Storage to the Rescue?
Energy Drinks post event summary from 26 February 2018
Thanks to all those who braved the cold and came along to our Energy Drinks last week to talk about all things energy storage – special thanks to our provocateurs for the evening, Dan Taylor, Camborne and Ray Arrell from Regen.
What became clear during the evening is that as our sources of generation become increasingly dispersed and variable, the level of flexibility within our energy system will greatly dictate the pace of change. Storage can serve multiple needs – fast balancing of supply and demand responding to grid frequency or price signals; acting as a reserve; or shifting energy demand.
As a consequence, storage will be one of the most important providers of flexibility. But whilst there is now unprecedented interest in various storage solutions at a domestic-, commercial- and grid-scale, their proponents still face a complex mix of challenges. From lengthy lead-in times for battery delivery through to connection constraints and construction timelines. Things need to improve.
Certainly, there is a spectrum of stakeholders, with differing needs and (contractual expectations), but there also remains a clear need for more scale to attract more investors. The market is competitive, but few large-scale contracts are currently being let. Confidence is growing amongst the investor and banking community, although the absence of long-term government policy and clear regulatory mechanisms means they remain a little nervous of over-committing. The advances in storage technology and associated business models means that policy is struggling to keep up, and there remains a fear of retrospective regulation.
But thankfully, elsewhere in the world, the on-going electrification of under-powered communities means that storage is becoming a more attractive component to community and provincial grids. As a consequence of this global demand, the cost and reliability of storage technology is only going to improve, making marginal business cases viable, and raising the appetite of institutional investors both home and abroad. Refreshingly, it was the belief of both speakers that despite the lack of subsidies and strong policy incentives, changes in the wider energy system will drive significant growth in storage and local flexibility here in the UK.
As Ray mentioned, Regen have produced a number of free publications which delve into a lot of these issues in more detail. Please take a look!
1) Energy Storage: Towards a Commercial Model whitepaper (Nov 2016) - https://www.regensw.co.uk/storage-towards-a-commercial-model
2) Energy Storage: Growth Scenarios & Operating Modes industry consultation for WPD (Summer 2017) - https://www.regensw.co.uk/wpd-storage-growth-operating-modes. Results report here and webinar on results dissemination YouTube here
3) Energy Storage: The Next Wave whitepaper (Nov 2017) - https://www.regensw.co.uk/energy-storage-the-next-wave-2