Scotland unveils Storage Network to harness power of renewables

Industry body Scottish Renewables has taken steps to complement and improve the country's growing renewables sector by launching a new Storage Network.

Scotland has pumped hydro storage facilities which optimise Scotland's power network system

Scotland has pumped hydro storage facilities which optimise Scotland's power network system

The Network aims to revolutionise the way that energy is stored through the use of storage technologies and developments such as batteries, electric vehicles, flywheels, supercapacitors, hydrogen and hydro.

Joss Blamire, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “It is of vital importance to our energy system that we have a strong energy storage sector to complement Scotland's growing renewable electricity and heat sectors and to increase our energy security.

“Being able to store when it is generated and deploy when it is needed would help to maximise our use of renewables generation, cut carbon emissions further, and revolutionise the way we use energy.”

The Storage Network was announced late last week, alongside a new Scottish Renewables report titled 'Energy Storage: The Basics’ which highlights some of the energy storage technologies now available at various scales and stages of development; and outlines the characteristics and relative strengths of each method.

The report calls on anyone with expertise or interest in any of the methods to join the Storage Network and assist in developing the energy storage market in Scotland.

Energy Storage - The Basics - Scottish Renewables

According to the report, the global market for large scale energy storage will amount to £20bn by 2022.A further investment of about £1.5bn in the energy storage industry could potentially create 5,000 jobs in manufacturing, assembly and operation, the report states.

The report mentions some of the technologies that are currently deployed in Scotland, and how they can be developed based on the knowledge already at disposal. Hydrogen fuel cells, currently used in an Aberdeen bus fleet, have the potential to store 10kW and can power vehicles for a range of 300 miles. By working with universities, the hope is to use this technology as a way of storing energy at times of low demand.

Scotland is already unlocking the economic benefits by developing grid-scale batteries as well as using pumped storage hydro. The nation also has pumped hydro storage facilities at Ben Cruachan and Ben Foyers, with capacity limited at 740MW.

Scotland is also working on developing compressed-air technology which converts electrical energy into high-pressure compressed air. This air can be released at a later time to drive a generator and produce electricity when heated. Large-scale projects such as abandoned mine storage can store 300-400MW of energy reserves.

Storage scores

In March this year, figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) revealed that Scotland had met its 50% renewable electricity target a year ahead of schedule, after a surge of 11.7% in the past year alone.

Last month, the Scottish Government-funded Wave Energy Scotland (WES) allocated £7m to 16 wave energy developers to help them commercialise their technologies.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has predicted an international ‘megashift’ towards energy storage within the next 10 years, with batteries being the key focus. ARENA forecasts that the cost of Li-ion batteries will fall 60% by 2020 and the cost of flow batteries will fall by 40%, leading to an installation boom.

Matt Mace


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