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Scaling up UK energy storage is vital to securing supply and stabilising the grid

June 29, 2022

By John Ord

John Ord explores the solutions for providing more energy storage in the UK to stabilise the grid in this Scottish Construction Now article

The government plans to generate 50GW of electricity from wind power by 2030, but this could place an unsustainable burden on the grid if adequate storage for excess energy is not considered. The UK’s limited capacity to store surplus energy could result in a £2.5 billion annual bill for ‘constraint payments’ to turn off renewable generators during declines in demand.

So, what are the solutions? Pumped-storage hydropower is one of them. It is a reliable, clean, and sustainable answer to our energy-storage needs and renewable energy growth. Yet the UK's four pumped-storage facilities are over 30 years old and designed around a fossil-fuelled grid that only needed to satisfy sudden peaks in demand.

A recent trend in pumped-hydro storage across Scotland could unlock valuable lessons for upgrading the UK’s energy storage capacity to ensure we balance decarbonisation with energy security and grid stability.

The Coire Glas project, the first pumped-storage scheme installed in the UK for decades, is the first of its kind and could double Britain’s energy storage capacity. With a fast response time and vast 1500MW storage capacity, the project will provide abundant on-demand energy to stabilise the grid for days during periods of low wind output.

The UK has a unique opportunity to create a rich variety of energy storage from pumped-storage and utility-scale batteries to green hydrogen. These solutions could complement each other to create a smart, adaptable, renewably powered grid.

Read the full article in Scottish Construction Now.

  • John Ord

    John has over 20 years of experience in client, consulting, and contracting organisations, giving him a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics and future direction of his industry.

    Contact John
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