As hydro pumped storage hits a regulatory impasse, are batteries heading for a ‘bubble’

Regulatory uncertainty is holding back a new generation of pumped hydro storage projects across the UK’s mountainous Celtic fringes, despite the growing need to balance variable output from renewable sources. A handful of large new-build projects are clamouring for greater clarity over expected revenue streams to be able to raise debt finance to cover hefty ­construction costs.

But while traditional storage has hit delays, the falling cost of lithium ion batteries and National Grid’s call for enhanced frequency response has created a boom in battery projects. National Grid’s call was for just 200MW, but it has been massively oversubscribed, with some 7-8GW of capacity offered.

And behind the meter new battery storage installations are taking advantage of incentives to switch usage out of peak times and provide backup capacity. Are we heading for a storage bubble?

In July, New Power investigated a suite of new options for storage.

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