While recognising that the Sixth Carbon Budget is a high-level vision, and that the general direction has been set well, it comes across as very urban centric and notably lacking in a decentralised, two way, micro grid approach. The ambition relating to battery energy and storage capacity is feeble.
Commenting on behalf of Altelium, Alex Johns notes: “The ambition to take the UK’s battery energy storage from six gigawatt hours to eighteen hours by 2050 will probably be achieved in the next three years and an overshoot of this magnitude suggests a severe lack of understanding or interest in the battery energy storage market.”
The battery energy storage market (BESS) market is taking off dramatically. The Australian Hornsdale Power Reserve at 150MW/194MWh held the title of the world’s largest BESS for just three years before it was surpassed by the Californian Gateway Energy Storage in 2020 which has a storage capacity of 250MW/250MWh.
All these new giant BESS’ are built with new battery packs. However, the economies of the car market and BESS market work best with second life batteries, which is the area Altelium specialises in. Altelium provides bespoke warranty and data analytics packages for BESS installations sold worldwide using second life EV batteries, and its comments on the UK’s energy storage targets are made on the basis of deep experience.
The UK is far slower than Europe in developing battery capacity, yet this route offers huge scope to transform regional economies and communities while supporting climate change targets.
Alex concludes: “We need to see much greater understanding of stored energy battery solutions and support for battery manufacturing and its associated supply chain. We need to see more policy levers that support action at a local community level. A diverse and dispersed energy ecosystem able to expand and flex as required is surely the ideal model for the UK and should leap out at us from the pages of the sixth Carbon budget.”