Energy Storage

Energy storage is a technology that is being increasingly applied across the UK power system, at all levels: UK consumers (domestic, industrial and commercial), the distribution and transmission systems, and to power generation.

The Bia Power team acquired three storage projects in the UK in 2019 totalling 118MW and has ambitions to develop a further 1GW over the next five years.

Energy (or battery) storage is a vital tool that the National Grid System Operator uses to balance the grid and provide other important services.

Supporting national and local infrastructure

The main function of energy storage is to provide the Grid with artificial inertia. This is stored electricity that can be called upon to provide fast response for short-periods of time – 30 to 90 minutes.

The increased deployment of battery storage has enabled a greater uptake of renewable generation, including solar PV and wind power. In the longer-term, storage will help to further reduce the energy system’s operating cost, as it can optimise the role of generation, transmission, distribution and supply.

Battery storage is a complement to renewable generation, by absorbing and releasing energy to balance power generation with demand. A properly configured electricity storage facility can provide the National Grid Energy System Operator with the balancing services that are becoming more necessary as renewable generation increases variability in supply, and increased electrification increases the swings in demand.

If grid balancing is not done correctly, there is wastage and inefficiency on the system, and a higher risk of power cuts.

The main benefits of storage are:

  • the integration of more renewables (especially solar PV and wind) in the energy mix.
  • storage will decrease the need to invest in new conventional generation capacity
  • storage improves energy security by optimising the supply and demand, thus reducing the need to import electricity via interconnectors.
  • storage provides system stability during electricity outages by supplying energy at these times and reducing the financial costs of power outages.
  • utilisation of storage also means fewer and cheaper electricity transmission and distribution system upgrades are required.
  • energy can be stored when prices are low and used on site when they are high to save consumers and businesses money on their bills. Alternatively. the stored energy can be sold.
  • storage can provide ancillary services to National Grid System Operator at lower cost, lower carbon intensity than conventional thermal power plants.

The Benefits of Energy Storage

Healthy investment outlook

Battery storage capacity in Great Britain is likely to heavily increase as we move towards operating a zero-carbon energy system. At the end of 2019, GB battery storage capacity was 0.88GWh; National Grid forecast that it could be as high as 2.30GWh in 2025.