Final call: MPs urge UK to ‘get a move on’ with energy storage and demand response

In its last report before being disbanded, the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECC) has urged the UK Government to incentivise innovative energy storage and demand response technologies that could provide a clean, flexible and secure energy system fit for the future.

The Government should redesign its Capacity Market to give the market a “clear signal” that demand response capacity is a preferred option to diesel generation plants, and “move quickly” to address the regulatory barriers faced by energy storage, the ECC suggests.

ECC chair Angus MacNeil said: “The Government must get a move on and encourage the energy market to embrace smart technological solutions like energy storage and demand side response. There is an incredible opportunity for the UK to become a world leader in these disruptive technologies. Yet our current energy security subsidies favour dirty diesel generation over smart new clean tech solutions.”

“Getting demand response right will empower consumers, reduce bills, ease pressure on the grid, and lower carbon dioxide emissions. Energy storage is a vital keystone in building a clean electricity system. It will mean we won’t have to wait for the sun to shine or the wind to blow to get our energy from renewables.

“We can generate electricity, store it and turn it on when it’s needed. If current regulatory barriers to storage were removed, some £7bn per annum of savings to consumers could be achieved.”

‘Beacon of good practice’

Among the recommendations for energy storage are a call for a clear definition of the technology, and a high-level public commitment from the Government to make the UK a storage “world-leader”. The report notes that the last two capacity market auctions have failed to deliver any energy storage, and suggests a subsidy framework would accelerate deployment.

Demand response has been undermined by unfair bid bonds and short contract lengths available under the Government’s Capacity Market, says the ECC, which highlights the technology’s potential to slash costs to customers, reduce emissions and improve the efficiency of the energy system. The ECC urges the Government to become a “beacon of good practice” by demonstrating the use of flexible demand solutions across the Government and Parliamentary estates.

The report also reflects on the implications of the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) on the country’s energy policy. The short-term impacts of the vote on the electricity on gas supply have been limited, allegedly, but the energy sector has witnessed a reduction in the “already-weak” investor confidence. The ECC urges the UK to address the issue by publishing its Carbon Plan and remaining within the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which will account for 50% of the UK emissions reduction required by 2020 under the Climate Change Act.

Committee farewell

The issues highlighted in the report will be potential future scrutiny priorities for the successors of ECC, which will be disbanded on Monday (17 October) following the demise of DECC. The green business community recently told edie of the importance for the new Business and Industrial Strategy (BIS) Committee to continue to hold the Government to account over key green policy issues.

The business community has also urged the Government to ensure energy storage is at the centre of the transition to a decentralised, low-carbon energy system. Energy storage is one of the innovations identified by the National Infrastructure Commission as being able to drive a UK “smart power revolution”, along with demand response.

The National Grid’s new Winter Outlook report released yesterday (14 October) highlighted the potential for demand response measures to keep the system balanced during the winter months. In the build-up to the report’s release, a seperate ECIU study concluded that an increased uptake of demand response would help to keep the system balanced and, ultimately, cut the cost of national energy security

George Ogleby

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