Regulation is the main barrier for the growth of energy storage and demand management in the UK.
That’s the view of Gordon Edge, Director of Policy at RenewableUK who added the technologies can help decarbonise the energy network but they need to be “well distributed”.
Speaking to ELN, he said: “There are some very old and stupid ones like, for instance storage: ‘Is it generation, is it demand?’ It gets charged twice on the network for being both. Specific things like if you have a wind farm and you put some storage behind the meter with it, you can’t bid for Contracts for Difference. These kind of regulatory issues can and should be addressed in the short term, often they are the time limiting step. The technology may already be there, we just need to distribute it well.
“Clearly it will be better if batteries became cheaper and we get more experience of how they work but frankly I think it’s always the rules and the regulations which get in the way.”
Mr Edge believes energy storage and other innovative technologies have the potential to provide energy security.
He added: “They really make a big difference, I mean the challenge we’ve got is integrating very large amounts of variable renewables, wind and solar, into the system. We’re talking maybe 40% of our entire power supply by 2030. Now we can do it without storage and demand side but that will make it a lot more expensive so having more flexibility, more storage on the system, we’ll be able to do it in a more cost-effective manner and we will be able to decarbonise the system much more cheaply.”
He believes these technologies are starting to be “a big deal” for the government and the sector.
Mr Gordon went on: “In 2015 the business plans just didn’t have storage and DSR on their agenda so it’s taken quite a while. People now I think are much more excited by the technological possibilities and starting to pay more attention to this but it’s taken a long time. We’ve been seeing it coming but only just recently has it been a big deal.”