Month: February 2018

Battery Storage’s explosive growth

Battery Storage’s explosive growth

A new report published earlier this month has claimed that over 9GWh of batter energy storage could be added to the UK’s grid system over the next five years. The report “UK Battery Storage: Opportunities & Market Entry Strategies for 2018-2022” from Solar Media Market Research states that the sector will experience “explosive growth” over the time period.

The report confirms that in the previous twelve months the potential amount of new battery storage projects via applications has risen by 240% with new project installations expected to rise from 2018 onwards by over 200% per year. The planned reduction of carbon emissions, the phase out of coal fired power stations, and the rise in renewable energy generation have all been cited as reasons for the rise in battery storage facilities.

Lauren Cook of Solar Media market research spoke with Energy Storage News at the publication of the report and she believes that the volume will help place the UK among the industry leaders.

“The market is growing and it’s changing rapidly. There’s now projects completed on the ground. Once global companies start to see it’s not just a speculative market, it will make sense for them to think about how to enter the market and what the opportunities are for them.

“They will then need to know who is active in the market, who has these opportunities and who they will have to work with to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Ms Cook also looked at business models as part of the research which she says is changing quickly. With long term revenues very much the focus of developers, emphasis is being placed on multiple revenue streams arising from a range of services leading to revenue stack. Ms Cook however does not think that a typical stack exists in today’s market.

“I’m not sure there’s any such thing as a typical stack because there are many factors involved, but if you look at the timeline from the EFR of 2016 you had those projects were successful, those projects then went on to apply for the Capacity Market (CM), T-1 and T-4 in early 2017,” Cook said.

“Some of those were successful, some of those weren’t. We then saw the FFR auctions happening throughout 2017. Those projects also participated in those auctions, new projects also came in.

“Then I think the most recent phase of the Capacity Market – so again, the T-1 and the T-4 – was just another opportunity to add to those stacks. So you might see projects with an EFR contract, they may also have a T-1, they may also look to get a T-4 in the future, because of the different lengths of contracts – you can simultaneously run some contracts but you may want to have consecutive CM contracts. So you might see T-1 as a way of filling the time between a project becoming operational and the T-4 contract beginning. It’s not just about stacking them in one moment – so having multiple sources at one point in time – it’s about stacking the revenue streams across the lifetime of the project and having long-term revenue.”

If the report is correct then the UK’s installed battery storage capacity by 2022 will be 50 times greater than it was in 2017. As mentioned above there are a number of factors which have led to the potential growth on battery storage with the increase in renewable energy generation being one of the most important.

The intermittent nature of the generation has created a need for viable storage solutions. As battery storage has become commercially attractive growth has followed. There are some issues surrounding grid – which is not a preserve of battery storage – as well as the longevity of the technology but that will improve and has already begun to do so.

However Forbes this week in a report of their own stated that although Energy Storage was well and truly on the way, a major cost reduction was needed to make it attractive to the larger scale amenity companies who would be able to develop larger scale developments.

Battery storage is therefore not without pitfalls however these are similar to what other new technologies in the energy generation industry went through in their embryonic stage and to a certain extent they are expected.

However we believe in a good energy mix and which should include other methods of storage including pumped hydro, thermal, and mechanical. With a range of different technologies we can ensure large quantities of renewable energy can be stored at one time helping reduce our carbon emissions and reducing our reliance on carbon based fuels.

You can purchase the report “UK Battery Storage: Opportunities & Market Entry Strategies for 2018-2022” from Solar Media Market Research here

Renewable Energy in the UK is popular and financially beneficial

Renewable Energy in the UK is popular and financially beneficial

The results from the most recent UK Government survey on attitudes to climate and energy were released this week including those regarding renewable energy with public support continuing to grow year on year.

49% of those that responded stated they were in favour of renewable energy with 30% strongly in favour giving a total of 79% positive, an increase of 5% from the previous year. Opposition to renewable energy remained low with only 3% stating they opposed it and 1% that strongly opposed it.

Overall the poll, which questioned 2000 people, showed similar results to the previous poll with nuclear showing a stable support level of 34% with only 22% opposed while opposition to shale gas extraction or fracking at 32% compared to 16% in favour.

The survey also showed 24% of those who took part have given serious thought to home energy saving solutions while 50% stated they had given it some thought. Renewable Heat did not fare better as despite 65% of those asked said they were aware of renewable heat technologies only 3% had this type of system installed in their home.

In addition only a small amount of those that took part in the survey (7% solar thermal panels, 2% a biomass boiler, 2% an air source heat pump and 1% a ground source heat pump) said they would be likely to install some sort of renewable heat system in their home in the future with concerns over cost and installation difficulties being the main reasons cited.

As the UK general public continue to support renewable energy new figures released by the UK government show Scotland’s renewable energy industry turning over £5.5billion in 2016. In addition job places rose by 300% over the same year.

This was mainly down to significant growth in both the onshore and offshore sectors as well as renewable heat with wind employment rising 300% to 200 places and renewable heat employment increasing from 500 places in 2015 to 2,500 in 2016.

It wasn’t all good news though with solar power employment falling 75% from 2,000 to 500 over the same period.

Jenny Hogan, deputy chief executive at Scottish Renewables, said: “These new figures clearly show the benefits renewable energy is bringing to Scotland.

“Companies that are developing projects here, as well as supply chain businesses supporting the wider industry, are employing people in skilled jobs and delivering investment from the Borders to Shetland.

“The rise in employment in the offshore wind and renewable heat sectors illustrates the huge boost to jobs and investment that is possible when technologies are given the right backing by Government. For these benefits to continue and grow, the whole industry needs to see that level of political commitment sustained across the board.

“The decline in employment in the solar industry shows clearly the impact of cuts to UK Government support for the sector. We would expect that future editions of this ONS survey will show declines in other areas caused by similar decisions made at Westminster.”

With renewable energy remaining both popular with and beneficial to the UK population we believe now is great time for the government to revisit its policies and once again place an emphasis on new renewable energy projects.

The resources are still relatively untouched and the infrastructure is now at much more advanced stage than it was a few years ago when the industry boom first kicked in. In addition the technologies are now much less expensive meaning that government involvement would not have to be at the level it was five or six years ago.

However without government support investment in the industry will continue to fall which we believe would be a missed opportunity and something we will come to regret in the future.


Battery storage moving us towards a more flexible grid

Battery storage moving us towards a more flexible grid

The UK’s largest battery storage portfolio was unveiled as it was connected to the grid this month. The new combined 50MW installations consist of 40MW battery park in Glassenbury in Kent and a 10 MW battery park located at Cleator in Cumbria. Both sites come under the National Grid Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) 2016 200MW auction, delivering a quarter of the auction’s capacity. This type of site can therefore support grid flexibility and fluctuations in renewable energy and low carbon electricity generation.

The sites are being developed in a joint venture with Low Carbon , a renewable energy investment company, and VPI Immingham, owner of one of the largest combined heat and power plants in Europe and part of the Vitol Group under the VLC Energy name.

The two sites will use LG Chem lithium-ion battery modules, and advanced energy management systems from NEC providing sub-second responses to surges in energy supply and demand.

Roy Bedlow, Chief Executive of Low Carbon, said: “These battery parks represent perhaps the greatest increase in UK energy storage capacity to date as part of National Grid’s EFR auction. We’re delighted to have developed these sites with our partners at VPI Immingham, and look forward to expanding VLC Energy’s storage portfolio.

“Energy storage is critical to managing the demands on the grid, ensuring consumer needs are met, and increasing our reliance on low-carbon forms of electricity generation. These sites will help us tackle climate change and help the UK realise a cleaner and more energy efficient future.”

Russell Hardy, Chairman, VPI Immingham and CEO EMEA, Vitol, said: “Batteries hold the key to the future of the power landscape, both in the UK and internationally. Ensuring grid resilience is a necessary step in the growth of renewable generation.”

Leon Walker, Quantitative Analysis Manager, at National Grid said: “Using battery storage is a significant development for managing the national grid. It’s an ultra-fast way of keeping electricity supply and demand balanced.

“Over four years we estimate that this service will save the system operator around £200m. This is good news for consumers who benefit from our cost efficiencies, and paves the way for battery technology to establish itself as an important component of our energy system.

In addition a new trial by Nissan will test the feasibility of using electric vehicles as mini power stations. It will involve 1,000 car charging points with connected cars feeding power back into the grid. The scheme will take advantage of predictable driver patterns with most driving to work in the morning, returning in the evening and parking their vehicle up most nights.

The project will work on a similar premise to smart grid with electric cars programmed to use power when it is at it least expensive while charging. This is turn can benefit renewable energy generation as there can be a surplus when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.

Then when the vehicle is parked up for the night it can provide electricity to the grid at times of high demand, recharging when costs are low in the middle of the night.

“Allowing EVs to return energy to the power grid when parked will increase grid resilience, allow for better exploitation of renewable sources and lower the cost of ownership for EV owners. It will lead to new business opportunities and clear advantages for EV users and energy consumers,” a government spokesperson said.

Patrick Erwin, from Northern Powergrid, said: “The growth in electric vehicles will provide greater system flexibility and use of renewable energy sources. Vehicle-to-grid also offers the prospect of enabling our customers to gain income from their vehicles by selling services to the energy system.”

As the push towards electric vehicles continues demand for electricity will naturally increase. A desire to reduce our carbon emissions and move towards more substantial renewable energy generation is high on the agenda. So to marry these together and create a viable solution is an excellent idea. Should the trial go well we believe this should be rolled out to all future vehicles and charging points.

Although this alone will not solve the renewable energy / storage issue it will help and as more consumers make the switch to electric vehicles the storage capacity will increase giving the grid greater flexibility.

In the end we want all our energy demands to be met by renewable energy and schemes like this will be an important component in helping us achieve it.


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