UK missing ‘billions’ of savings from energy storage

The UK could be missing out on billions of pounds worth of savings because the Government isn’t doing enough to encourage energy storage technology. That’s the concern of Mick Barlow, […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The UK could be missing out on billions of pounds worth of savings because the Government isn’t doing enough to encourage energy storage technology.

That’s the concern of Mick Barlow, grid and energy storage expert at S&C Electric Company, who warns the Government isn’t doing enough to support the new technology.

He told ELN: “People don’t fully appreciate energy storage. Policy and regulatory framework don’t support it. There’s no incentive for putting it on the network.”

There are various different types of energy storage being put through pilot studies in the UK at the moment, including techniques based around batteries and others using compressed or frozen air.

But unlike renewable energy sources such as wind power which gets generous subsidy under the Renewables Obligation, Mr Barlow suggests energy storage doesn’t benefit from a strong market mechanism, only smaller pots of cash such as the Low Carbon Network Fund.

This is seriously underestimating the benefits of energy storage, he claims, pointing to the latest Imperial College energy storage report which found the value of storage will progressively increase towards 2050.

The report claims the UK could make system savings of more than £10 billion a year by 2050, if it can develop 15GW worth of energy storage by then.

These savings could be lost if the Government doesn’t bring in a market mechanism sooner rather than later, suggests Mr Barlow, as they could avoid some expensive infrastructure projects on the grid.

He added: “The problem is the longer you leave things, more money is spent on expanding infrastructure, when introducing storage means you wouldn’t need as much of it.”