Government subsidies should be used to encourage investment in energy storage to fully integrate renewables in the sector.
That’s according to a study by the University of East Anglia (UEA), which insists investment in power storage is vital for renewables to achieve their full potential.
The study focused on two types of storage systems – pumped hydro storage and compressed air energy storage.
It stated as the amount of green energy entering in national power grids increase, so does the impact of volatility and therefore the need for storage.
It added as subsidies for clean power projects “are gradually being removed because they are reaching market maturity”, these funds should be used to develop storage systems.
The report claims energy storage could return profits by buying power when it is cheap and selling when it is expensive.
Researchers tested the mechanism in a number of European electricity markets including the UK and matched various trading strategies and storage technologies with market characteristics.
They found this ‘buy cheap, sell expensive approach’ alone cannot provide adequate revenue to justify investment.
However the academics add if the decarbonisation of electricity is to be achieved by increasing renewables, investment in storage has to be encouraged.
Konstantinos Chalvatzis, Senior Lecturer in Business and Climate Change at UEA said: “It is good to adjust subsidies for renewable energy technologies that have reached maturity but you have to start thinking about subsidising storage as this can take us to using 100% renewable energy sources.
“We need sufficient storage and more investment in storage systems in order for renewable energy to reach its full potential. Subsidies would encourage investment, which in turn would enable further integration of renewables into the energy sector.”
DECC stated the government’s priority is to provide “secure, affordable and clean energy at the lowest possible price for families and businesses.”
A spokesperson added: “We recognise the potential for storage technologies to help us use energy flexibly and are looking at how we can remove barriers to wider deployment.”