A renewable energy company CEO has warned that Britain is risking a cheap energy loss of £4 billion if it doesn't sufficiently invest in energy storage sites. This is because wind and solar energy are intermittent sources of clean power, and there is currently insufficient ability to store excess energy at times when winds are blowing and the sun is shining.
Without this storage capability, the UK risks losing billions of pounds worth of low-cost, renewable energy in the coming years. However, if adequate storage and battery facilities are built, the waste could be prevented.
Without the ability to store excess energy during peak production periods where supply exceeds demand, the excess doesn't go back into the grid for later distribution to homes. CEO of Highview Power, Rupert Pearce explained that the UK could only reach the next stage of its independent energy future with this development.
He explained that for wind energy in particular, where the UK is a leader, the wind blows 70% of the time. However, demand doesn't match the output, which puts constraints on the system, unless the power can be captured and stored for later use. Every year, 3.5 TWh of wind energy is now being lost. This is enough to power Liverpool for a full week.
Offshore wind generators are already being warned that they must enter strategic partnerships with storage capabilities so that the market can reach its full potential. Currently, the National Grid pays out a billion pounds a year to prevent wind farms from generating excess energy. This is because they must pay the operators whether they produce or not, under contractual arrangements that were embedded to encourage investment in offshore wind capabilities. This requirement will grow in the coming years.