Storing energy may be a long-term fix to UK's energy crisis

4th Feb 2022 | Mollie Pinnington | 3 minute read

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Energy storage is something that is used to store excess energy when it is not needed so it can be channelled back into the power grid when it is needed.  This is essential because demands fall and rise unpredictably at times.

With energy storage, we can store excess energy at times when demand is low which will then help the industry better cope when demand spikes.

If the UK is going to meet its net-zero targets by mid-century, then energy storage is going to have been at the forefront of renewable energy plans. This is because energy is needed all the time, but renewable energy relies on certain conditions.


Why do we need energy storage?

One reason that we need to be able to store energy is that we cannot rapidly shift to renewable energy without a way of storing it. This is because renewable energy can be unreliable at times.  For example, you still need to be able to run a business when the sun is not shining, or the wind is not blowing.

The amount of Fossil Fuels we have left is decreasing.  If the UK wants to fully be able to depend on renewable energy, then we need a stronger storage system.  We are going to need a system that can handle periods of becalmed weather over large areas of land.

Ultimately having a fully efficient storage system is going to help many issues within the energy industry. It can save you money on your business energy bills.  This will also improve the reliability of energy going to homes. As well as reduce environmental impacts of sourcing energy.


How can your business energy be affected by energy storage?

Energy storage might be able to save your business money. When fully regulated energy storage will be able to offset the costs to consumers. As they will be able to store low-cost energy and use it during periods where electricity may be at a higher rate.

This could also reduce environmental impacts. It creates efficiencies and capabilities for the electric grid.  Being able to store solar and wind power will mean that there is more reason for renewable energy to be invested in and offset the build of any new pollution-emitting power plants.

Energy storage will help make the mix of energy within the energy grid “cleaner”. This helps not only your business but everyone as low and no-carbon resources improve our environment and could also potentially save your business money in the future.

Having better storage systems in place will improve reliability.  Having a power outage could be detrimental to your business through the loss of work it could cause.  However, with better energy storage systems there would always be a backup. This ensures that consumers will have uninterrupted energy even when supplies are low as the energy that has been stored would be able to be used.


Upcoming types of energy storage

Storage technologies are currently going under innovation to improve efficiency and lower costs.

One type of energy storage that is under development is Hydropower. An upgraded version of this could play a greater role in generating energy.  The UK is trying to come up with potential ways to integrate this in more places at a lower cost.  This type of energy storage is more reliable than other energy storage as it stores enough energy for 175 hours, whereas batteries only store enough energy to last 5 hours.

Another type of energy storage that has been mainly explored in the US is storage coming from solar farms. They are currently using solar farms to generate and store energy to use once the sun has gone down and the solar panels are no longer producing energy. This technology could be used to store solar power through the evening when the sun has gone down.

 Overall introducing more diverse ways of storing energy is going to improve the way we use energy. Improving these technologies is going to increase energy efficiency and reduce the amount of excess energy that is being wasted as we can not store it for long enough.

This is also going to be a key part of integrating not renewables. This is because storage systems are going to be key in the decarbonization policy. This makes storage an enabler for the environmental benefits of a smarter grid.


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