Working with your MP on Energy Storage

The nature of our energy system is changing rapidly with increased generation from renewable energy, producing different amounts of electricity depending on the time of day or weather. Therefore, storage of this energy is becoming more important. 

The research and innovation by the automotive industry for electric vehicles has driven the costs of batteries down significantly. The Carbon Trust estimates that an energy storage network could deliver system wide savings of between £2.4bn a year by 2030 and £8 billion per year depending on the scenarioIf 50% of this saving was passed onto consumers, it cold save consumers approximately £50 a year off their energy bills.

car-3117778_960_720.jpg
 A model of the possible future energy system, in which energy storage plays an important role. Image Source:  National Infrastructure Commission

A model of the possible future energy system, in which energy storage plays an important role. Image Source: National Infrastructure Commission

Potential benefits from energy storage include:

  • Absorbing “wrong time” energy (energy produce at low demand) then releasing it to meet demand.
  • Avoiding expense associated with reinforcing assets and adding new capacity.
  • Reduced cost and increased resilience translate into cheaper household energy bills.

Energy storage holds the potential to make our electricity more affordable, and to make our energy system more consumer-oriented. In the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan (2017) the UK Government said: ‘this upgrade of our energy system is an important part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Energy is an essential input to all economic activity. Bringing down energy costs, through the efficient integration of new technologies, can contribute to raising productivity throughout our economy.’

The ‘Smart Power’ report from the National Infrastructure Commission found that the use of three innovations- interconnection, storage, and demand flexibility- could save consumers up to £8 billion a year by 2030, help the UK meet its 2050 carbon targets, and secure the UK’s energy supply for generations.

Case Study

Moixa, a British company now offers residential battery systems for households. The batteries can make better use of energy generates by solar panels on the consumer’s rooftop, and if consumers charge their batteries during periods of low demand when prices are lower, they are rewarded financially by the supplier. These systems are now in 1000 homes across the UK and they save consumers up to 60% off their electricity bills.

Source: UK Gov, 2017

What can I ask my MP to do?

  • Certain policies can accelerate the deployment of energy storage. For example, California has set a requirement for 1.3GW of storage by 2020; such policies can provide market incentive. You can talk to your MP about the potential for a similar strategy in the UK which may provide similar benefits as in California.

  • You can ask your MP to investigate the potential to level the playing field for energy storage by resolving double charging. As electrical storage systems are treated as generation, they are subject to charges on that basis. Therefore any electricity that is stored and then used is charged twice; firstly for storage then for use. You could highlight this issue to your MP, and request that they raise this issue on your behalf in Parliament. They could speak about this barrier to energy storage with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark MP.

  • A key priority for energy storage is the development of a clear framework and strategy for energy storage. There is currently no legal definition of storage either at the EU level or at the UK level, which means many disparities exist. 

  • You could talk to your MP about the need for updating building regulations in line with energy storage technology. The government must consider how energy storage should be treated within building regulations for new homes, so that the homes that are built in the coming years can participate in and deliver benefits to the wider energy system. You can ask that your MP raises this issue with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire MP.

Date of Publication: 4.07.2018