With the UK’s battery storage capacity expected to increase to 1.6 GW by 2020, we look at why the battery boom will be so important to the UK’s power infrastructure.
Both large companies and land owners have been the first to spot the potential benefits of power storage, making income from something that requires little upkeep, while also potentially supplying their own needs at a much-reduced cost.
The idea of battery storage is simple – store the energy when it is surplus and cheap and use it or send it back, when it is more scarce and expensive. Compound that with the fact they sit hand in hand with renewable or sustainable energy generation and it’s plain to see why we are defiantly on the brink of the battery boom!
You don’t need a crystal ball to be able to predict that in the future the demand for electricity is going to be ridiculous. There are 37.8 million registered vehicles on the road, as of 2017, so just imagine how many electric vehicles are going to be on the road by 2050? In fact, as most things gradually change to be powered by electricity, the consumption per person in the next 20yrs could double, if not treble!
As expectations on the human race increase, so does the likeliness of shortages, hence why it’s more important than ever that we increase storage and combine that with renewable energy to keep thing harmonic.
In August 2016, the National Grid auctioned a contract to supply 200MW of storage in 8 battery systems, so that supply and demand could be balanced on a second by second basis. They were won by companies such as EDF and Eon, two large energy suppliers, showing early signs of the beginning of a fully renewable energy supply market.
This feeling is cemented in the general mood, as May 2016 saw many large oil companies (Shell, Exxon Mobil and Total) lay out plans for renewable and battery twin systems, diversifying away from petroleum and investing substantial amounts of capital ($500m and $1.4bn acquisition of solar power company, SunPower by Total) into the renewable market.
The advancements in recent years of battery capacity are largely due to one factor: Whoever is first to make the best functioning battery, with the largest capacity, will be the market leader when it comes to future market supply. This will buy valuable time and an invaluable asset to push ahead of other companies in the industry, much the same as the electric vehicle race.
Notably in March 2016, one of the UKs best known and arguably, best living inventor and entrepreneurs, James Dyson and his company Dyson, announced that they would be investing a billion pounds into storage development.
The cost of supplying remote regions with electricity makes the twin usage of renewable energy sources and battery storage a real financial asset. The implication of this combination would mean a constant power supply from a localised grid, no infrastructure costs for installations and upkeep, and not having to pay for any energy consumed. Regions like the Pacific Islands, which previously relied on shipments of oil, can now supply themselves with energy more reliably than ever before, thanks to Tesla’s Solar City and battery storage.
Given all the investment and adoption of the technology, one last major factor affecting the increase in uptake is the market force of economies of scale. The technology is simply getting cheaper as more people adopt and invest in it, making it more competitive and reliable than other sources. It is a combination of these reasons, which has led to the current battery boom!
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