Massive energy storage growth expected in UK

UK: Applications for energy storage projects in the UK have grown from 2MW in 2012, to over 6.8GW in 2018, according to trade body RenewableUK.

Vattenfall’s 22MW energy storage facility in south Wales is believed to the UK’s largest battery co-located with an onshore wind farm

Applications for energy storage projects have reached a cumulative capacity of 6,874MW in seven years, RenewableUK figures show, indicating a growing appetite for the techology. 

The average capacity of applications for new battery storage projects has also nearly tripled in the last three years: from 10MW in 2016 to 27MW in 2018.

There is currently 3.3GW of storage capacity, including hydro projects, operational in the UK, according to RenewableUK, with a further 5.4GW has planning consent, including 4.8GW of battery storage.

RenewableUK's analysis follows a report by the Renewable Energy Association in late 2017, which concluded approximately 12GW of battery storage could be deployed in the UK by the end of 2021, a quarter of which could be co-located at wind farms.

Speaking ahead of RenewableUK and the Solar Trade Association’s first joint conference on energy storage (5 November), industry chiefs claimed the technology could aid a transition to a clean, flexible energy system.

The Solar Trade Association’s chief executive Chris Hewett, said: "Energy storage has already begun to unlock the full potential of wind and solar energy, and it’s happening faster than almost anyone anticipated.

"It’s clear that storage will be the foundation of a smart, flexible and decarbonised future energy system."

RenewableUK’s executive director, Emma Pinchbeck, added: "The energy sector is breaking new ground by making an unprecedented transition to a clean, flexible system which will power our country in the future.

"Energy storage is already playing a key part in that, from small local projects to grid-scale schemes."

Wind developers and manufacturers have advanced several storage projects in the UK this year.

In May, Vattenfall commissioned a 22MW energy storage facility — believed to be the UK’s largest battery co-located with an onshore wind farm — at its 228MW Pen y Cymoedd project in south Wales.

A month later, Equinor connected a 1MW/1.3MWh battery to its 30MW Hywind floating offshore wind project off the coast of Scotland.

Siemens Gamesa is working with two UK universities to trial the use of ammonia as a renewable energy storage solution.

And Ørsted plans to build its first large-scale storage system, a 20MW battery project in the north-west of England.