August News: National Grid Winter Outlook Report

National Grid Winter Outlook Report

National Grid has published an early look at its Winter Outlook Report in which it admits to tight margins this coming winter. However they’re still putting a gloss on it: the entire supply margin is from interconnectors, on which we cannot rely– and some of the actual demand will be met by renewables, which will all periodically be generating nothing (after sunset on a windless day).

In the current energy crisis, our interconnector imports have already turned negative and we’ve had to turn on coal-fired power stations, whose output is included in the supply figures in this report. All for lack of large-scale, long-duration electricity storage, exactly as we’ve been warning for many years. Indeed, electricity prices have peaked at £9,724 per MWh (usual price ~£40-50) owing to concurrent shortages on the continent: “it has exposed the UK’s reliance on importing electricity from interconnectors overseas, particularly France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Interview with Proactive

Proactive interviewed Mark about Storelectric’s capabilities, current activities and prospects, here.

Mark Speaking at 1Sustainability

Mark will be delivering a keynote address at the 1Sustainability Conference online, about Technical Challenges of the Energy Transition, 5:30pm on 20th October (12:30 EST).

BEIS/Afry: UK needs 12-21GW of >4 hours energy storage

In a report for BEIS, Afry state that “Longer duration storage solutions[i.e. MDS and LDS together] reduce net zero system costs by between £13bn and £24bn” from “between 12 and 21GW of MDS/LDS technologies” – even after accounting for the costs of the storage. (In this report, MDS = medium duration, 4-12 hours; LDS = long-duration, >12 hours.) We believe that the need is greater than this, as are the costs of its absence, but it’s still a huge opportunity for us.

Facilitating Large-Scale Long-Duration Energy Storage

In the government’s response to their consultation on facilitating Large-Scale Long-Duration Energy Storage (LLES), they concluded that LLES roll-out is important, and they will consult on the details of a cap-and-floor mechanism and (with Ofgem) on any regulatory changes required. This is good news, very strongly implying that they intend to introduce such a mechanism.

LDES Council calls for 24/7 clean PPAs

The Longer Duration Energy Storage Council  has written a paper calling for 24/7 Clean Power Purchase Agreements. This would be a big advance on the current situation in which the price of electricity does not reflect its value: each MWh is paid the same whether intermittent or dispatchable. But it only addresses less than half of the problem: that MWh is also paid the same whether synchronous or asynchronous.

Synchronous helps grid stability, reliability, resilience, power quality etc. These cost at least as much as intermittency, and are faster-growing costs. If the large-scale long-duration storage is naturally inertial, it solves those challenges too. And not only does ours do so more cost-effectively than any other, but it can also deliver Black Start without reserving operational capacity.

Current± publishes Storelectric analysis

Current± has published Mark’s blog on the first lockdown being a trial run for the 2030s grid, showing how much it will cost in non-energy services, quite apart from energy balancing (the same cost again) and grid reinforcement costs (as much as the other two added together) – all due to insufficient large-scale, long-duration, naturally inertial storage of which ours is the best and most cost-effective. In the light of the figures analysed in the more recent blog ‘Challenges of the Electricity Transition’, it was prescient.

Last Month

This month’s and last month’s newsletters are long because there is a phenomenal amount going on in energy storage currently, which is excellent. In case you missed last month’s newsletter, it was very full with news about:

  • Storelectric’s tie-in with Emerald Operating Partners;
  • National Grid’s Holistic Design to 2030;
  • BEIS’ Review of Electricity Market Arrangements;
  • Draft energy bill;
  • Europe declaring a need for 600GW energy storage;
  • USA planning more interconnectors;
  • Government contracts for coal-fired power stations;
  • Only 20-25% of energy bills is the cost of energy;
  • Electricity markets collapsing internationally for lack of storage;
  • Analysis of National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios 2022.

Thought Leadership Blog

In the light of the government’s current review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA), Mark has updated his proposed 21st century electricity system to outline a simple way in which the system operator can contract for services to deliver the most affordable, reliable and resilient grid.

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