Government to invest £246m in battery storage technology

Anesco, the UK’s leading provider of utility-scale energy storage solutions, has welcomed government plans for a more flexible energy system and the news that the Government is to invest £246m in the advancement of battery storage technology.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Ofgem have this week announced plans for a major shakeup of the UK’s energy system.

A key focus will be to remove barriers to the use of battery storage, for example by simplifying the planning and grid connection process. It will also be made clearer which renewable generators can be co-located with retrofit battery storage systems without impacting on subsidy-backed revenue streams currently in place.

Anesco, based in Reading, installed the country’s first utility-scale battery storage unit back in September 2014 and now has 28 operational energy storage sites totalling 29MW. The company’s portfolio is expected to exceed 185MW by the end of 2018.

According to Steve Shine, executive chairman of Anesco, the technology is a vital and much underestimated component in the energy mix of the future.

He commented: “We’re delighted the government is starting to recognise the potential of battery storage. As well as aiding grid stability, energy storage can help maximise the use of renewable power being generated, while breeding a more resilient local grid.

“The challenge has always been how to get energy storage to work alongside existing renewables schemes, with legislation drafted long before the technology was even on the table. By addressing these issues, removing barriers to its deployment and investing in new innovations in this space, the potential of the technology – both in the long and short term – has really been cemented. These steps will open the door to many more opportunities for the sector.”

Responding to the announcement, Gareth Redmond-King, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF commented: “Battery storage is a clear game-changer in our ability to produce clean power from renewables. These technologies give us flexibility to run on solar when the sun isn’t shining, and be powered by wind when it is still.

“It will support the transition to electric cars and enable our homes to be more efficient – which means cheaper, as well as cleaner and greener energy. It is critical in engaging us all with the energy we use, and giving us the tools we need to use it better.

“Although this investment is very heartening, it is only one piece in a much bigger jigsaw that will show us how we decarbonise our economy over the next decade, and beyond. We need to see the whole picture and we urgently need to see the UK Government’s long overdue Clean Growth Plan.”

Hannah Martin, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, added: “This announcement is a sign of the modern, smart and flexible energy system we are moving towards. Innovation in battery technology will support the electric vehicle revolution, tackling lethal air pollution, and complementing renewables and energy efficiency.

“To make the most of the potential for these cutting-edge technologies, the Government should also increase its support for ever-cheaper wind and solar. Then we can maintain global leadership in clean energy technologies, whilst providing energy security, new jobs and lower bills.”