Energy News – 24/02/2017
What’s been making headlines across the energy world this week? We round up the big stories from the las...Read More
The UK could save £3.5 billion a year from the cost of moving to low carbon electricity with grid-scale electricity storage for renewable generated power.
More storage could balance the variable output of renewables but may also strengthen Britain’s energy security and enable carbon reduction targets to be met more quickly. A new paper by QBC, a grid-scale storage developer, claims that storage is currently the missing piece of the UK’s renewables jigsaw.
To meet EU and national climate change targets, UK government policy has encouraged the closure of coal and oil fired power stations – the heaviest CO2 emitters – while putting in place generous subsidies for renewable generation such wind and solar.
Other countries have coupled the building of new storage to renewables so that surplus energy can be captured and used later when the wind and/or sun are not favourable. More than 99% of electricity storage around the world uses pumped hydro technology due to its low cost and proven reliability.
But the UK has so far only modestly engaged with pumped hydro storage solutions, choosing instead CO2-producing diesel generators and gas power stations as backup. This has cost implications as fossil-fuelled generation must be in reserve.
QBC, which is currently developing its first pumped hydro site in North Wales, claims it has identified locations throughout Britain with low planning risk that could deliver 10GW of such storage. QBC claims that 10GW of pumped hydro-storage facilities will save some £3.5 billion a year due to less than planned offshore wind being needed to meet generating requirements.
The biggest savings, though, come from soaking up generation when supply exceeds demand. Imperial College estimates that by 2020 Britain will effectively be throwing away up to 27% of wind electricity. Storage will enable Britain to cut waste to just 7%, lessening the need for contentious constraint payments.
Storage could also help achieve carbon targets with QBC estimating that 5 million fewer tonnes of CO2 emitted per year storage if standby fossil-fuelled plants are replaced. A more secure and self-sufficient electricity supply, less dependent on interconnectors with neighbouring countries is also predicted.
But QBC chairman Peter Taylor warns that energy storage are not a quick solution. “Putting the UK back on a par with other nations will take time. A single new pumped hydro storage facility might take anything up to seven years from initial proposal to actually beginning operation. With 30GW of renewables planned for 2020 Britain does not have the luxury of … kicking the storage can down the road.
“Our survey shows that Britain could achieve as much as 50GWh of storage using innovative pumped hydro alone. We don’t claim pumped hydro is the sole answer to the UK’s storage needs. Certainly it is the tried and tested option, but we see a future where the UK incorporates different storage technologies at different layers in the system, with pumped hydro providing big capacity, fast reaction storage at grid-level, other technologies at distribution network substations, and even domestic storage playing a part.”
"Jessica Purnell was great, she was helpful and everything was easy. I have saved £150 per month! many thanks Jess :-)"This review was posted by Melanie Baker on the 23rd of February 2017
Thank you Jess Purnell!
"Jess really helped us out with switching suppliers... she wasn't pushy at all and the service was great. Thanks again!"This review was posted by Becki on the 23rd of February 2017
Thanks for your help Mark Weeks and Switch My business
"I would like to thank Switch My Business and particularly Mark Weeks for the ease of switching and saving me money! I can highly recommend them. Thanks again Richard Blake"This review was posted by Richard Blake on the 22nd of February 2017
"Aaron sorted out a new electricity deal for my church, enabling us to make good savings. We have now received confirmation of our new 3 year plan.During our telephone conversations Aaron was always very polite and efficient. Dawn Marskell"This review was posted by Dawn Marskell on the 21st of February 2017
Great help switching
"First time I have ever done an energy supplier switch, it seemed a bit daunting but the way EDF has rocketed our industrial energy bill I had no option, Bea Luseni guided me through the process and took all the worry away, many thanks well done"This review was posted by Horatio on the 17th of February 2017