The UK plans to build huge batteries to store renewable energy – but there’s a much cheaper solution. The UK government recently announced the removal of planning barriers to building energy storage projects over 50MW in England and 350MW in Wales. This, the government feels, will enable the creation of significant new energy storage capacity. The UK currently has 1GW of operational battery storage units and an additional 13.5GW of battery projects under development at the planning stage. This intervention by the government creates a planning environment that could enable the UK to reach its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This could happen with either a high proportion of large-scale, centralised renewable generation, or with more of a priority on smaller community schemes such as locally owned wind turbines and solar panels. Batteries will, in particular, contribute significantly to the grid regulation of a further 30GW of offshore wind by 2030 (to achieve the UK target of 40GW of offshore wind by that year). But pursuing ever larger, stationary battery systems may not be the optimal solution for the UK to have a renewable energy future. Instead, the answer could lie in the country’s garages and car parks. This has led to a growing focus on the introduction of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles. As just one in ten cars sold in the UK fall into the these categories, there is still some way to go to reducing the impact of petrol and diesel vehicles. Significantly more infrastructure is needed to support them, and their growing popularity increases the amount of electricity that the grid needs to provide, one-third of which is still produced from natural gas.
The Conversation 27th July 2020 read more »
Great Britain’s grid operator, National Grid ESO (NG), is responsible for examining and understanding the rapidly mutating and incredibly complex transitions happening in the energy system both in the country and around the world. This week, NG released a wonderfully dense package of future scenarios of energy in Britain. Not just electricity, but energy, including heating, transport and heavy industry. Electric vehicles feature in the future projections as far more than simple tools to get around in a zero carbon way. They become an interlocking component in a whole-of-system change, and it’s worth digging into the details.
The Driven 28th July 2020 read more »