Dong Energy links up with UK power giants to form initiative to aid low-carbon energy transition

The UK-based Carbon Trust has launched a new collaborative initiative, the Energy Systems Innovation Platform (ESIP), to bring together prominent energy companies Centrica, Dong Energy, SSE, Scottish Power, Statoil and Wood Group – clean energy, to solve key issues currently preventing a more effective transition to a low cost and low carbon energy system.

Collectively, ESIP partners represent almost 50% of the electricity supply market in the UK and hold significant renewable energy and conventional generation portfolios. ESIP has also received initial support from the Scottish Government and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

In a statement, the ESIP said: “This collaboration will enable partners to develop solutions to overcome barriers currently deterring investment in flexibility solutions such as energy storage.

“Solutions will be based on rigorous and transparent analysis and relate to issues such as regulation, lack of transparency in decision making and long-term business models necessary to encourage the right investments now to potentially save billions of pounds a year for consumers by 2030.”

Opportunities for energy storage

Each partner brings perspectives and experience from across the UK energy system and through ESIP will take an impartial and technology neutral perspective on opportunities for energy storage to provide increasingly needed flexibility services to the UK’s electricity system.

Last year, the Carbon Trust led a study with industry and government partners, that identified that the UK could be saving up to £2.4bn (€2.72bn) every year by 2030 if flexibility solutions such as energy storage were integrated into the UK electricity system to help balance the grid, improve the utilisation of renewable energy assets and reduce or defer the need for costly grid reinforcements.

Andrew Lever, director of Innovation at the Carbon Trust, said: “There is now general consensus that the UK energy markets needs to be revamped so we can embrace a flexible and more decentralised energy system. However the fragmented nature of the energy market is driving fragmented decision making and many investments are led by technology not market needs. There is an urgent need for an open forum where the wider industry can collaborate to solve common issues in order to capitalise on recent storage innovation. ESIP fills that gap.”

In 2016, windfarms across the UK generated more electricity than coal power plants for the first time and the size of the opportunity for storage solutions to reduce system costs continues to increase as the share of intermittent renewables rises.

However, this opportunity can only be realised if all required industry stakeholders have viable business cases for investing into storage solutions, according to the ESIP.

Currently, viable business models for storage assets are still limited, and in some cases, may even be causing unintended negative consequences to the system as a whole. Therefore ESIP will concentrate on developing business models for applications for which storage enables significant cost reductions for the UK’s electricity system. The initial focus of ESIP is to investigate use cases for energy storage which help to cost effectively integrate wind energy into the grid. This will ultimately allow the UK to meet its decarbonisation targets at lower cost than would otherwise be possible.

This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight. 

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