Energy Storage in the UK

 Background

A project by the Energy Research Partnership has been looking at the role for energy storage in the UK’s future energy system. The report, published in June 2011 presents a strategic view of the opportunities for electrical and thermal storage to provide a reliable energy supply, setting-out the nature and scale of the challenges that will be faced. We describe how energy storage could go to meeting those challenges and the innovation landscape for further technology development in the UK.

Executive Summary is available here, and the full report can be downloaded here.

Developments, including funding opportunities and analysis of the role of energy storage in the UK, which have followed the report’s publication, will be noted here.

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Conclusions

Our key conclusions are:

  • Energy storage can help manage the large-scale deployment of intermittent generation and the electrification of space heating.
    The role for energy storage is poorly described in many pathways to a low-carbon economy. It needs detailed analysis to identify the potential economic and environmental benefits.
  • New energy storage technologies are unlikely to be deployed on a large scale under current market and regulatory conditions. Both technology cost reductions, and a market framework which recognises the benefits of energy storage, are required.
  • Demonstration of energy storage technologies needs to be scaled-up and public sector support for innovation in these technologies should be better coordinated.
  • Energy storage is an enabling technology; its potential role will be defined by developments across the energy system. A better understanding of both the energy system and policy direction is required urgently to inform investment decisions.

Recommendations

Our recommendations are:

  1. Government should set out its long-term policy direction for energy in the UK to help define the potential role for storage, and the innovation required to meet that role.
  2. Funders of energy innovation must set out a strategy for the analysis and innovation of energy storage technologies, coordinating their support and integrating the analysis of potential benefits with technology innovation.
  3. Further analysis of the potential role of storage in the UK’s energy system should be funded. Whole system and subsystem modelling, incorporating the full range of energy storage options across time and energy scales, is needed.
  4. The Technology Strategy Board should consider bringing forward a programme for energy storage technologies, where there is an opportunity for UK businesses and a potential market need. Other bodies which can support large scale demonstration activities, such as Ofgem and DECC, should target energy storage as a priority.
  5. Electricity Market Reform and regulatory approaches must recognise the potential benefits of increased energy storage explicitly.
  6. The energy storage stakeholder community, covering all elements of research, development, demonstration and deployment, should establish a Strategic Roadmap for Energy Storage in the UK to introduce a coherent approach across the sector.

This report has been prepared by the ERP Analysis Team, led by Jonathan Radcliffe, with input from ERP members and their organisations. The Steering Group was chaired by John Miles (Arup), with Ron Loveland (Welsh Assembly Government), Alex Hart (Ceres Power), Charles Carey (SSE), David Anelli (E.ON), Gary Staunton (Carbon Trust), Gert Jan Kramer (Shell), John Loughhead (UKERC), Richard Ploszek (RAEng), Bob Sorrell (BP), Steven Stocks (Scottish Enterprise), and Tim Bradley (National Grid).

The views are not the official point of view of any of these organisations or individuals and do not constitute government policy.

Further Information

Please contact the ERP Analysis Team.

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