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After the UK government’s scrapping of renewable-energy subsidies in 2016, it sometimes seems as if green-energy initiatives were in retreat. In fact, the opposite is true: in 2017, the renewables sector was up eight per cent on the previous year, indicating that it’s become a truly mainstream concern.


In 2018, investors will increasingly look towards storage, rather than supply. Yet despite this urgent gap opening in the market, storage solutions for renewable energy have been elusive. Excess energy has had to piggyback on the infrastructure created for fossil fuels. Moreover, entrepreneurs in the renewables sector have focused on big-picture supply factors – wind turbines, waves, Sun and estuary power – without resolving the supply-and-demand balance. The essential conundrum that solar plants don’t produce energy without sunshine, nor wind farms without wind, has led to intermittent supply.


In 2018, these problems will be ironed out as battery storage becomes widely available.


“We will see a tipping point,” says Alasdair Cameron, renewable-energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “Even IKEA has launched a renewable solar battery power storage for domestic use.” Add this to Tesla’s Powerwall domestic battery (launched in 2015) and, as Cameron says, “Storage is moving from the grid to the garage to the landing at home.”


As energy storage for home use becomes more commonplace, mass storage will also grow. In 2016 there was 24mW of commercial-battery storage in the UK; there will be over 200mW by the end of 2018, located in battery installations around the country. Unsurprisingly, investors have followed this growth industry with interest. With headwind provided by The National Grid, companies such as EDF, E.ON and Dyson are investing in storage evelopment. Elsewhere, energy multinationals including Exxon Mobil, Shell and Total are planning for renewable and battery twin systems. The race is on to be the market leader in renewables storage, similar to the contest in electric vehicles, an industry with which it is inextricably linked.


This won’t mean the end of fossil fuels or fracking just yet. But there’s cause for optimism. In the summer of 2017, renewables achieved their highest-ever output, meeting more than half of the UK’s electricity demand. Each year, the scales tilt further towards renewables. There is healthy competition between nations and regions to become the first fully renewable zones. In 2017, Tesla’s Elon Musk launched a major South Australian campaign to find mass storage in order to help the region become a renewables-only state. It’s an industry in which names are being made.


Battery storage is scaleable, from domestic to grid size, with land owners and big companies realising the potential economic benefits. It can help more remote regions as well as population centres: a model is provided by Ta’ū island in American Samoa, which has relied on oil tankers to import energy, but is now supported by Tesla’s Solar City, a battery-storage installation. Norwegian energy group Statoil is installing the world’s first offshore wind-farm battery system, under the name Batwind, at the Hywind installation off the coast of Scotland. We’re seeing a new generation of battery gigafactories being built in Europe and growing interaction between homes and the grid.


According to Hugh McNeal of the wind industry’s trade body RenewableUK and solar expert Simon Virley of KPMG, this storage revolution is capable of transforming the industry. In 2018, it will become even more competitive and reliable – and will sound the death knell for fossil fuels in the process.

This article was posted on on 18th January 2018 –


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The below article was published by the BBC on 24th July 2017. It examines the potential saving for UK electricity consumers thanks to changes in the way electricity is made, used and stored. The article was written by BBC Environment Analyst, Roger Harrabin.

Consumers in the UK could save billions of pounds thanks to major changes in the way electricity is made, used and stored, the government has said.

New rules will make it easier for people to generate their own power with solar panels, store it in batteries and sell it to the National Grid.

If they work, consumers will save £17bn to £40bn by 2050, according to the government and energy regulator Ofgem.

The rules are due to come into effect over the next year. They will reduce costs for someone who allows their washing machine to be turned on by the internet to maximise use of cheap solar power on a sunny afternoon. And they will even support people who agree to have their freezers switched off for a few minutes to smooth demand at peak times.

They’ll also benefit a business that allows its air-conditioning to be turned down briefly to help balance a spell of peak energy demand on the National Grid.

Among the first to gain from the rule changes will be people with solar panels and battery storage. At the moment they are charged tariffs when they import electricity into their home or export it back to the grid. The government has realised that this rule must change because it deters people from using power more flexibly in a way that will benefit everyone.

Thanks to improvements in digital technology, battery storage and renewables, these innovations in flexibility are already under way with millions of people across the UK generating and storing electricity. The new rules have been designed to cash in on this.

The government will set up a “battery institute” to fund firms seeking major breakthroughs in battery research and development. Its critics say it has been slow to support the burgeoning battery industry – and has allowed South Korea, Japan and China to take a lead.

The tiny energy savings of millions of people and firms will be pulled together into packages by traders, who will offer substantial chunks of energy saving to the National Grid at the click of a computer. So instead of predicting peak demand then building power stations to meet it, energy managers will be able to trade in Negawatts – negative electricity.

In a speech made in Birmingham, Business Secretary Greg Clark outlined further a £246m investment in the UK’s industrial strategy, with energy at its heart. He gave details of a competition for innovation in battery technology, which he says will help make the UK a world leader in battery design and manufacture.

Nicola Shaw, executive director of National Grid, previously told BBC News that between 30% and 50% of fluctuations on the grid could be smoothed by households and businesses adjusting their demand at peak times.

‘Moment of change’

“We are at a moment of real change in the energy industry,” she said. “From an historic perspective, we created energy in big generating organisations that sent power to houses and their businesses. “Now we are producing energy in those places – mostly with solar power.”

An Ofgem source told BBC News the current rules on trading energy are not fit for the digital age because they often discourage people using energy flexibly.

The rules were made before the digital revolution and before the boom in variable renewable energy.