Solar panels combined with energy storage can be one of the most flexible sources of power, even contributing to peak demand in winter, according to the Renewable Energy Association (REA).
Responding to National Grid’s recent review of winter 2014/15, the association claimed that with the UK closing some of its most polluting power stations the risk of electricity blackouts in future years has increased.
National Grid has taken steps to prevent a capacity crunch this winter, securing 2.56 GW of power from generators and from major energy users willing to reduce their energy consumption at critical times.
However, as the REA pointed out, old power stations will continue to be decommissioned and it’s clear that a new strategy is needed in this area.
Energy storage represents a huge opportunity for cost savings and grid management — alleviating short-term issues caused by intermittent generation while also contributing to energy security in the long term, the organisation argued.
James Court, head of external affairs at the REA, said: It is essential that the government adopts new technologies to solve these ongoing grid problems, both to prevent increasing bills for consumers and to provide energy security. The REA is calling for a coherent national grid strategy that recognises the importance of solar and energy storage and the role they can play in solving grid issues.
A separate report from National Grid looked in more detail at the UK’s future energy needs, considering four different scenarios that take into account differing policy and economic landscapes. It concluded that innovative solutions will be needed to address future demand/supply challenges, such as greater use of interconnection, more demand side response and new balancing products, as well as the development of energy storage.