Latest Electricity Storage Network News
One of the things the Electricity Storage Network Symposium next week will achieve is a clear plan on how to get enough recognition of the benefits of storage for the network as well as individual users
Storage should be a system asset. If you don't have a means of implementing a strategy for storage, it is likely you're going to end up with unintended consequences such as stranded assets, with nasty implications for the system.
If you look at the support given to put solar PV on peoples' roofs, it's great that we've got the market going, but the result is that we have clusters where there's a surplus of generation at peak times during the day. If we had real-time pricing we'd be seeing real negative prices at around lunchtime with difficulties of controlling the network at a huge additional cost to local network operators. If you prevent the network operator from putting in storage, who's going to put in storage to take advantage of the local generation peak? Because it won't necessarily be solved by plants that are providing enhanced frequency response. We need different types of storage to do different things.
The ESN and its members have a key role to play in getting recognition of all the benefits of storage to the UK economy, security of supply and to end-user bills. Many of the sessions at the Electricity Storage Network Symposium will focus not just on the technological challenges that have to be overcome but the economic and communications issues that are also important to ensure electricity storage plays its proper role in the UK grid at all levels.
DNO a major storage problem
The question of DNO ownership of storage assets was a major issue in , and is set to be a considerable factor in shaping the future of our energy system. Here at ESN we want to deal with this question head on, and hope to debate this further with over 100 other delegates at nour Symposium event later this month.
In the UK, as with many major world markets, distribution network operators (DNOs), are prohibited from owning storage assets. The argument against the network operating storage is that they would then be involved in buying and selling electricity, counter to their distribution license and generate a risk that the market will be open to undue manipulation. This is a little bit of a red herring because everything that a network operator does concerns the movement of electricity – they’re trying to operate their network at the lowest cost. Something that must do as a condition of their license. They need to offer best value to their customers so if by putting storage in they can lower the whole cost of operating the network, surely that’s something they should do.
There seems to be an argument that says, the network operator shouldn’t be allowed to do that because they have access to low-cost capital, preferential planning rights and so can have “unfair” advantages over third party developers. If the storage ownership restrictions do give third party developers an advantage or at worst a level playing field, we should be seeing a boom in private storage projects being developed rather than the current trickle of test sites and pilot schemes.
DNOs should not be the only parties allowed to put in storage, nor will they put in the majority of storage but they should be able to put in storage as part of a sensible, sustainable and efficient network management strategy.
The DNO prohibition given the lack of third part investment is stopping the development of electricity storage solutions. I only hope that we don’t live to regret it in 10 or 20 years’ time when we go through the next iteration of market rules.
I’m looking forward to debating the relative metrics of storage ownership regulations at the Electricity Storage Network Symposium on 25 January.
A licence to grow – the need for clear definitions in the electricity storage market
Here at the Electricity Storage Network we are about to press send on our response to Ofgem and BEIS’ Call for Evidence. The Call for Evidence is expected to inform policy on everything from time-of-use electricity pricing to EV chargers on the network.
We have for several years been calling loudly for acceleration in storage deployment in the UK, advocating for 2,000MW by 2020. We feel that this level of deployment is not only desirable but also perfectly achievable if the Government makes the right policy decisions.
Some progress looks to be being made in providing clarity in the regulation and definition of storage, following ESN’s prompting. BEIS and Ofgem are asking for evidence for and against licensing, using our license proposal or our definition as a basis for the changes to legislation and regulation. A properly constructed licensing regime will provide a clearer pathway for electricity storage to be defined as its own asset class. That won’t be a panacea as all it does it provide a clear definition. But it is an important initial step – and the first step is always the most difficult.
Given the implications of definition storage and where it sits in the industry value-chain, only a licence will provide the needed clarity for the investment in storage to ramp-up. Storage has huge implications for so many different parts of the energy sector - planning, business rates, operation and connection agreements are just a few of the most obvious ones.
We hope this Call for Evidence by BEIS and OFGEM, will be the start of a major, and quick, agreement on defining and licensing the electricity storage sector. Although it’s taken a long time for the baby to be delivered, the baby’s going to grow up very quickly. That’s our hope and our message to the teams at BEIS and Ofgem is that the ESN is here to help them through on this transition.
Let’s cautiously rejoice – three years ago we didn’t have a storage team at DECC or Ofgem. Those teams are now in place because we asked for them and ministers and senior civil servants recognised the need for them. Everything is getting lined up to make it a good exciting future for electricity storage!
The Electricity Storage Network’s Annual Symposium will be hearing more form Government representatives and debating with them the best policy for storage in the UK.
We ain’t seen nothing yet!
It’s traditional at this time of year to both reflect on the past year and look forward to the year ahead.
I think 2016 will go down as a good year for electricity storage. At ESN, our membership has grown to over 150 representatives of electricity storage companies, research and development organisations, and academic institutions. Our Symposium last January was another great success with a range of discussions, presentations and networking opportunities with delegates from across the industry including a keynote speech from the then-Energy Minister Amber Rudd. We have been invited to speak on multiple occasions to the Energy and Climate Change Committee, and have enjoyed spreading the message about the benefits of electricity storage alongside our members at a variety of events and conferences.
It wasn’t so long ago that electricity storage was seen as a mythical possibility but 2016 saw it transform into an essential viability. The 2016 NIC report, Energy and Climate Change Committee final report and the policy exchange report on storage all highlighted the vital role energy storage will have in future energy policy. These respected and robust reports also showed that energy storage does not need direct subsidies – a vital message with the need to solve the energy trilemma of developing sustainable, reliable and inexpensive electricity supply. Last year we welcomed the launch of a number of successful projects by our members, and the success for electricity storage in the recent Capacity Market auction (501MW batteries) and the EFR tender (201MW).
Looking ahead, it is clear that the main barrier to electricity storage is policy, not technology. There is still a need to reform grid charging, develop a storage asset class, and remove the barriers to storage ownership by DNOs. The joint evidence gathering exercise announced by BEIS and OFGEM, closing in mid-January, does indicate that the UK Government is keen to hear from the industry on the best way to progress.
As well as building on 2016’s momentum, 2017 will be all about doing things differently. We are excited to see the sector evolve as new players will be entering the market on both a grid and community scale.
The UK has a huge opportunity with electricity storage. Deploying storage does not need a direct subsidy, it provides suitable employment for thousands, and enhances the competitiveness of UK PLCs by lowering costs. Passing up this opportunity will see the lights dimming in the UK, both literally and metaphorically.
The Electricity Storage Network will play a leading role in ensuring that these opportunities are exploited for the UK. How we’ll do this will be debated at our Annual Symposium on 25th January.
BEIS/Ofgem 'A Smart, Flexible, Energy System' Consultation
The Electricity Storage Network is delighted that the Government and the energy regulator have launched their Call for Evidence on System Flexibility which covers the regulatory issues that impact on the successful deployment of electricity storage. http://bit.ly/2fEVPHG . The call for evidence recognises the barriers to electricity storage, including connection to the network, charges for use of the network, the absence of a definition in legislation and the role of final consumption levies on storage.
Dr Jill Cainey said “It has been wonderful to have people specifically focusing on storage at both BEIS and Ofgem since early 2015 and they have an excellent grasp of the many complex issues that need to be resolved to ensure rapid deployment and the robust development of the UK electricity storage industry.” As part of a BEIS industrial strategy, the UK has the potential to capture a large proportion of what is potentially a £280bn global market.
BSI asks for comments on draft standard on safety for lithium ion batteries
The BSI needs comments on a draft international standard for safety requirements for lithium ion batteries for stationary applications. The draft ( reference DPC 16/30350625 DC ) is now available for public comment and we wanted to bring this to members' attention as it is extremely relevant to the current and future deployment of electrical energy storage.
EU WINTER PACKAGE INCLUDES MEASURES FOR STORAGE
The EU’s draft “Winter Package” was released yesterday. These packages are important for continuing to open up energy markets and secure access for all to the most affordable, sustainable, and secure forms of energy.
The Electricity Storage Network welcomes the Commission’s recognition in the Winter Package of the increasing importance of energy storage in the wider energy system. The Package gives additional impetus to the BEIS/Ofgem call for evidence on “A Smart, Flexible, Energy System,” and the need to remove the regulatory and market barriers to storage such that it can participate in the energy and service markets (notably Capacity Mechanism and ancillary services) on an equal footing with generation and demand.
The measures explicitly include removal of discriminatory network charges (double-charging for demand and generation), and point also to the need to remove double-charging of consumption levies – two of ESN’s key requests to policymakers.
The measures from Brussels also set out the requirements and restrictions on network companies to own and operate assets. ESN will work to ensure that these rules are interpreted in a way that ensure best value for the British consumer, by defining storage as a separate asset class.
A proposed EU “DSO Entity” will parallel the current ENTSO-E entity on transmission, to ensure that the role of distribution networks, including on storage, is developed in a coherent manner.
Regardless of future decisions around the UK’s role in Europe, the Electricity Storage Network will work together with our colleagues at the European Association for the Storage of Energy (EASE), to learn from experience in the EU and to input our own experience from the UK, to ensure that the policy framework for energy markets, including for storage, is sensible, fair, and robust.
According to the National Infrastructure Commission, a smart energy system, including storage, could save the British consumer £3-£8bn a year by 2030, while the global market for storage is worth some £280bn. We need to press on to ensure that UK consumers get a fair deal and that UK industry takes a leadership role on this agenda.
The press release is via this .
Evidence provided to last session of ECC Committee
Jill Cainey appeared in front of the Energy and Climate Change (ECC) Select Committee on Tuesday 11th October to provide evidence on electricity storage. This was the last session for the ECC committee as they are abolished on 17 October, with energy to be covered by the former BIS Select Committee.
Click picture for the video:
Members secure 45 MW in EFR tender
RES and Belectric secured 4 year contracts for National Grid's new EFR Service, worth £18.85 million for at total of 45 MW (RES secured 35 MW and Belectric 10 MW). Belectric plan to deliver their battery in October 2017, while RES hope to deliver their battery in February 2018. Both bid just under £12 per MW.
37 companies, including other members, offered bids for 64 sites, ranging from £6.97/MW for 10 MW for delivery in December 2017 (Low Carbon Investment Company Ltd, with two successful bids at £9.38/MW for 40 MW and £.7.84/MW for 10 MW, both for delivery in December 2017) and £63.8/MW for 30 MW (BMU, not storage) for delivery in December 2016 from DRAX. The average bid price was £21.7/MW, while the average price for successful bids was £9.78/MW.
Of the 64 sites, 2 were offering demand side response (3 %) and 20 were existing BMUs (31 %). Storage represented 66 % of the projects bid, ranging from 1 MW to 49.9 MW.
While the price for the EFR Service was lower than many in the industry anticipated, this represents good value for he consumer with National Grid saying that the EFR Service will save £200 million in system balancing costs to the consumer.
We eagerly await deployment of the successful projects and hope that this is just the start of the role for electricity storage in delivering a sustainable and economic system.
AES to deploy 37.5 MW of Advancion® Energy Storage in USA
AES has entered into two contracts with San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) to install and commission two energy storage arrays totaling 37.5 MW using its Advancion® energy storage solution at sites in San Diego County, California. The SDG&E-owned energy storage arrays will help to improve regional reliability and integrate greater amounts of renewable energy when operational by the end of January 2017 - less than 5 months away.
The SDG&E Advancion arrays will be able to provide 37.5 MW of power for four continuous hours and serve as a 75 MW of flexible resource to the grid. The arrays will be installed at two SDG&E substation facilities: 30 MW in Escondido and 7.5 MW in El Cajon. Once completed, the Escondido array will be the largest battery-based energy storage project in operation in the United States. Both arrays will incorporate components from best-in-class Advancion certified suppliers, including batteries by Samsung SDI and power conversion systems by Parker Hannifin.
AES Kilroot Battery Wins Award
AES UK and Ireland was announced as the winner of the inaugural Energy Storage Award at the eleventh annual British Renewable Energy Awards for the Kilroot Advancion® Energy Storage Array. The 10 MW array, equivalent to 20 MW of flexible resource, was delivered to market in under a year, operates on a commercial basis and is the largest in the UK and Ireland. The award recognises AES’ leadership in advancing reliable energy storage technology in the UK and the role of storage as the missing piece to energy policy in the UK.
“We are honoured to receive this award, recognising the role of AES energy storage in unlocking the value of existing UK investment in renewable energy,” said AES UK & Ireland President Carla Tully. “Advancion is proven and available to meet the needs of the rapidly changing energy market in the UK, supporting a low carbon economy and security of supply, without subsidy.”
Robin McCormick, General Manager of SONI explains how the Kilroot Battery Array is providing support for the Northern Ireland system operator: “In Northern Ireland we’ve had specific challenges as we’ve set ambitious targets for renewable energy and the market signals have delivered a lot of wind turbines on to our system. Because we’re an island system that creates technical challenges for us and obviously it’s a huge benefit for someone who’s trying to balance energy consumption and generation on a minute by minute basis to have some form of storage. We’ve enjoyed the journey with AES in terms of bringing this into a reality.”
Highview Power Limited - "Cool" Video
The new video animation explains how Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES) technology works and its key benefits as Highview is preparing to start operating its new 5MW LAES technology Pre-Commercial Demonstrator, which is currently being commissioned in Greater Manchester. LAES is an innovative large scale, long duration energy storage solution which uses liquid air or liquid nitrogen as the storage medium to deliver between, 5MW to 200MWs+ of power for utility and distributed power systems.
In 2014, Highview and project partners, leading UK recycling and renewable energy company Viridor, were awarded more than £8 million from the UK Government Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) to build a LAES technology plant.
Highview’s LAES systems are made up of ‘off the shelf’ components from a well-established global supply chain, with thousands of hours of run time, resulting in a low technology risk and if integrated with renewables, LAES can help maintain green credentials, as it gives off no harmful emissions, uses no scarce materials and requires no complex recycling.
RES to deliver 20 MW of Rapid Frequency Response
RES and National Grid have signed a four year contract that will see RES provide 20MW of frequency response from battery storage. RES and National Grid have been working together to develop this innovative service since 2014 and contributed to National Grid’s upcoming tender for 200MW of Enhanced Frequency Response.
The battery storage systems will be fully operational within 18 months and will provide cost effective dynamic frequency response to the grid within one second of the detection of a frequency deviation.
A week for reports on electricity storage
Two reports this week provide convincing arguments in support of the need for electricity storage. On Wednesday, The Carbon Trust published “Can storage help reduce the cost of a future UK electricity system” which stresses the value of storage to the whole system.
On Friday, The National Infrastructure Commission published “Smart Power” setting out the priorities for the UK to develop its electricity infrastructure. One third of the report is about electricity storage, setting a target `of 15 GW of new storage by 2030.
The ESN submitted evidence to the NIC’s enquiry and we provided live interviews on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland and BBC Radio 5’s Live Breakfast programme.
AES Launch 10 MW Battery at Kilroot
AES UK & Ireland today officially launched the AES Kilroot Advancion® Energy Storage Array along with Junior Ministers Jennifer McCann and Emma Pengelly from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, along with 120 visitors from Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, Europe and the United States. The event was followed by a tour with deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
Since 5 January 2016, the Array has been operating as a fully commercial project within the system operator’s existing Harmonised Ancillary Services system. Additionally, Innovate UK is providing Energy Catalyst funding for Queen’s University Belfast to investigate the full potential of energy storage to benefit the UK and Ireland electricity systems by analysing the impact of this array.
Jill Cainey gives evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee
Dr Jill Cainey, Director of Electricity Storage Network, gave evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee on 12th January 2016 as part of the inquiry into connecting low carbon infrastructure and intermittency.
Dr Jill Cainey gives evidence to the Welsh Environment and Sustainability Committee
Dr Jill Cainey, the Director of the Electricity Storage Network, gave evidence to the Welsh National Assembly Environment and Sustainability Committee on 13 January 2016 as part of their inquiry into "A Smarter Energy Future for Wales".
AES Announces Completion of the UK’s Biggest Battery Energy Storage Array
Electricity Storage Network Sponsor Member, AES UK & Ireland, has announced the completion of the Kilroot Advancion® Energy Storage Array, located in Kilroot Power Station in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. The Array provides 10 megawatts (MW) of interconnected energy storage, equivalent to 20 MW of flexible resource, and is the largest advanced energy storage system in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the only such system at transmission scale, supporting a reliable, low carbon electricity system for the Northern Ireland economy.
The Array utilises over 53,000 batteries, arranged in 136 separate Nodes for increased reliability, and the patented Advancion control system, which responds to grid changes in less than a second.
RES - FIRST ENERGY STORAGE PROJECT IN THE UK
Electricity Storage Network Sponsor Member, RES, has announced its first UK contract to build and support a battery energy storage system. This contract represents one of the first energy storage projects in the UK to be delivered under a fully-wrapped Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract.
RES has signed the EPC contract with Western Power Distribution (WPD) for a project which will demonstrate nine different applications of energy storage on the grid. It will be installed alongside a British Solar Renewables Ltd (BSR) solar park south of Glastonbury, in Somerset. The centre-piece of the WPD initiative is the 300kVA/640kWh battery energy storage system. The electricity storage system will be supplied by BYD and will be fully self-contained including hundreds of individual battery cells, power conversion equipment and safety and monitoring systems.
ESN Members Attend European Utility Week in Vienna
Steve Jones (S&S Electric), David Green (Moixa Technology) and Nick Kitchin (Cumulus Energy) at European Utility Week, Vienna
National Infrastructure Commission - Storage
The Chancellor announced on Monday 5 October the creation of an independent National Infrastructure Commission, covering transport, building and energy infrastructureThe NIC will be chaired by Lord Adonis and will specifically deliver future proof energy infrastructure including large-scale storage, by helping to bring down costs:
Delivering future proof energy infrastructure
The UK’s power sector has a growing problem in matching demand and supply, meaning that keeping the lights on requires a level of redundancy in the system – generation which is not always used. The NIC will look at how to optimise solutions to this problem, including through large scale power storage – where innovation is needed to bring down costs; demand management – how to incentivise flexibility in demand so we don’t need as many power stations; and interconnection – how we best link the UK to the markets in the rest of Europe.
The NIC and Treasury will consult widely on national needs and we will represent member interests during this process. For more information visit the link
Wednesday 9 September 2015 - ESN represents members at the highest level...
Photograph by Ian Davidson
29th April - Electricity Storage Network goes International!
Last week the IET hosted its annual Energy Lecture 2015 in India. Anthony Price, director of the Electricity Storage Network, gave a talk on 'Electricity storage in a renewable world'.
21st April - £3.7m awarded to research energy storage in the UK
University of Warwick, Nottingham and Loughborough have been awarded £3.7m in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. This five-year research programme will focus on the technical and economic issues faced by integrating large grid scale energy storage with the energy network.
21st April - 'UK must embrace energy storage'
Recent news article published in reNEWs stresses the need for energy storage in the UK and outlines how storage technology could lower consumer costs, create jobs and develop a more secure, efficient energy system.
21st April - Dr Jill Cainey speaks on Energy Storage at Renewable Energy Marketplace 2015 Westpoint Arena,
Everything you need to know about renewable energy, energy efficiency measures and generation. Dr Jill Cainey, from the Electricity Storage Network, will be speaking about energy storage alongside Ben Bowler, from Siemens. This session will cover the different types of storage available on the market, how they work and what they cost. It will also look at some examples of storage in practice and how the technology is likely to develop in the future.
15th April - Energy Storage briefing from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
'The Government lists energy storage as one of eight great technologies in which the UK can become a global leader. This briefing outlines the roles of energy storage in the electricity, heat and transport sectors and describes the technologies used from the household level up. It also discusses current barriers and policies for energy storage and potential future uptake.'
12th March - The ESN welcomes recommendations on electricity storage from the House of Lords.
The recent report on 'The Resilience of the Electricity System' from the Science and Technology Select Committee (1st Report of Session 2014–15) recommended that the Government should improve the market framework, so that investment in electricity storage is stimulated.
Ed Davey is also quoted as saying '“For me, the alchemy for energy policy is storage'. Full report can be accessed here.
4th March Anthony Price at Ecobuild 2015
On the 5th of March Director of the Electricity Storage Network, Anthony Price, spoke in the Green Energy Seminar Stream at the Ecobuild conference. He addressed the title 'Understanding the policy landscape and the potential for storage'.
For more information about the conference please visit: www.ecobuild.co.uk
UK energy minister defends record on energy
Speaking at the Electricity Storage Network's 2015 Symposium last month, Energy Minister Amber Rudd defended the Government's record on energy storage policy. Current policy is limited, and ESN members argue there lacks an overarching policy direction on energy storage in the UK. During questions, Rudd maintained much of the UK energy policy was 'under review', including the status of the Feed in Tariff, recent capacity market problems, support for innovative technologies, and the development of a national energy storage plan. The Minister did however praise recent developments in the industry, showcased at the ESN Symposium, including Moixa's new demonstration project. Read the full article here.
28th January Electricity Storage Network Annual Symposium
The Electricity Storage Network Annual Symposium was held on Wednesday the 28th January. The conference aimed to discuss how energy storage should move from innovation and demonstration to implementation.
Presentations from the winners of DECC funding for energy storage projects kicked off the day in style. We were delighted to hear the positive comments about energy storage, from Amber Rudd, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. ‘Energy storage innovation could save the UK energy system more than £4billion by 2050’. Her full speech can be accessed here.
The topic for sessions two was ‘What could business as usual look like for electrical storage’. This panel discussion stimulated some lively debate and brought up important questions about the regulatory barriers to energy storage. ‘Defining policy and looking forward’ was the title of the final session for the day. In response to feedback from our recent consultation document, The Electricity Storage Network presented how we intend to support the shift of energy storage from demonstration to implementation. This includes working with complementary organisations, such as the REA, and continuing to put pressure on government and Ofgem for an energy strategy that recognises the value of storage.
Thank you to all who attended the event, in particular our speakers. For more photos from the day visit our Twitter page .
The Electricity Storage Network attends the launch of the 'largest battery in Europe'
The Electricity Storage Network was invited to the launch of UK Power Networks 6MW/10MWh battery trial, often quoted as the ‘largest battery in Europe’. The battery has been developed under the Smarter Network Storage project.The Electricity Storage Network members were well represented in the project team, which included Swanbarton, S&C Electric Europe and Younicos.
Amber Rudd, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change officially switched on the facility and was very supportive of energy storage. ‘We all know that there is a constant challenge of making sure we keep up with energy demand and reducing the energy carbon footprint. The best way to do that is surely to develop electricity storage in this way’.
UK Power Networks switches on 'largest battery in Europe'
UK Power Networks switched on their 6MW/10MWh battery in Leighton Buzzard yesterday. The Electricity Storage Network was there to see all the action.
Could 2015 be the year Energy Storage goes Primetime?
Breaking Energy suggest that the 2015 could be the year that major purchasing of energy storage begins. Read the full article online
Anthony Price interviewed by The Guardian: How can we store energy for a calm and cloudy day?
Anthony Price represents the Electricity Storage Network at the House of Lords
The Electricity Storage Network attends the PRASEG Conference
Representatives from all the major political parties discussed their future energy polices and responded to enquiries from the floor. In particular Amber Rudd, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, made it clear that DECC, and the current Government, want DNOs to have the ability to ‘manage their systems’ just like the ‘National Grid balances’ the grid. She also highlighted storage as one of the important, new technologies in solving the ‘Trilemma’. Likewise, Duncan Brack, Vice Chair of the Liberal Democrat Manifesto Group indicated that electricity storage would receive funding support as part of their energy policy. Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow Energy Minister, included electricity storage as one of a number of technologies that would receive support from a Labour Government..
Earlier in the conference Doug Parr, Chief Scientist for Greenpeace highlighted the development of storage as a player in the global energy industry, exemplified by the fact that by 2018 40% of U.S homes will be powered by solar and storage, without the need for a grid connection.
Anthony Price interviewed by European Utility Week
Anthony Price, Director of the Electricity Storage Network was interviewed as part the Energy Storage Panel at the European Utility Week 2014.
Chief Executive of REA: 'The next big thing in renewables is not renewable - it's storage'
The REA announces that energy storage is a new strategic priority for the Association. In the following article Chief Executive Dr Nina Skorupska explains why. Five years ago, solar PV was among the most expensive renewable technologies and had no place in the government's renewable energy plans. Today, its costs are falling faster than any other energy technology in history and it has its own dedicated government strategy.
Over half a million homes have turned their roofs into power stations. Ground-mounted solar farms were the UK's fastest growing source of new power capacity last year. In all likelihood, PV will become the first low carbon power technology to become subsidy-free, possibly by the end of the decade. The moral of the story is that technologies that have transformative potential can do extraordinary things that for a long time seemed unlikely, if not impossible.
Where solar PV was five years ago, energy storage is today. This is in large part thanks to a factory in Sunderland and a department in Westminster. The factory is making lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). The department, DfT, is driving EVs forward because it sees in them a solution to urban air quality issues and, further down the road when the UK has more low carbon power, a means of helping to prevent dangerous climate change. Until we have more low carbon power, our best bet for decarbonising transport is sustainable biofuels, both current and advanced, which will also continue to be needed for sectors that cannot be easily electrified, such as freight and aviation.
What's really neat though is that R&D in the EV sector can actually accelerate the expansion of low carbon power generation from renewables. Talk about a virtuous circle!
The reason is that, quite simply, lithium ion batteries are a great electricity storage solution for homes and businesses, as well as electric vehicles. You can store the power generated by your panels when supply outstrips demand (e.g. on a sunny day when you're out the house) and then tap it when you need it (e.g. when you get home late from work and want to binge-watch House of Cards in preparation for the General Election next year). Typical daily household PV generation matches daily household electricity demand pretty well, so with storage, you could actually reduce your electricity bills to practically zero.
What's even more exciting for those half a million households with panels on the roof is that a lot of second-hand batteries will soon become available from current EV owners, because while these batteries only typically last three years in a car, they can last up to 10 years in non-mobile applications, such as your house.
We’ve enlisted the UK’s leading solar expert Ray Noble to focus on unlocking the opportunities for storage at this scale. However, it's not just households that can benefit from storage. Storage could revolutionise the way the national electricity grid is balanced to ensure that supply always matches demand. For example, when supply outstrips demand unexpectedly, electricity could be stored instead of simply turning turbines off, and then released later. Conceivably, storage could eventually do away with the need for constraint payments, meaning a better deal for generators and consumers alike. On the other hand, when demand outstrips supply, storage could kick in to provide the extra power that's needed instead of having to power up fossil fuel generation.
At the moment though, policy is doing little to boost the role of storage in grid balancing. The Capacity Market does not provide much support to storage, with only two storage projects having achieved pre-qualification. Unlike fossil generation, once a store is empty, it takes time to refill (e.g. to pump water back uphill into a pumped hydro reservoir). So while a storage site could benefit by kicking in when the Capacity Market requires it, it could also be penalised if it has recently released its power and has not had time to recharge. This is why when writing our Manifesto we enlisted the support of Anthony Price of the Electricity Storage Network to call for a dedicated offer for electricity storage under the EMR framework, as well as continued investment in developing pioneering technologies like hydrogen fuel cells and compressed air storage.
Ultimately, storage, renewables and EVs all need each other. With joined up thinking, we can realise the full potential of all these technologies. As PV is closest to grid parity, it is likely to be the main driver for storage in renewables in the near future. But advances in storage will also benefit other variable technologies too, like wind and wave, not to mention EVs of course.
We are kicking off this joined up thinking in our Distributed Energy Forum in 2015, which will include dedicated support for energy storage for our members.
With these new tools, people and services, the REA will work with members and key players in storage and renewables to persuade the Government of the need for joined up policies to support storage and distributed energy, to minimise the costs and maximise the benefits of the shift to renewable energy.
It's an exciting time...
An edited version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen on the 16th October 2014.
The Electricity Storage Network calls for a national strategy for electricity storage as it presses for a 2000 MW target for additional electrical energy storage.
With an increasing interest in all forms of energy storage, and electricity storage in particular, the Electricity Storage Network’s campaign for a national strategy continues to gain attention. Electricity storage should be a key part of our electricity system, and a plan to increase the use of storage is essential if we are to benefit from this important technology.
The Electricity Storage Network has published its Infographic, which may be downloaded from this site.
If you have a large format printer, such as A3 download Click here
If you have an A4 or equivalent printer, you may wish to download Click here
For on screen viewing, Click here
PRASEG Parliamentary Reception and launch of ESN report 'Development of Electricity Storage in the National Interest'
PRASEG hosted, in association with the Electricity Storage Network, a reception entitled, ‘Electricity Storage in the Future Vision for a Lower Cost Sustainable Energy System’. This event was sponsored by RES, Poyry, , and Parker Energy Grid Tie. Speakers addressed the important future role for Electricity Storage in our electricity system and the benefits it can deliver for the UK.
This reception explored recent developments in electricity storage technology, including those being delivered by District Network Operators through the Low Carbon Network Fund and discuss the potential and benefits of further investment in this sector. The reception also showcased a new vision statement by the Electricity Storage Network making recommendations on the policy framework needed to support the development of a lower cost and sustainable energy system
Electricity Storage and Electricity Market Reform
The Energy Act has now been passed and the decision making process is now going through the detail of the secondary legislation. Electricity storage is able to participate in the Capacity Market, although the rules and details of its operation are not as favourable as we would like. ESN staff and members are in discussion with DECC officials about details of the implementation of the Capacity Market. We continue to press for a role for storage which demonstrates its real value.
DECC Energy Storage Competition - Winners announced!
The first tranche of winners in the DECC energy storage competition have now been announced: congratulations to ESN member REDT, who have been awarded £3.6 million to build and demonstrate their flow battery system.
The weblink is here. We applaud all the winners in the competition - the total of £5 million awarded is great news, but we continue to press the government to ensure that there is a role for electricity storage in the electricity market of the future.
Solar Power Portal, ESN warns that energy storage delays could cost taxpayers £100 milllion a year'
Energy Storage Journal: Electricity Storage: is the UK letting an opportunity slip away?
Debate on energy and electricity storage during committee stage of Energy Bill
During the committee stage of the Energy Bill, there was a debate for about one hour on energy and electricity storage. The amendment covering electricity storage starts at 1 h 43 min into the debate.
Lord Stephen introduced his amendment, he set out the background to why storage is important:
"Making major inroads into reducing our reliance on fossil fuels for transport and heating will require even more renewable energy and, almost certainly, even more renewable electricity. One of the most important answers and, I would argue, the most central one, is storage. I do not know what sort of storage it will be but it will probably be big.....
"We will place more and more reliance on renewable generation, but the output from both solar photovoltaic and wind generation is time variable. Photovoltaic is the best example of that. This means that we need a method to balance the output to make it useful for our electricity system. There are suggestions that the problem could be solved by more interconnectors and adding more flexible gas fire generation through the capacity payments system, switching demand or just averaging out the renewable generation over the whole country. However, recent reports to DECC point out that interconnectors cannot be relied on as a source for balancing services and demand response is not a complete solution.
Electricity storage is a perfectly valid and achievable method to provide system balancing. It can absorb and reject power and act as reserve capacity to cover short or long-term interruptions. Through trading, it smoothes prices and so reduces the overall system cost. By reducing the peak demands on the system, it lowers the investment costs of our distribution networks; by absorbing energy from our wind farms and PV installations at times of low demand, storage lowers the carbon intensity of our electricity industry. Electricity storage remains one technology that does not receive support or any form of secure income stream under the Energy Bill proposals."
He referred to our target of 2 GW of new electricity storage by 2020 and asked for Government support for that point.
Viscount Hanworth supported the need for storage, with illustrations of the value of pumped hydro and other technologies
Baroness Worthington provided a very complete summary of a range of storage technologies, applications and installations, and raised the very important issue of ownership and operation of electricity storage under the present licensing conditions.
She pointed out:
"What the sector is really looking for is a clear signal that it will be able to participate in the capacity mechanism and that there will be a way in which it can compete against the other potential sources of capacity that will be brought forward. The problem is that we are dealing with what is essentially quite a new set of technologies which is facing all the challenges that you would associate with that. Potentially, these technologies could be commercially viable, but they are not yet. How can they compete in a capacity market that essentially seeks to be technology neutral and provide one price for all? This is a contradiction in the proposals being made by the Government that really needs to be thought through."
In reply, the Minister, Baroness Verma said:
"The Government agreed that technologies that can be used to help balance the supply and demand of electricity, such as energy storage systems and demand-side response and interconnection, are increasingly likely to be required. This was the conclusion in DECC’s report, Electricity System: Assessment of Future Challenges, which was published in August 2012.
Energy storage systems can be used to store surplus electrical energy for use at times of high demand. They help to match the supply and demand of electricity efficiently and cost-effectively. Technology companies in the UK and elsewhere are actively developing energy storage systems which could help to address the problems associated with intermittency of supply. However, different energy storage technologies are currently at different stages of development and further innovation and development is needed to reduce the costs and thus make storage technologies applicable to wider deployment.
The department therefore identified energy storage systems as a priority area for funding under its Innovation Programme. We then consulted with storage technology developers and users, as well as other public sector innovation funders, before developing a plan to help support the development of storage systems. This led, in October 2012, to the department launching two innovation competitions to support research, development and demonstration of energy storage systems. As a result of these competitions, funding has already been awarded to 16 energy storage projects, and in the autumn DECC expects to announce details of up to our energy storage demonstration pilots, which it will be supporting during the current spending review period. The aim of these pilot projects is to demonstrate the scope for cost reduction of innovative energy storage technologies and to explore the opportunities for deployment of energy storage technologies to address a wide range of future UK electricity network balancing and other storage needs.
The department is taking this matter very seriously and that there is considerable work in hand without a statutory requirement.
The extract from the Lords Hansard for the grand Committee Debate for 30 July may be read
July 2013 We continue to press for increased recognition of the role of electricity storage within our power systems
We continue to press for increased recognition of the role of electricity storage within our power systems. Unfortunately there seems to be a barrier to opening policy makers' minds: Although electricity storage may be able to operate within the Capacity Market in Great Britain, this alone does not provide the incentive for deployment of electricity storage at the scale that we need. An extract from the Lords Hansard ( the account of parliamentary business ) for 18 July may be readhere
Lord Grantchester asked:
"As our system includes more variable renewable generation, it will become increasingly important to encourage electricity storage.
The Government are currently directing £50 million into grid scale research and demonstrations in electricity storage. However, without a route to market, that money would be wasted. Electricity storage has the potential to provide savings of more than £10 billion per year by 2050—that is £400 per household—but no savings at all if the capacity market takes no account of this contribution. It would be interesting to hear whether the Government support the Electricity Storage Network’s target for an additional 2 gigawatts of storage installed on the system by 2020...
Baroness Verma replied:
"...we recognise that certain technologies, such as demand-side response and storage, have different characteristics from generation. That is why we have announced the transitional arrangements. In addition, we have designed the enduring capacity market to ensure that demand reduction and storage can participate effectively by running capacity auctions both four years ahead and one year ahead of when capacity is expected to be required."
Government announces £30 M of funding to create R&D facilities to develop and test grid-scale energy storage
David Willets, the Minister for Universities and Science, announced a package of £600 million support for science which is to include £30 million to create R&D facilities to develop and test grid scale energy storage. The announcement on 23 January and further details are availablehere
George Osbourne: UK - Future World Leader in Energy Storage
On Friday 9 November, in a speech at the Royal Society, the Chancellor George Osborne said that the UK must take a global lead in developing a series of low carbon technologies, including energy storage:
"There is the challenge of storing more electricity for the grid," Osborne said. "Electricity demand peaks at around 60GW, whilst we have a grid capacity of around 80GW – but storage capacity of around just 3GW.
An article detailing the chancellor's speech can be accessedhere
'Build megawatt hours, not just megawatts'
“Meeting Britain’s power requirements needs storage as well as generating capacity” says Anthony Price, Director of the Electricity Storage Network. "The expected shortfall in reliable generating capacity has been caused, in part, by a lack of commitment to a balanced portfolio of generation, storage and network investment. Building megawatts of new gas turbine plant is part of the solution, but adding more electricity storage into the power system will bring real long term benefits.
“Adding storage to a power system is a way of operating the whole system more efficiently. Storage will reduce the total operating costs, and so reduce the costs of energy to consumers. Instinctively, everyone knows that storage is good idea, making better use of wrong time energy is one of the priorities of the renewable energy industry.
"The opportunity is now." Referring to reports that large scale investment in gas fired electricity generation is planned, the ESN's Director continues: " if the Government does not support the use of storage as part of the solution to meet our power shortfall, we will lose this opportunity, and live to regret it. What is low cost now will take us down power’s one way street. It will be difficult and costly to reverse. Our plans for the Smart Grid show we need storage and we must seize this opportunity now.”
The Electricity Storage Network is the trade and industry group that promotes the increased use of electricity storage in grid connected applications. Its members include manufacturers and developers of electricity storage products, as well as users and researchers in storage technologies. Electricity storage technologies include battery systems, pumped hydro, liquid air, pumped heat, compressed air and flywheels,. Electricity storage projects are in operation throughout the world.
MPs call for electricity storage to be recognized in the new Energy Bill
The House of Commons select committee on Energy and Climate Change has published its review of the Draft Energy Bill (23 July 2012) and has called for demand-side response and storage technologies to be recognised and defined explicitly in the Energy Bill. The case is argued for support for storage and DECC should investigate the legislative and other barriers to storage, and remove any that prevent it from competing fairly in the market.
The report may be downloaded here (see volume 1, para 192)
The Electricity Storage Network provided written evidence to the committee, and this has been commented upon in the report. Many other witnesses provided evidence supporting the role of storage.
Government failing to adequately support vital electricity storage technologies
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has published a policy statement - 31 May 2012 - which calls for action by Her Majesty's Government in three key areas:
1. Support actions to identify the true system benefit of electricity storage. As a matter of priority the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) should carry out a detailed analysis to estimate the realistic requirements for electricity storage across the whole UK power system and its corresponding value to the nation.
2. Develop policy frameworks that reward the value of electricity storage in the UK’s power markets. The UK Government’s Electricity Market Reform (EMR), which is examining and revising the commercial and regulatory structure of the nation’s electricity market, should take into account the unique nature of electricity storage and remunerate investors and operators accordingly.
3. Encourage and support UK development of storage technologies for exploitation in world markets. The UK Government should advance the commercial-scale demonstration of electricity storage technologies in the UK, and thereby create technical value that UK companies can export overseas.
Imperial College publishes major report on the potential for electricity storage in the UK: “Role and Value of Energy Storage Systems in the UK”
Role and Value of Energy Storage Systems in the UK: The Carbon Trust commissioned this study from the Energy Futures Lab at Imperial College London to address the key questions relating to the future role of electricity storage in the UK: This study identifies significantly higher value to storage than previous studies For example, in a 2050 high renewables scenario, application of energy storage technologies could potentially generate total system savings of £10bn/year.
It is likely that a portfolio of different energy storage technologies will be required, suited to a range of applications. This analysis demonstrates that the value of energy storage technologies in low carbon energy systems with large contribution of renewable generation may be very significant; it will therefore be important to ensure that energy policy and market framework do not impose a barrier but rather facilitate the application of cost-effective energy storage technologies. This work should inform energy storage technology developments and related innovation policy in order to further reduce the cost of storage.
Electricity storage innovation meeting: ESN, DECC, OFGEM and BIS
ESN members and representatives of DECC, OFGEM and BIS met recently in London to exchange views and ideas on the support for electricity storage innovation. Ideas covered both support for technology development as well as addressing electricity market reforms. A note of the meeting will be sent to all members. ESN members included network owners and operators, manufacturers, developers, and others active in the electricity storage spectrum. The discussions with government departments will continue over the coming months.
This activity comes at a time when recent reports and discussions have highlighted the role of storage as one of the four pillars of flexibility in the UK’s future electricity system. The Electricity Storage Network is promoting the role of storage in the power industry and is active to ensure that electricity storage is included in revisions to regulations and legislation.
Presentation slides by Ian Ellerington of DECC are available for download here (available by permission of DECC)
Notes of the meeting will be sent to members directly