How could energy storage be key to net-zero?
The road to net-zero…
The UK has invested heavily in renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydro to name a few to help achieve the target of becoming net-zero by 2050. The main issue with renewable energy is it is intermittent especially in the UK as the weather is unpredictable and dramatically changes over the course of a year.
Wind turbines only generate energy when the wind is blowing and solar panels only generate energy during sunlight hours. Once generated, power is immediately fed into the grid and distributed to sources of demand. This means that at any time there is a risk of either too little or too much electricity. This is where energy storage systems could play a key part.
Energy storage systems…
The UK’s investment in renewable energy has dramatically changed the UK’s energy sources. In 2010, renewable energy provided only 7% of the UK’s electricity.
However, in 2020 renewable energy made up 42% of the UK’s electricity and overtook electricity generated from gas and coal plants for the first time which generated 41%. But, some of this valuable renewable power is wasted because our electrical grid lacks the ability to store the excess renewable energy when the weather is favourable to the generation of renewable energy.
The next logical step is to store the excess energy for use either when the renewable energy sources are not generating enough power such as at night or on a cloudy, windless day.
This applies both at a national level and also for residential properties as well. For example, properties with solar panels can have energy storage systems installed which allows them to store excess energy to use or sell to the grid when its price is higher because electricity prices are constantly fluctuating.
Energy storage systems sit outside a residential home and are connected to both the grid and the renewable power supply. The residents are able to check the status of the battery and how much energy it has stored remotely via a laptop or phone in which they can also choose what to do with the stored energy.
Investing in a renewable energy storage system today is a method of future-proofing a house, given the climate emergency and the current uncertainties surrounding the pricing and availability of natural gas. It allows a property to not only exist off the grid but also to have potentially zero energy expenses.