The UK is committed to decarbonising the power system
This change, via a major transition to renewable energy generation, means by 2030 the UK will be on the cusp of a transformational shift to how the power system has to operate.
Climate change is driving the need for an urgent reduction in carbon emissions. As a result, the UK Government has committed to a net zero economy by 2050 and has set ambitious targets for renewable energy generation to deliver these carbon emission savings.
Renewable energy is intermittent
Renewable energy generation is low cost and carbon free but its output is intermittent and constantly fluctuating.
The seasonal nature of both solar and wind output means they cannot be relied upon to perfectly meet the electricity demand all year round. This can result in too much renewable generation in the summer months and insufficient generation in the winter months, when energy demand is at its highest.
What happens to excess?
When output is too high generators currently have to curtail output to balance energy supply and demand due to electricity network constraints. This results in knock-on costs to the end consumer.
Today shortfall is largely filled by carbon emitting power sources
Currently we make up the shortfall in renewable output using flexible generation, however, these sources are mainly carbon emitting.
Significant increases in low-carbon flexibility will be critical for balancing supply and demand, thereby reducing system costs as well as carbon emissions.
By storing excess renewable energy the UK can meet demand all year round
A range of flexible storage technologies are needed to accommodate the constantly fluctuating renewable output.
The stored energy can be then be exported during periods of low renewables generation, or at times of peak demand, to keep the system in balance and ensure the security of the UK’s energy supply all year round.
A balanced high renewables electricity system will:
Provide energy security
Reduce carbon emissions
Reduce cost for consumers
We’re developing technologies to address the renewable integration challenge and support the UK’s future energy mix