New research shows massive growth in energy storage projects
02 December 2019
Posted by: Rob Norris
RenewableUK is publishing new statistics today which show that the number of applications to build battery storage projects in the UK is continuing to increase rapidly. Batteries play a key role in our modern flexible energy system, helping grid operators to finely balance the supply of electricity to meet demand, and providing extra power resources when needed.
RenewableUK’s latest Project Intelligence report shows that the total cumulative capacity of battery storage planning applications has soared from nearly 6,900 megawatts (MW) a year ago to over 10,500MW today – enough to fully charge over a million electric vehicles.
The market has developed extremely rapidly - in 2012, applications stood at just 2MW. The number of UK companies involved in the sector has grown over the past 12 months from 300 to more than 450 and the average battery project size has increased slightly from 27MW to 28MW.
The pipeline of storage projects is expected to continue growing and an increasing number of grid-scale battery projects of over 50MWs are expected, after BEIS agreed earlier this year to change planning rules which have, up to now, deterred development at this scale.
Renewables developers are at the forefront of the market. Alongside cutting-edge companies like KiWi Power and RES, energy giant EDF moved into the market last month by acquiring Pivot Power, which has one of the largest portfolios of storage projects in development in the UK.
The new figures are being unveiled at an event in London, Energy Systems Storage 2019, organised by RenewableUK and the Solar Trade Association. Attendees will hear that while lithium batteries make up the vast majority of the current projects, the next phase of growth will include a wide range of new technologies. Companies ranging from industrial giant Siemens to Highview Power are developing hydrogen, ammonia and compressed air technologies. Today’s report shows that the UK now has a pipeline of over 600MW of compressed air or liquid air storage projects in development. Meanwhile Gravitricity are developing gravity-based storage and OXTO Energy are pioneering the use of flywheels in energy storage. RheEnergised are developing dense liquids as an alternative to pumped storage.
RenewableUK’s Director of Future Electricity Systems, Barnaby Wharton, said:
“As we build the net-zero energy system of the future based on renewables, we’re changing the way we manage the entire network, using a wide variety of extraordinarily innovative storage technologies. The pace of change in the industry is hugely exciting.
“Energy storage has reached a tipping point with major companies entering this new market, providing new services to guarantee the security our energy supplies and maximising the amount of power available, providing massive benefits to consumers”.
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RenewableUK’s members are building our future energy system, powered by clean electricity. We bring them together to deliver that future faster; a future which is better for industry, billpayers, and the environment. We support over 400 member companies to ensure increasing amounts of renewable electricity are deployed across the UK and to access export markets all over the world. Our members are business leaders, technology innovators, and expert thinkers from right across industry.
More information on RenewableUK’s Project Intelligence reports, which are available to RenewableUK members, is available here.
More on today’s Energy Systems Storage 2019 event is available here.