Lack of long-duration batteries “costs UK £60 Billion in four months”: and the Germans have a word for it


Britain’s continuing failure to store renewable electricity at scale has left the country wasting £ 60 billion on imported gas over just four months this winter, new research from a battery promoter says.

Winter imports of expensive LNG took the place of curtailed wind power, analysis commissioned by Highview Power contends, and at eyewatering expense.

With bases in London, Dubai & Sydney, the ultra low temperature “liquid air” technologists claim capabilities in long duration batteries, guaranteeing coulomb conservation for up to 24 hours and low cost grid stabilisation.

Advised now by strategy consultants Stonehaven, Highview estimate that the early winter’s October to January period saw Britain spend more than £60 billion in hydrocarbon imports and in curtailment compensation to offshore wind farm owners, simply due to a lack of current storage.

Instead 1.35 TWh of low-carbon power – enough to power 1.2 million UK homes –  was foregone as turbines were slowed or stilled.

Highpower’s research notes that the early winter’s first four months unusually saw windless, icily cold days when homes need heating, a weather feature known in German as a ‘Dunkelflaute’, literally, a “dark calm”.

They contrasted with a boom in the fortnight after Christmas, when low-carbon sources contributed 82.5% of Britain’s power.

Buying imported LNG was generators’ and grid operators’ solution.  During some parts of the crisis its price was trading at around £3,000 per MWh, stratospherically above last year’s average of £ 60 MWh for electricity from offshore wind, say the analysts.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal the UK imported nearly £20 billion of gas in in 2021 as a whole, a 312% increase on 2020’s £4.8billion.  2022’s figure is unlikely to be lower.

But bills of that size could be shredded, the storage firm argues, given faster deployment of bigger batteries powerful enough to assist in grid stabilisation over as much as twenty-four hours, longer than the two-hour horizons offered by today’s predominant metal-based technologies.

Researchers based their estimates of wasted wind on Elexon’s stats on bid volumes for balancing markets and Ofgem’s historic gas price data.

Thanks to its expertise in cryogenics, Highview Power claims market leadership in today’s grid-ready technology aiding prolonged storage.  The firm plans to spend £10 billion in the UK alone over the next decade, building 20 grid-scale storage projects.

“Long duration energy storage can underpin the UK’s world leading position on renewables, accelerate the energy transition, create thousands of British clean energy jobs and skills, cut UK consumer bills and reduce our dependence on foreign gas,” said Highview CEO Rupert Pearce – pictured -, launching today’s study.

“Renewables are now the UK’s cheapest, most secure and most abundant form of energy”, Pearce went on.

“By storing more, we can power Britain’s homes and businesses with renewable green energy, taking millions of tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere and ending a culture of reliance on expensive foreign imports”.

A CEO-level global working party of technologists and engineers, led by strategy consultants McKinsey, has been investigating long-duration power accommodation since 2021.


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