Energy and Climate Change Committee includes ICE recommendations in Low Carbon Network Infrastructure report

The Committee published its report into the development of low carbon energy networks today and backed ICE’s calls for the overhaul of regulations which obstruct the deployment of electricity storage.

ICE’s report called for Government to remove regulatory barriers to Electricity Storage.
ICE’s report called for Government to remove regulatory barriers to Electricity Storage.

The report found that the deployment of electricity storage technologies, including pump-hydro storage and batteries are being held back due to "archaic regulation" and unfair "double-charging".

The findings echo recommendations on balancing charges made by ICE Fellow Dr Philipp Grünewald, Research Fellow at Oxford University's Environmental Change Unit who gave evidence to the Committee earlier this year on behalf of ICE. He made the important observation that the efficiency of a storage technology in isolation may not accurately reflect the improvement it can make to system-wide efficiency.

He also likened the lithium-ion battery to a "Porsche":

"What we need for grid service is a bit like delivering gravel, and what we are proposing to do with lithium-ion batteries would be like delivering gravel with a Porsche, whereas in fact we need lorries [pump-hydro]".

On balancing charges, the report stated that the current regulatory conditions for storage are hindering its development:

"We welcome the Government's consultative approach to this matter, but hope it will proceed with a sense of urgency. We urge the Government to publish its plans, as soon as possible, for exempting storage installations from balancing charges, and from all double-charging of network charges."

It also called for a systems approach, addressing the network as a whole to meet the ambition of a low carbon network infrastructure.

Many of the reports' findings repeat calls made by ICE in its 'Electricity Storage: Realising the Potential' report launched last year, whose authors say it is time electricity storage is recognised as a viable long term means of transitioning the country towards a secure and affordable, low-carbon economy.

Despite recent advances in technology, actual deployment of electricity storage in the energy system is less than 3 gigawatts (GW). No significant grid-connected storage has been commissioned for over thirty years.

A mix of electricity storage technologies will be needed to ensure the efficient distribution and generation of electricity, and to meet the projected surge in demand for electricity, the report says.

It found that industry can apply the storage process to Britain's existing power networks to help bolster energy security generated from renewable sources – without the need for major subsidies.

DECC will be consulting on some of these proposals next year and ICE's submission will be published shortly afterwards.

You can also view a summary of the key recommendations in ICE's Electricity Storage report.