UK battery storage ‘to grow 100-fold by 2020’

The UK’s commercial battery storage capacity is poised to grow 100-fold by 2020. That’s according to a new report from SmartestEnergy, which says energy entrepreneurs are increasingly investing in large-scale […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The UK’s commercial battery storage capacity is poised to grow 100-fold by 2020.

That’s according to a new report from SmartestEnergy, which says energy entrepreneurs are increasingly investing in large-scale battery units rather than in independent renewables.

Over the last four years, an average of 275 independent renewable projects were installed, at a cost of around £1.5 billion.

The report says deep subsidy cuts mean this figure is now rapidly falling – it fell to 38 in Q4 2016 and to just 21 in Q1 2017.

Shifting to the storage sector, independent developers have already won four fifths of battery contracts in Capacity Market auctions, which ensure there is enough electricity to meet peak winter demand.

Just 20MW of commercial batteries were operational last year but 31 projects have already secured long term contracts to provide 578MW of capacity by the end of the decade.

Planned projects for the next four years total more than 150 projects with a combined capacity of 2.3GW, an increase of more than 100 times.

This storage capacity is expected to prove vital in supporting an increasingly clean and intermittent energy mix.

Iain Robertson, Vice President of Renewables at SmartestEnergy, said: “Energy entrepreneurs are at the forefront as we transition to a new energy system.

“Independent developers still have renewable project pipelines and are looking at innovative ways to build without subsidy. They are now also driving forward the battery revolution.”

EDF Energy Renewables has awarded a contract to build what is reported to be Europe’s largest battery storage project.