The government will have to commit £20bn on battery storage to meet its end-of-decade renewables targets, argued energy specialists Cornwall Insight.
Its modelling on Great Britain’s power market has revealed that between 2025 and 2030, the government must spend nearly nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of its total energy technologies investments to ensure a stable energy markets.
The group’s latest estimates almost 10 per cent of grid capacity will have to be provided by battery storage by 2030, to address stability and flexibility requirements in the energy market.
This is driven by significant changes to the technological make-up of the system including the increase in intermittent energy sources such as solar and wind power.
While the cost of batteries is expected to fall as more are manufactured and enter the market, there will still be major headwinds in the market that could scupper renewable ramp-up plams.
For instance, materials costs following the wider rise in commodity prices across the world and supply chain issues in major battery production centres are likely to be the main hurdle for a major roll out of battery projects.
Last month, the Downing Street unveiled the UK’s energy security strategy, with a focus on bolstering domestic renewable energy and securing the country’s energy independence.
This followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the West looking to wean itself off Kremlin backed hydrocarbons.
Plans including boosting onshore wind from 11 GW to 50 GW by the end of the decade and solar power from 14 GW to 70 GW.
Tom Edwards, senior modeller at Cornwall Insight explained: “Up to 2030 and beyond, the GB energy market will face a significant transition towards a renewables led supply, as we aim to reach our ultimate goal of net zero by 2050.”
“With all coal capacity due to close by April 2024 and nuclear and combined cycle gas turbine capacity ageing and approaching retirement, a significant investment will be needed to develop new technologies to compensate for these capacity losses while delivering on the government’s offshore wind targets and net zero legislation.”
He also forecast that power markets will become more difficult to predict, making battery storage systems even more crucial.
The modeller concluded: “The shift in power markets will significantly alter the operation and development of the power generation mix, making prices more volatile and more exposed to weather and demand patterns. This will necessitate the development of back-up technologies to carry the system through when the wind does not blow, and the sun does not shine.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “Large-scale, long-duration electricity storage technologies such as pumped hydro storage and liquid air energy storage are key to a secure, cost-effective and low carbon energy system. We will be announcing further plans on investment in this area in due course.”