estimates that by the end of 2021, 12 GW of battery storage deployment is possible. The Renewable Energy Association, the report’s authors, estimates that in 2016 only 0.06 GW of battery storage was installed and operational in the UK.

12 GW of battery storage, it is argued, would have a positive impact on UK energy security, would support the creation of domestic battery manufacturing and would support the export of cutting-edge low-carbon products and services post-Brexit.

Given the current pace and nature of policy change, however, the group estimates that the “medium deployment" scenario, of 8GW of battery storage is more likely. The “low deployment" scenario, if minimal regulatory change occurs and barriers are erected to slow deployment, foresees 1.7 GW.

Peter Aldous MP (Con), Chair of the APPG on Energy Storage said: “Significant battery storage deployment is possible if the Government keeps to the targets and timelines it has already set for encouraging electricity system flexibility. Twelve Gigawatts of battery storage would improve the UK’s energy security, would help us maximise our energy self-sufficiency, and empower consumers across the country as they are more able to manage their bills and take personal action to reduce carbon emissions. Such a significant amount of battery storage deployment would also support the Government’s ambitions to develop the UK into a battery manufacturing powerhouse, evidenced in the Faraday Challenge funding announcements last week. Battery manufacturing would create new jobs and exportable expertise post-Brexit. Given the actual pace of policy change at present, however, we believe that it is more likely that a “medium" scenario of around 8GW of battery storage will be in place by the end of 2021."

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association said: “Most people in the UK know the story of renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind, the price of which has collapsed globally due to international supply chains and Government support. Recent analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that the price for these technologies could halve again in the coming years in the UK, and already they are the cheapest form of new power generation available. The UK Government and many in the industry significantly underestimated how cheap and popular solar PV was to become. Analysis at the start of the decade by the energy regulator, Ofgem, expected between 2GW and 7GW of solar to be deployed in the UK by 2030, instead over 12GW was deployed by the end of 2016. The technology and deployment patterns for battery storage and solar PV are similar, and this report is intended to drive big thinking and put the UK on the front foot, rather than react after-the-fact.Key recent changes, such as Ofgem’s ‘embedded benefits’ decision to reduce payments to smaller, decentralised power generators in addition to any potential future levies that might be imposed on decentralised generation in homes and businesses, could reduce the pace of future deployment."

The report looks at a range of factors, including projections for battery cost decline and proposed policy changes from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, the energy regulator Ofgem, and National Grid, and lays out three scenarios for battery storage deployment by the end of 2021. The report analyses battery storage deployment onsite at established solar PV and onshore wind farms, at electric vehicle charge points, connected to the transmission system, and behind-the-meter (domestic).

The report cautions that battery storage cost reductions and public popularity should not be underestimated in the way that solar PV was in the UK. The two technologies share similar characteristics in that they benefit from massive cost reductions due to a rapidly expanding global supply chain, are popular with consumers as they can assist in reducing bills, and empower consumers to generate their own low-carbon electricity. In 2011 Ofgem projected that nearly 7 GW of solar PV would be installed by 2030, but instead 12 GW was deployed by 2016. National Grid’s most optimistic forecast in Future Energy Scenarios 2017, the “consumer power scenario," forecasts 10 GW of deployment of energy storage by 2050 (which may include the existing 2.8 GW of pumped hydro currently operational). The group acknowledge the role for long-duration storage such as pumped hydro but do not include it in this analysis. The Officers of the APPG on Energy Storage are Dr Alan Whitehead MP (Lab), John McNally MP (SNP), Lord Teverson (LibDem), Hywel Williams MP (Plaid Cymru), and Alan Brown MP (SNP).


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