Current affairs

Bill Wright, head of energy solutions at the ECA, reflects on a positive month for the renewable industry – which is set to benefit hugely from cheaper energy storage

My letter to the new energy secretary obviously fell on deaf ears last month as there is now great uncertainty over onshore wind power, proven to be one of the most cost effective forms of renewable energy. Is this going to be the shape of the coming years with uncertainty the norm?

Anyway the good news is that energy storage is now firmly on the agenda with the announcement by Tesla of their battery packs for PV systems. The Powerwall for domestic premises is competitively priced and my initial calculations, based on a domestic price of 15p per unit, was that the pay back was well within 10 years, in the same timescale as domestic PV systems. Tesla has announced that due to criticism of the low capacity and output power of the unit that they will double these at no extra cost. Deliveries start this year but they have orders which will be delivered in 2016. It has not been announced when the system will become fully available in the UK but it could prove very popular. Mercedes Benz have now also got in on the act by announcing that they too will be marketing storage batteries based on the EV battery technology. It looks like the electric vehicle is proving to be the springboard for energy storage.

The marketing will have to very careful not to give the impression that by fitting these batteries that the owner will be immune from power outages from the local electricity network. The inverter has to be of a suitable type and there has to be isolation complying with the Distributor requirements.