Energy industry launches low-carbon innovation platform

A group of utilities giants including Centrica, DONG Energy and SSE have teamed up to launch a new innovation platform which aims to solve the barriers to a low-cost, low-carbon energy system.

The Energy Systems Innovation Platform (ESIP), led by The Carbon Trust, will showcase the opportunities for energy storage to save customers billions of pounds. Solutions to a lack of investment will be developed based around issues such as regulation, transparency and a required shift in business models.

Carbon Trust innovation director Andrew Lever said: “There is now general consensus that the UK energy markets needs to be revamped so we can embrace a flexible and more decentralised energy system.  However the fragmented nature of the energy market is driving fragmented decision making and many investments are led by technology not market needs.

“There is an urgent need for an open forum where the wider industry can collaborate to solve common issues in order to capitalise on recent storage innovation. ESIP fills that gap. We now have a window of opportunity to foster new business models and put in place the regulatory mechanisms that will give investors the confidence to stop chasing market distortions and focus on the long term.” 

‘Vital piece of the puzzle’

The Carbon Trust has previously claimed that the implementation of energy storage systems could contribute £2.4bn to UK electricity system savings by 2030, but only if a range of ‘necessary regulatory reforms’ are introduced.

The Trust has designed ESIP to bring together relevant stakeholders, including Scottish Power, Statoil and Wood Group, recognising the necessity for a collaborative approach to develop storage solutions.

The new initiative, which represents almost 50% of the UK electricity supply market, will focus on developing business models for storage applications which deliver significant cost reductions for the UK’s electricity system. The first priority is to investigate the potential for energy storage to help cost-effectively integrate wind energy into the grid.

“ESIP’s focus on developing viable business models for storage use cases aligned with system benefits is a vital piece of the puzzle which has not been looked at yet,” Carbon Trust ESIP project manager Nils Lehmann said.

ESIP works in an evidence-based way to address market failures while simultaneously identifying commercial opportunities for industry. This can help to overcome the “chicken and egg” dilemma between market creation and industry deployment that often limits the uptake of promising new solutions.”

Storage ventures

Energy storage is a concept that is beginning to make huge strides in mainstream market sectors. Yesterday, edie reported that wind energy provider DONG Energy has announced plans to integrate a 2MW battery storage system into the Burbo Bank offshore windfarm to deliver frequency response to aid the National Grid in managing grid stability.

Renault last week became the latest carmaker to venture into the energy storage market, after partnering with energy equipment suppliers Powervault and Marks & Spencer (M&S) to trial used electric vehicle (EV) batteries in home energy storage units in the UK.

Meanwhile, green energy supplier Ecotricity recently revealed plans to install its first energy storage project, near its head office in Stroud.

George Ogleby

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