Energy Storage Gap in New Offshore Wind Plans

Energy Storage Gap in New Offshore Wind Plans

On Wednesday the UK Government announced a Sector deal with the offshore wind industry that would see 30% of UK power coming from offshore wind by 2030, increasing capacity from 7.9GW currently to 30 GW.

The remaining 70% is planned to come from nuclear and Gas plants with carbon capture but with 5 of the 6 planned nuclear plants unlikely to go ahead and no commercial scale gas with carbon capture planned there is a growing concern as to how the UK will be able to keep the lights on while continuing the transition to low-carbon energy.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “This new sector deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector.

“By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain and a five-fold increase in exports.”

However, John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, thought these figures should be higher: “The Government’s plans for a fleet of new nuclear reactors has collapsed. This leaves Britain with a big energy gap in the future. It means the Government’s latest offshore wind target of 30 gigawatts by 2030 is woefully inadequate.

“Renewable power now presents the best opportunity for cheaper, cleaner and faster decarbonisation. Wind and solar must be tripled between now and 2030, with offshore wind the future backbone of the UK’s energy system.”

Our own Mark Wilson said: “Government focus on renewable energy can only be a good thing however without a coherent energy storage plan the true potential of renewable energy will be squandered. This announcement makes the case for Pumped Storage Hydro even more urgent and persuasive.

“UK wind developers were paid 125M in curtailment charges last year alone – in other words, they were paid not to produce electricity.  Our plans will go a long way to help get the maximum benefit of new renewable energy for the country and the environment.”

This was echoed by former UK Energy Minister, Brian Wilson saying “One way or another, there has to be back-up to the intermittency of renewable generation, and this creates a huge opportunity for UK industry. In Scotland, Pumped Storage Hydro – which provides 95 per cent of storage around the world – is the obvious answer instead of relying on imports via interconnectors.

“Hydro power has served Scotland exceptionally well in the past and can do so for many years to come. This is an opportunity to give an established technology a new lease of life with huge potential benefits for the Scottish economy while at the same time helping to solve the inescapable challenges posed by reliance on renewable generation”.

ILI currently have 3 Pump Storage Hydro sites in Scotland the most advanced being a 450MW scheme Red John in Inverness. The capacity of these projects would be over 2GW, this would almost double the current PSH capacity in the UK.

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