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Long-duration energy storage holds promise for cutting UK power system costs by £24 billion

New analysis by LCP Delta and published within today’s consultation on ‘Designing a policy framework to enable investment in long duration electricity storage’ from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, shows that long duration energy storage (LDES) can play a significant role in the future GB power system, as well as delivering cost savings. 

Modelling the GB power system in 2035, LCP Delta’s analysis shows that with the expected levels of renewable deployment in the UK then the energy system could be producing excess renewable and nuclear energy during up to 64% of the hours, a marked increase from the 14% of hours in 2023. However, these periods of excess renewable energy will be countered by periods of shortfalls. Of the total GB energy shortfall/excess periods in 2035, over 50% of these events will last more than 24 hours, and over 25% lasting more than 48 hours.  

The report says that to plug such gaps where renewable energy output is low and causing a shortfall in generation, the GB power system will need technologies that are able to flex their demand and supply over extended periods, often in excess of 12 hours – far longer than current battery storage capabilitiesThis service is likely to include technologies such as interconnectors which can import and export excess renewable energy, hydrogen and LDES such as pumped-hydro or liquid air.   

Investment in LDES to provide this flexibility could deliver significant savings, with LCP Delta’s analysis showing the development and deployment of 20GW of LDES by 2050 could result in £24bn in savings in the power sector system costs between 2030 and 2050. The cost savings come as a result of less investment required in additional excess offshore wind, where the total GW capacity would need to go further than current estimates, without LDES in place. LDES will also support the overall ambition to decarbonise the power network, with 12GW of deployed LDES reducing carbon emissions by 10-28%, depending on their level of use.  

Commenting on the role of LDES in a future decarbonised power system, George Martin of LCP Delta said that "long duration energy storage is going to be fundamental in wind dominated energy system like in Britain. There are going to be periodswhere wind output is low and therefore doesnt provide the necessary energy generation – so storing excess power from high wind periods for later use will be essential. Deploying these assets typically have considerable lead times and are capital intensive, so it is important that the Government provides investors with clear opportunities and provide financing solutions to attract sufficient investment – something that has not been available in GB until now."  

He explained that "today’s signal from Government will be a welcome one to the industry and investors by outlining their intention to provide a policy framework for LDES through a cap and floor mechanism. A cap and floor mechanism can provide revenue certainty for investors which will hopefully enable them to overcome the investment challenges seen for these technologies under the existing market frameworks. It is important that off the back of today’s direction from Government, further progress is made in developing the policy to make investment in LDES appealing to investors."  



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