Renewables subsidy cuts send energy entrepreneurs to battery storage, says SmartestEnergy

Growth in independent renewable projects has flatlined in the wake of deep and sudden subsidy cuts, according to SmartestEnergy’s fifth annual Energy Entrepreneurs Report, released today. Energy entrepreneurs outside the traditional electricity supply sector are now turning to the storage sector as UK battery, which could see commercial UK battery capacity increase as much as a hundred times by 2020.

Independent generators have invested £2.75bn in over 6,400 renewable projects, with a combined capacity of 12.75GW. Nearly two thirds of independent renewable generation, 8GW, has been built in the last four years at a cost of £1.5bn. On average, 275 independent projects were completed each quarter since 2013, but that fell to 38 from October to December 2016 and just 21 in January to March 2017. 

Meanwhile 31 commercial battery projects have now won long-term contracts in the capacity and EFR markets to provide 578MW of capacity in 2020. In all, 153 projects with a combined capacity of 2.3GW have announced plans for deployment over the next four years, which would see UK battery capacity increase by more than 100 times.

Iain Robertson, vice president for renewables at SmartestEnergy, warned that government must help the renewables industry: “Political support and a stable policy environment are vital, and the renewables industry has been rocked by subsidy cuts that were too sudden and too steep. Around two-thirds of existing power stations are due to reach the end of their lives by 2030, and the UK needs solutions which will keep the lights on and cut carbon while keeping electricity affordable.

“We call on the government to recognise the role renewables and storage can play in its forthcoming industrial strategy, and to allow them to compete with traditional generation on a level playing field.”

Read the full report here: Energy Entrepreneurs Report 2017 | SmartestEnergy

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