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Electricity Network under strain ¦ Climate Change Lawyer

Electricity Network under strain ¦ Climate Change Lawyer

The UK electricity network is under strain with spare capacity margin at a seven year low accoring to figures contained in the National Grid 2014/5 winter outlook. As energy demand increases, the development of energy storage technologies becomes increasingly important, not only to ensure the future supply of UK electricty, but also to allow the UK to develop as an interenational centre as excellent in an important new market.

Other research is being supported by the EPSRC who have invested £30m in five academic centres across the UK to support grid - scale energy storage including the £4m SUPERGREEN energy Hub at the University of Oxford and the new Centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage at the University of Birmingham.

The Electric Storage Network Consultation November 2014 sets out a number of 'key actions' that will enhance the use of energy storage in the electricty networks. The recommendations are aimed at the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment, and to open up disucssions with the regulatory agencies, OFGEM and the Utilitiy Regulator.

Electricity storage is a worldwide industry, with pumped hydro being the main current technology. The use of advanced storage technologies is growing around the world, with the UK leading the field in the use of Liquid Air Energy and other technologies. With the current demand approaching supply, the anticipated growth of demand will require significant investment if the UK is to meet the increase in peak demand.

The UK government has invested in the power networks following deregulation and privatisation. Renewable Obligation Certificates ( ROC's) have encoraged investment in wind power, Feed in Tarrifs (FITs) support smaller generation and Contracts for Difference (CFDs) give certainty for larger projects. Plans for a Capacity Market to incentivise generation of power at peak times will produce income to sucessful bidders. 

The report argues that financial incentive is necessary to support new technology such as flywheels, batteries, compressed air and liquid air. In the past 24 months, £80m funding has been commited to support research and design in electricity storage across the UK. In December 2014 Europe's largest battery will be deployed at Leighton Buzzard and in 2015 a number of grid scale projects will come online, including Highview Powers 5MW/15 MW at Pislworth, Manchester. Other projects include Redt  UK Redox Flow battery in the Island of Gigha, Scotland and Isentropic Thermal project for Western Power.


The proposals are:

  • More volatile imbalance charges to encourage generators to seek innovative ways to balance their production schedule.
  • Improved contract terms ancillary services and energy markets. The devil is in the detail.
  • Ensure Feed in Tarrifs and Renewable Obligation Certificates can only be received if complementary electricity storage technology has also been built.
  • Introduce a mandated requirement for network companies to install storage.


For any advice and assistance for issues like these please do call Jeremy on 0844 2722322 or submit a comment below. Jeremy will come back to you at the earliest convenience.

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