In a Written Answer, Minister of State for Energy Andrea Leadsom responded to SNP Energy and Climate Change spokesperson Callum McCaig's question, asking if her Department intended to bring forward plans to invest in energy storage to increase the security of the UK's electricity supply.
In her answer the Minister announced that her Department is considering removing regulatory barriers to energy storage, in particular exploring the re-classification of energy storage. She confirmed the Department will conduct a consultation and call for evidence in the spring.
The consultation is expected to ask questions on the potential barriers and mitigating actions to the deployment of energy storage, focussing in the first instance on removing regulatory barriers.
The announcement of next year's consultation follows calls by ICE in its report, 'Electricity Storage: Realising the Potential', for Government to examine the regulations holding back the construction and operation of electricity storage within the energy market. One of the report's flagship recommendations to Government was to give storage a classification in the regulatory system.
The report's authors say it is time electricity storage – an existing technology – 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.
ICE's submission to DECC's consultation will be published next year. You can also view a summary of the key recommendations in ICE's Electricity Storage report.