The next government faces major energy challenges and will have to invest in the UK’s energy infrastructure to make it more efficient.
That’s according to Phil Taylor, professor of electrical power systems at Newcastle University, who argues that the next administration should do more to enable energy storage.
Taylor said that the general election manifestos talk about the importance of reducing energy usage. This can partly be achieved through smart grid technologies, such as demand-side response, helping consumers reduce their carbon footprint and save on their energy bills. Energy storage also has the potential to play a significant role if the UK’s energy market is simplified.
“Energy storage is a potential game-changer for how the UK prices energy. It can also provide many services to the grid to make the UK’s energy future more efficient, secure and lower in carbon emissions,” Taylor explained.
He believes that the UK could become a global leader in energy storage, and wants the government to give energy storage its own asset class to help it compete.
Taylor said: “If energy storage was given its own asset class with accompanying rules for appropriate regulatory treatment, it could offer significant benefits to the UK’s energy network such as balancing supply with demand, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and hedging against fluctuating energy prices that lead to fuel poverty.”
A further possibility is offering feed-in tariffs or stimulus packages to reduce pay-back periods for energy storage, in the same way that they have been used in the market for solar panels, for example.
Parties need to look beyond the next election and make long-term, carefully considered decisions about energy policy, the professor argued.
“It’s collaborative planning with pre-emptive investment that is required to secure the UK’s energy future and storage is an example of not only achieving a more sustainable energy supply, but making the UK economy more competitive, encouraging businesses to set up here,” Taylor concluded.