Utility Week

Utility Week 28th November 2014

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/423227

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 31

The Topic: Electricity storage ElEctricity storagE THE Topic 12 | 28th November - 4th December 2014 | UtILItY WeeK S urely it's a simple thing to catego- rise electricity storage? Think again. Under UK market definitions con- structed to accommodate generators and suppliers – storage is neither supply nor generation. Or else it is both. Meanwhile, there is certainty in some quarters that storage is needed as a matter of urgency to compensate for the intermit- tency of renewable power. Stakeholders from across the energy sector share an ambition to add 2GW of storage capacity to the UK's cur- rent 3GW by 2020. The technologies closest to commercial operation include various batter- ies at the low to middle range, with mechani- cal systems based on compressed air and pumped water storage at the high end. Grid-scale storage of up to 100MW can soak up surplus, off-peak renewable gen- eration and deploy it to fill capacity gaps created when the wind fails to blow. Aside from that, distribution-level storage of up to 10MW can shave peak demand to offset the cost of distribution network reinforcement and provide ancillary services. And it can dig the system out of a hole when a black start is needed or when a large nuclear generator or offshore array falls over. All useful stuff. How does it fit into today's market? Right now, it doesn't. Power storage players want change. UK Power Networks' commercial man- ager Nick Heyward is the hand on the tiller of the distribution company's Smarter Net- work Storage project, based on a 6MW lith- ium-ion battery storage facility currently being commissioned in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. "The project is more about market bar- riers and regulatory barriers than technical ones," he says. Heyward, like many in the electricity storage game, is critical of what he sees as an absence of regulatory and policy support for storage. He argues that there is much in existing regulation that is "ambigu- ous" about the rules that apply to stored power and how they are applied. Dubious definition Storage is not generation but, by default, it is currently treated as such by the regula- tor. That brings storage projects owned and What's required to get the energy storage sector moving in the UK? "There should be some sort of allowance – a strike price – to generate certainty for pumped stor- age. We need gov- ernment policy leadership." Craig McMaster, business director, MHW Global operated by distribution network opera- tors (DNOs) up against regulatory buffers. Heyward explains: "Storage looks like gen- eration, and demand. If you treat it as gen- eration you make things difficult because a DNO can't hold a generation licence. If it's not generation – and the consensus on that is growing – do we need a new classification or can we do without that?" About half of the 2GW-by-2020 ambition is expected to be distributed storage with schemes at about 5-10MW. DNOs face invest- ment decisions driven by anticipated radi- cal change in consumption profiles. L ikely culprits of change include smart metering and other connected devices, microgenera- tion, electrification of heating and possibly electric vehicle use. Being able to abate peak demand with the use of storage embedded in the network could offset conventional net- work reinforcement costs. The possibility of revenue from storage in the frequency and voltage control services market makes it still more promising. DNO trading no-go Putting aside the regulatory definition of storage, there are further obstacles restrict- ing DNOs' latitude to exploit storage. There are services, potentially open to a DNO-owned storage plant, outside those Opinion: where's the support?

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - Utility Week 28th November 2014