Bet on Batteries, UK Urged

The UK government must quickly develop a coordinated plan to support investment in long-duration energy technologies to meet net zero commitments and energy security needs, according to a new report. Published by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, the document stated that the UK should commit to a strategic reserve in the form of long-duration energy storage, and accelerate decision-making and coordination to deliver its Strategic Spatial Energy Plan. Key required actions include setting an explicit minimum target for long-duration energy storage, outlining details of the UK’s long-duration storage business model, and clarifying the role of hydrogen in the future energy system. “Storage isn’t just about batteries. Long duration storage that can store energy for days, weeks and even years will be key,” said Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Chair of the committee. “It is distressing to see that the government lacks a clear plan for energy supply risks and, indeed, is still deliberating over investment in energy storage to prevent future crises.” Earlier this week, UK Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero Claire Coutinho said a new generation of gas-fired power stations would be needed to address the intermittency of renewable energy supply. In a recent blog, Marija Simpraga, Infrastructure Strategist for Real Assets at Legal & General Investment Management, suggested that adding further gas-fired power generation capacity could “jeopardise” energy security goals in Europe and the UK. “Open cycle gas turbines are quick and cost effective to build. They can be expected to operate at relatively low loads, producing only modest amounts of electricity,” said James Smith, Fund Manager at the Premier Miton Global Renewables Trust, commenting on Coutinho’s speech.

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