The government has launched a two-month consultation into long-duration electricity storage on Britain’s grids.
Extending volumes of power hosting for periods beyond two hours is seen as critical to extracting carbon from grids, and balancing a system increasingly reliant on intermittent generation from renewable sources.
Central to Whitehall’s latest thinking is developing a cap and floor price mechanism, analogous to the contracts for difference model successfully deployed in spurring investment to advance wind, solar and hydro electricity.
Deploying up to 20 gigawatts (GW) of long duration electricity storage will result, the document calculates, in system savings of up to £24bn, representing a saving to consumers of 3.3% of the total system costs.
Aimed at investors, power suppliers, storage project developers and technologists, consumer groups and network operators, the views-gathering exercise runs until 5 March.
The department’s call for evidence in July 2021 identified barriers to long duration storage including lack of certainty about revenues, high upfront capital costs and long build times.
Whitehall’s outline thinking offers suggestions for eligibility criteria to regulate participants in storage markets, as well as scenarios developed by D-ESNZ officials for their growth.
Industry and commercial interests have been increasingly pondering the steps needed in financial and technical engineering to bring forward grid-scale long-term power endurance in serious volumes. Consultancy McKinseys initiated its international research group in 2021.
Last winter, consultants Stonehaven advising ‘liquid air’ technologists Highview Power calculated that Britain had wasted as much as £ 60 billion over four winter months alone, through lack of long-term power storage.
Renewables and clean tech trades body the REA two years ago published its own thinking on long-duration power hosting and despatch.
Its head of policy Frank Gordon gave the ministry’s two-month consulation a warm welcome.
“The REA welcomes the publication of proposals to reward the considerable system benefits from longer duration energy storage systems with a new support mechanism. We need much more of this valuable resource, alongside all forms and durations of energy storage, to make the transition to a Net Zero energy system as smooth and cost effective as possible.
”We look forward to discussing the details with Government and our members and working together on implementation as soon as possible.”
Read the government consultation document here.