Financial incentive needed to drive UK energy storage

The lack of an incentive regime for battery projects and the like – whether a fixed feed-in tariff or market-driven contracts-for-difference program – is likely to see the COP26 host miss its 100%-clean-power-by-2035 commitment, according to K2 Management.

November 3, 2021

A Danish renewable energy consultancy has warned the U.K. is likely to miss its target of having clean sources generate all its power by 2035 unless it introduces a financial incentive to drive energy storage deployment.

K2 Management, based in Viby J, has called for the U.K. government to introduce a tariff incentive to attract investors to fund the large scale energy storage facilities needed to ramp up solar and wind power generation assets to a sufficient level to meet the nation’s energy needs. An alternative solution, the consultant said, might be to set up a contracts-for-difference (CfD) regime for storage, similar to the one which guarantees returns for solar plants without the risk of tipping public finances too deeply into the red.

By contrast with the messages emerging from the host of the COP26 climate change summit, which is keen to showcase its clean power credentials, K2 issued a press release today which stated: “The growth in U.K. renewable energy is at its lowest since 2010.”

With the consultant also calling for new measures to ramp up wind farm development, K2 said the lack of incentives for storage helped partially explain a lack of clean energy projects beyond this decade.

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In addition to planning constraints on wind farms, “we also need to rapidly get a grip on storage. Over the last few weeks, the renewable energy industry has been criticized in the wake of high gas prices and the challenge this has placed on consumer energy bills,” said the appropriately-named Gary Bills, director of projects in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for K2. “But renewables can only start to make a meaningful baseload power contribution through a significant increase in a mechanism that releases the storage potential – of which there are a range of bankable technologies.

“For this to take place, we therefore have to incentivize the investment for storage technology – either through a tariff or CfD mechanism, which enables us to co-locate the technology at new and existing wind and solar project sites, and deliver clean power outside the intermittency windows of renewables.”

London-based clean power developer Queequeg Renewables yesterday announced plans to construct 2 GWh of utility scale battery facilities in the U.K., in the form of 20-480 MWh projects, in addition to “some” storage systems installed alongside a planned 1.3 GW of new solar farms.

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