RenewableUK’s latest Energy Storage Project Intelligence report shows that more than 16.1GW of battery storage capacity is operating, under construction or being planned in the UK across 729 projects.
Our last report, published in December 2019, identified a total pipeline of 10.5GW across 600 energy storage projects. The market has developed rapidly; in 2012 applications stood at just 2MW.
Batteries play a key role in our modern flexible energy system, helping grid operators to finely balance the supply of electricity to meet demand, and providing extra resources when needed, for frequency response for example.
The new document reveals that 1.1GW of battery storage capacity is currently operational compared to 0.7GW identified in December 2019. A further 0.6GW is under construction, 8.3GW of capacity is consented and 1.6GW is in the planning system. 4.5GW are identified as being at an early stage of development for future submission into the planning system.
Secondary legislation came into force in December allowing local planning authorities to determine projects with a capacity of over 50MW in England and 350MW in Wales. Previously these were determined by central Government, making the process longer and more complex. The change came about after Government acknowledged that data submitted by RenewableUK from our Project Intelligence service demonstrated that the 50MW cap was imposing an artificial ceiling on the capacity of battery storage projects.
RenewableUK has identified 3 projects which have since been submitted for determination by local planning authorities with a capacity of 100MW each.
An additional 6GW of energy storage from liquefied and compressed air, pumped hydro, flywheels and gravity-based technology is operating, under construction or being planned, bringing the total UK energy storage portfolio capacity to more than 22GW.
RenewableUK’s director of future electricity systems Barnaby Wharton said, “This is our deepest dive ever into the state of play in the UK’s innovative energy storage sector, revealing more comprehensive statistics than anyone has published before.
“We’re already seeing grid-scale batteries of 50MW being built, providing valuable flexibility to the grid, and we expect many projects with an even larger capacity will be submitted into the planning system following the removal of the 50MW cap.
“There’s no doubt that the energy storage market will continue to grow as we scale up using a variety of innovative technologies – not just lithium batteries but also flywheels, compressed air, liquid air and gravity-based storage. This cutting-edge technology is another example of how the UK is a world leader in building modern power systems.
“However, many of our projects need access to capital at a lower cost and more stable revenues. We’re hoping that the forthcoming update to the Smart System and Flexibility Plan will set out how the Government envisages making revenue streams for storage projects clearer. We also need a stable network charging regime and a long-term vision for the sector to encourage further investment by cutting-edge companies”.