How batteries can solve Britain’s big renewable energy problem. There are concerns of a looming gap as the supply of renewables grows much faster than the very early stage energy storage market. Sprawled across a field in north Wiltshire, dozens of large rectangular boxes on the outskirts of the village of Minety are the latest physical sign of the UK’s energy revolution. Together, they form the biggest storage battery in Europe, providing 100MW of lithium-ion power to prevent blackouts and volatile costs caused by the country’s increasingly renewables-based energy system. Many more batteries like this will be needed as the country races to cut carbon emissions through measures including generating upwards of 75pc of power from renewable sources. Relying on the patchy weather for electricity supply can be a problem when power supply and demand needs to be balanced second-by-second, keeping the National Grid at its required 50hz frequency. The opportunity for battery developers is huge. In modelling published last week, National Grid ESO, responsible for balancing Britain’s supply and demand, said it expects 43GW of electricity storage will be needed in 2050, compared to 3.5GW today. Not all of that storage needs to be in the form of batteries, but it would help if a lot of it was. Some can jump into the system in less than 150 milliseconds, responding to sudden surges. National Grid expects small-scale batteries that can supply power for two to four hours to play a crucial role. Costs of batteries have also come down, and the technology is improving. Between 2010 to 2018, battery cell costs fell 85pc from $1,160 (£839) /KWh to 176 $/KWh, according to Bloomberg Energy Finance. Battery costs are forecast to continue to fall between 20pc and 50pc over the next 10 years. A few years ago, batteries tended to be bidding into the market to dispatch power for about half an hour at a time before they needed re-charging. Now one-hour and two-hour durations are more typical.
Telegraph 19th July 2021 read more »