MPs urged to unlock electricity storage potential

ICE electricity expert Dr Philipp Grünewald has given evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee on the benefits of applying electricity storage to the electricity grid, as means of decarbonising the UK’s network infrastructure.

His evidence followed ICE's response to the National Infrastructure Commission consultation on electricity interconnection and storage earlier this week. ICE called for the removal of barriers to further deployment of electricity storage through exemption from balancing charges, reclassification of licences and modification of Feed in Tariffs.

Dr Grünewald – Deputy Director of Energy Research at the University of Oxford and co-author of ICE's recent 'Electricity Storage: Realising the Potential' report – told the committee's MPs that electricity storage should be part of a "systems" approach to Britain's energy infrastructure, where different parts of the network work together to deliver secure, affordable and low carbon energy, but said "outdated regulation and lack of market signals are hampering innovative solutions".

He told MPs that electricity storage could help to balance the transmission system by providing an efficient means of absorbing large amounts of power when there is excess on the system to be released at times of peak demand - moving electricity from when it is generated to when it is needed. Dr Grunewald also explained that take-up of storage technologies would enable renewables to be dispatched more flexibly and to respond quickly to sudden changes in electricity demand.

He proposed a change to the Feed in Tariff regime outlined in ICE's electricity storage report. "Photovoltaic electricity is currently exported into the grid regardless of whether the electricity is needed at the time. A tariff that rewards export at times when electricity is most valuable to the system will send the right market signal to encourage uptake of storage and reduce the cost of balancing the system" he said.

He added: "I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to present ICE's recommendations on electricity storage to the committee. Our report sought to help policy makers from across the political spectrum understand both the complexities and opportunities that storage technologies can offer to Britain's decarbonisation programme. Both ICE and I will continue to work closely with members of the ECC Committee, DECC and Ofgem in paving the way to a more secure, affordable and greener energy system."

Notes to editors

The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee took place on Tuesday 12 January. Watch it again.

Read the ICE's report: Electricity Storage: Realising the Potential.

Read the ICE's submission to National Infrastructure Commission consultation on electricity interconnection and storage.

Notes to editors

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is a leading source of professional expertise in transport, water supply and treatment, flood management, waste and energy. Established in 1818, it has 88,000 members, 25% of whom are based overseas. ICE’s vision is to place civil engineering at the heart of society, delivering sustainable development through knowledge, skills and professional expertise. ICE has long worked with the government of the day to help it to achieve its objectives, and has worked with industry to ensure that construction and civil engineering remain major contributors to the UK economy.