Thursday, 12 October 2017

Large-scale battery storage >>> "transforming the UK’s energy system and making it greener"

There are lots of reasons for building the new nuclear power station at Hinkley:
Electricity consumers 'to fund nuclear weapons through Hinkley Point C' | UK news | The Guardian

There are also lots of reasons not to:

The Economist, traditionally a cheerleader for low-cost market solutions to everything, including energy, has also lost faith in Hinkley, which it describes as a “white elephant”.
“To keep the lights on in the short run it would make more sense to use gas-powered plants. These can be built quickly, run cheaply and turned on or off as required. Meanwhile, the sums earmarked for Hinkley could be put to use in better ways,” it said in an editorial headlined “Hinkley Pointless”.
The Economist believes improved electricity storage is a key answer to the frequently repeated criticism of wind and solar that it is intermittent, and points out that battery technology is fast improving.
The magazine also champions interconnectors, which can link energy-hungry Britain with northern Europe, where there is a wind-energy surplus, or with a country such as Iceland – a centre of geothermal power due to its volcanoes.
The Economist concludes: “All of these options would be cheaper than Hinkley, which would take 10 years to get going and represent a huge, continuing cost to bill payers, if it ever worked at all. Such a strategy would also buy time to see what new technologies emerge.”
If wind and solar power are cheaper and quicker, do we really need Hinkley Point? | Business | The Guardian

The Financial Times agreed:

And one year on, it's even more the case:

As pointed out by the EDW blog:
Utility companies move into battery storage, not nuclear | East Devon Watch

With the full piece from the Guardian:

Mega-battery plant to come online in Sheffield

Facility run by E.ON, to be followed by many more, will help UK grid cope with fast-growing amount of renewable energy
The storage facility in Blackburn Meadows, Sheffield, with a combined heat and power plant in the background. Photograph: E.ON
Britain’s switch to greener energy will take another significant step forward this week with the opening of an industrial-scale battery site in Sheffield.
E.ON said the facility, which is next to an existing power plant and has the equivalent capacity of half a million phone batteries, marked a milestone in its efforts to develop storage for electricity from windfarms, nuclear reactors and gas power stations.
The plant, housed in four shipping containers, is the type of project hailed by the business secretary, Greg Clark, as crucial to transforming the UK’s energy system and making it greener.
At 10MW, the Blackburn Meadows battery is one of the biggest in Britain so far, but will soon be eclipsed by much larger plants.
Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, is building a 49MW facility on the site of a former power station in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, while EDF Energyis working on one of the same size at its West Burton gas power station in Nottinghamshire.
David Topping, the director of business, heat and power solutions at E.ON, said: “This is a milestone for E.ON in the new energy world and an important recognition of the enormous potential for battery solutions in the UK.”
The utility-scale batteries are being built in response to a request from National Grid, the owner of Britain’s power transmission network, for contracts to help it keep electricity supply and demand in balance, which is posing an increasing challenge for the grid as more intermittent wind and solar comes online.

Balancing supply and demand is essential for keeping the frequency of electricity constant at 50Hz across the UK. The ability of batteries to respond to demand in less than a second makes them ideal for the task, with earlier sources of backup power much slower at just under 10 seconds.
E.ON has secured £3.89m of the £65.9m of contracts awarded for the service, though National Grid estimates the batteries will save it £200m over four years.
Leon Walker, the commercial development manager at National Grid, said: “Using battery storage is a significant development for managing the national grid. It’s an ultra-fast way of keeping electricity supply and demand balanced.”
The new generation of batteries will also earn their owners money by helping with the government subsidy scheme for providing backup power during winter, known as the capacity market. The storage plants will also be able to take power off the system when supply is unexpectedly high, such as on a particularly windy or sunny day.

Mega-battery plant to come online in Sheffield | Environment | The Guardian

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