Anticipating flex needs and keeping Britain’s fast-changing grids steady and balanced will come at a cost of £20 billion spent between 2025 and 2030 on behemoth-scale batteries, respected analysts Cornwall Insight believe.
The energy market soothsayers advocate that as much as 18% of budgeted Whitehall support for new power tech should look to increase capacity, duration and speed of response among DNO- and backbone-facing storage assets.
The T4 Capacity Market auction for delivery in fiscal 2025-26 will add 2.6GW, bringing total storage across Britain’s grid system to 4GW.
That can only be the start, though, according to senior Cornwall modeller Tom Edwards.
Writing in the firm’s GB Power Outlook to 2030, Edwards says the growth in green tech shouldering the burden of generation, coupled with falling battery prices, point to increased importance for storage technologies.
Paying for the level of battery capacity Cornwall believes is necessary will cost approximately £20bn between 2025 and 2030.
“This is around 18% of the total investment which will be required in all technologies over the same period, including solar, wind, nuclear, and CCUS”, the analyst writes.
More renewable generation dispersed across the grid will leave it more exposed to both demand patterns and Britain’s weather. “Perfect for storage” is Edwards’ summation.
“This will necessitate the development of backup technologies to carry the system through low wind and solar output periods, which could include long-duration storage, hydrogen, nuclear, interconnection, Carbon Capture, or unabated gas continuing to run at low load factors, offset by captured emissions elsewhere”, he predicts.
“Batteries won’t be immune either with development favoring two-hour and eventually four-hour battery applications”, Edwards concludes.
Read his analysis here