UK elections: who’s best for energy storage?

UK energy storage policy: A Conservative government may spell the end of subsidies for for renewable energy such as onshore wind turbines.

UK energy storage policy: A Conservative government may end subsidies for onshore wind turbines. Photo: Animam.

By Jason Deign

Energy storage supporters may have some reason to hope for a Labour Party-led outcome to tomorrow’s UK General Elections, an analysis of electoral pledges reveals.

Labour, currently trailing the ruling Conservatives by a photo-finish margin in opinion polls, has issued one of the strongest renewable energy promises in the electoral campaign, with a plan to de-carbonise the UK completely by 2030.

“We will work to make Britain a world leader in low carbon technologies over the next decade, creating a million additional green jobs,” says Labour’s manifesto.

“This aim will be supported by ambitious domestic carbon reduction targets, including a legal target to remove the carbon from our electricity supply by 2030, and a major drive for energy efficiency.”

And while Labour, the UK’s main left-wing party, does not mention energy storage as such in its proposals, at least two of its potential government alliance partners do.
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Storage and the Scottish situation

REDT is testing a vanadium redox battery on Gigha. Is more investment needed for energy storage of renewable energy in Scotland?

REDT is testing a vanadium redox battery system on Gigha. Should government funding for energy storage of renewable energy in Scotland be a priority before possible independence from the UK? Photo credit: Patrick Mackie

Has anyone thought through what will happen to Scotland’s renewable energy generation if the country ends up exiting the UK? Right now Scotland is ploughing ahead with what amounts to one of the most ambitious renewable energy generation programmes in the world.

In June 2011 the Scottish government published a 2020 Route map for Renewable Energy in Scotland with a target to generate the equivalent of 100% of its own electricity demand from renewable sources by the start of the next decade.

“This does not mean Scotland will be 100% dependent on renewables generation,” observed a report titled Energy in Scotland (PDF Link), from March last year, “but rather that renewables will form the key part of a wider, balanced electricity mix.”

Quite so. September figures (PDF Link) from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that Scotland is already home to 44% of all wind generation in the sovereign state, just one percentage point below England.
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UK town to install 25 storage systems

Electrovaya distributed energy storage systems should be installed in Bracknell, Berkshire in 2014.

Electrovaya distributed energy storage systems will be installed in Bracknell, Berkshire. Photo credit: Frerix

Electrovaya has recently announced that its SuperPolymer 2.0 technology will be storing electricity in 25 independent, distributed energy storage systems in the UK. Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution will be making the purchase as part of the GBP£30m Thames Valley Vision project. The systems will deliver from 12.kWh to over 80kWh energy capacity.
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Green light for pumped hydro project

Lower Glyn Rhonwy Quarry, Wales.

Lower Glyn Rhonwy Quarry, Wales. Photo credit: Eric Jones

It might not be the biggest project of its kind, but at half a gigawatt the Glyn Rhonwy pumped-storage hydroelectricity scheme is still a milestone in grid-scale energy storage in the UK. And as of September 2 it has been the given official go-ahead to begin construction.
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Britain boasts the biggest battery

Britain is a small island full of big surprises, not least when it comes to renewable energy. Pursuing a policy that some would call pluralistic, others opportunistic and some incoherent, the current administration has embraced fracking a week after opening Europe’s biggest offshore wind farm. Now comes another surprise at an electricity substation at Leighton Buzzard, in the county of Bedfordshire.
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Why the UK needs storage winners

As the UK's prime minister, David Cameron, inaugurates the world's largest wind farm, the government's focus should turn to energy storage. Photo credit: London Array Ltd

As the UK’s prime minister, David Cameron, inaugurates the world’s largest wind farm, the government’s focus should turn to energy storage. Photo credit: London Array Ltd

British government support for energy storage could be dependent on the emergence of winning technologies, according to Charles Yates, associate director in Grant Thornton’s UK energy, environment and sustainability team. “The government is being supportive in a low-key way through things like the Technology Strategy Board,” he told Energy Storage Report.
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Graphene producer joins the dots

A criticism often leveled at the energy storage sector is that its solutions aren’t modular, aren’t scalable and are not vertically integrated with the rest of the value chain. Our industry is not deaf to these clarion calls. And neither, it appears, are its potential suppliers. Take Durham Graphite Science (DGS).
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