Building Britain’s storage industry

Manufacturing & export opportunities and REA proposals for energy storage as part of the UK’s industrial stratergy

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This spring the Government proposed an ambitious Industrial Strategy for the United Kingdom. The Strategy has potential to improve the UK’s economic competitiveness, including in areas such as manufacturing and export. In their proposed Strategy, energy was identified as a “key pillar” (along with infrastructure) that would be specifically addressed, primarily through a number of “sector deals.” While the REA is calling for a comprehensive sector deal that spans both bioenergy and clean technologies such as solar, marine, and wind, we’re also calling for an energy storage-specific set of policies. The Government is already making good progress in supporting storage growth. The Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, launched this spring by Ofgem and BEIS, could significantly alter the way electricity is generated, stored, and traded in the UK. One study for the Government estimates the benefits of a smart energy system to be £17-40bn to 2050, stemming from avoided or deferred network reinforcement, avoided new generation build out, reduced low-carbon generation curtailment, and improved system optimisation. Funding1 has also been made available for battery storage research and development. The National Grid is also proposing significant changes to improve grid flexibility with its System Needs and Product Strategy2. The Review (consultation closed in August 2017) seeks to harmonise the plethora of incentives and schemes currently in place that are used to balance the grid. Simplification of these schemes can support the growing storage sector and incentivise deployment. Looking beyond National Grid’s Review and the Government’s Flexibility Plan, a specific sector deal as part of the Industrial Strategy could provide targeted support for the storage sector. Having consulted experts and REA member companies operating across the country, we have identified a number of policy changes that could be included in a storage sector deal.