Nearly a fifth of the government’s total energy technologies investment must be spent on energy storage batteries between 2025 and 2030 to meet renewables targets, Cornwall Insight has said.
Its latest data showed that almost 10% of grid capacity will be provided by battery storage by 2030, costing an estimated £20 billion.
Tom Edwards, senior modeller at Cornwall Insight, said that if battery storage is to make up that 10%, the current increase in the technology needs to be maintained and even exceeded, which will require “a significant chunk of the government’s technologies financing”.
Indeed, increases to battery storage capacity will be needed to address stability and flexibility requirements as a result of the rise of intermittent renewables on the grid, with coal capacity due to close in the next few years and nuclear and combined cycle gas turbine capacity ageing and approaching retirement.
” . . .a significant investment will be needed to develop new technologies to compensate for these capacity losses while delivering on the government’s offshore wind targets and net zero legislation,” Edwards said.
The government is targeting up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030, a target it raised in the British Energy Security Strategy.
While battery storage is set to grow in the immediate future with the T-4 2025/26 Capacity Market auction adding 2.6GW, Cornwall Insight said this upward trajectory will need to continue to meet energy market requirements.
And although the cost of batteries is expected to fall as more are deployed, materials costs following the wider rise in commodity prices across the world and supply chain issues in major battery production centres are still likely to be the main hurdle for a major rollout of battery projects, Cornwall Insight said.
Edwards added: “Batteries are by no means the end of the story and to meet energy market requirements and ensure a stable supply for consumers, other technologies including long-duration storage, hydrogen, nuclear, interconnection and CCUS will also need significant investment.”
The government is currently targeting 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, launching a £375 million support package for nuclear, hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage in April.