[06/10/17] Renewable energy is rapidly becoming one of the cheapest forms of energy available and the UK is targeted to provide 15% of its energy requirements from renewables by 2020. However, wind and solar power generation is intermittent and there needs to be more flexibility to manage these fluctuations and maximise the use of renewable energy.
Battery storage has been termed one of the “8 great technologies” by the UK government and enables excess electricity to be stored until it is needed by the consumer. When used alongside a solar or wind farm, batteries can help smooth the output and manage their variable nature. Renewable energy, supported by battery storage, could enable clean energy to be both cheap and abundant, as well as reducing our dependency on imports of fossil fuels. Energy regulator Ofgem have estimated battery technology could save customers £17bn-£40bn by 2050.
Battery storage is already transforming the automotive industry by accelerating the use of electric vehicles and encouraging a cleaner transport sector. Batteries received further encouragement earlier this year, in the announcement of a £246m investment into the development of battery technology in the UK. Part of this funding will award millions of pounds to companies on the brink of development breakthroughs and enable the UK to be world leaders in battery technology. Batteries are important to our progression towards a low carbon economy and the government announcement is a fantastic move towards a modern, smart and flexible energy system.
There are a range of benefits to utilising battery storage, including:
However, there are a series of challenges that need to be overcome within the next few years, before these benefits can be achieved. Mainly, the price of the battery systems needs to continue to fall coupled with major enhancements in grid infrastructure.
We remain optimistic about the future for battery storage and will play close attention to its development, as well as supporting the battery storage industry and enabling the benefits to be accomplished.
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