UK’s storage pipeline tops 22GW with batteries contributing 16GW

More than 16.1GW of battery storage capacity is operating, under construction or being planned in the UK, across 729 projects, according to RenewableUK’s latest Energy Storage Project Intelligence report. Other forms of storage now under development could bring the total to 22GW.

That compares to 10.5GW across 600 energy storage projects in December 2019, and just 2MW in2012.

The new document reveals that 1.1GW of battery storage capacity is currently operational compared to 0.7GW identified in December 2019. A further 0.6GW is under construction, 8.3GW of capacity is consented and 1.6GW is in the planning system. Some 4.5GW are identified as being at an early stage of development for future submission into the planning system.

RenewableUK says plans were boosted by a change in secondary legislation, which came into force in December, allowing local planning authorities to determine projects with a capacity of over 50MW in England and 350MW in Wales. Previously these were determined by central government, making the process longer and more complex. RenewableUK has identified three projects which have since been submitted for determination by local planning authorities with a capacity of 100MW each.

The group says an additional 6GW of energy storage from liquefied and compressed air, pumped hydro, flywheels and gravity-based technology is operating, under construction or being planned, bringing the total UK energy storage portfolio capacity to more than 22GW.

RenewableUK’s Director of Future Electricity Systems Barnaby Wharton said: “We’re already seeing grid-scale batteries of 50MW being built, providing valuable flexibility to the grid, and we expect many projects with an even larger capacity will be submitted into the planning system following the removal of the 50MW cap.

“There’s no doubt that the energy storage market will continue to grow as we scale up using a variety of innovative technologies – not just lithium batteries but also flywheels, compressed air, liquid air and gravity-based storage.

“However, many of our projects need access to capital at a lower cost and more stable revenues. “

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