The UK battery strategy, setting out government’s vision for the country to achieve a globally competitive battery supply chain by 2030, is “missing half the picture” according to one of the country’s leading clean energy trade bodies, Solar Energy UK.
While the strategy’s focus on boosting domestic manufacturing of batteries for use in electric vehicles has been welcomed, especially as the same modules can be used in static installations, it is feared that government have paid insufficient attention to the fast-growing stationary energy storage sector, and that it underplays how fast the battery energy storage system (BESS) sector is growing.
The government’s plan states that demand for BESS is due to rise from 10GWh in 2030 to 20GWh by 2035, however with 5.1GWh under construction and almost 100GWh in the planning pipeline the figures would seem to greatly underestimate the expected growth.
Further evidence of this underestimation comes from both the National Grid, who recently announced plans to “streamline connections for 10GW” and Essex, where there are plans to develop a facility that can store 600MWh. A 330MWh facility is planned for Hampshire and a 640MWh project in North Yorkshire (the largest in the country) has already commenced construction.
Solar Energy UK went on to highlight that the role BESS can play in grid balancing, frequency support, the capacity market, reducing the curtailment of renewable supplies and shrinking the need for new infrastructure by absorbing power from variable renewable sources appears to have been neglected. There was also no mention of ‘behind the meter’ schemes, those that provide power for use on-site without passing through a meter, despite over half of all new residential solar installations this year including a battery, according to Solar Energy UK members.
A spokesperson from Solar Energy UK said:
“UK is leading the rest of Europe in the deployment of utility scale batteries and there are several UK manufacturers of residential batteries expanding their operations. By overlooking this rapidly expanding part of the clean energy sector, the Government is missing half the picture with its Battery Strategy.”
More details on battery strategy can be found on the government’s website.