Wind and solar as renewable energy technologies produce much of the electricity we need to power our homes and offices and are key to speeding up the replacement of fossil fuels.
Battery storage systems will also play a vital role in helping with the management of green energy supplies and responding to electricity demand.
These systems allow renewable energy to be stored and then released when there is a need for the energy. A battery is charged by electricity generated from a renewable energy technology.
Energy is then released from the system during times of peak demand, helping to limit cost by replacing power from the grid.
Battery storage needs to use low-cost technologies that have long lives, are safe and can store enough energy to match demand.
Lithium-ion batteries are the most economically viable and are used in laptops and smartphones, but there are environmental and human costs associated with lithium extraction so it’s worth noting other technologies for battery storage currently being developed, including:
Compressed air energy storage: Surplus power is used to compress air which is then stored and the compressed air is released through an air turbine to generate electricity.
Mechanical gravity energy storage: Excess energy from the grid is used to raise a mass to generate gravitational potential energy, which is then dropped to convert potential energy into electricity through an electric generator.
Flow battery: This is a rechargeable fuel cell in which energy is provided by two chemical components dissolved in liquids that are pumped through a system on each side of a membrane.
In the past seven years the UK market’s appetite for battery storage systems has increased, particularly in 2022 with the addition of 800MWh of new utility energy storage projects with the annual deployment growing by 70% compared to 2020. In addition, the pipeline of future projects increased substantially by 34.5GW in 2022.
By 2022 the total installed capacity was nearly 2.4GW across 161 sites (Energy Storage News, February 2023). Most of projects deployed in 2022 were submitted to planning between 2017 and 2019, which suggests that there is still a large number of projects submitted during this period that are still pending construction – this underlines the potential that Galbraith has been seeing, and future growth in the near future.
Compared to previous years, Galbraith has entered into more discussions about battery storage projects than ever before. Not only are we being approached and agreeing heads of terms for standalone battery projects, but we are also seeing energy storage being introduced into solar and wind heads of terms as part of co-located projects in which multiple renewable technologies co-exist to maximise land usage and grid capacity.