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UK energy storage roadmap includes R&D, EV development and market reforms

Wed, 12/23/2020 - 10:33 -- Paul Crompton

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in England launched a plan of how research and innovation can play a role in developing the UK's energy storage industry over the next 10-15 years.

The Energy Storage Roadmap draws on expert knowledge from across the energy sector to set out a guide on how energy storage can help the UK reach its net-zero targets on carbon emissions by 2050.

Technologies that allow energy to be stored over hours, days and months have been recognised as essential in the UK government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution

Achieving net-zero targets will depend on the growth of renewable energy sources such as wind and tidal power and the take-up of electric vehicles and heat pumps, say the researchers. 

The roadmap's lead author, Dr Jonathan Radcliffe, of the Energy Systems and Policy Analysis Group at the University of Birmingham, said: “Energy storage will play a critical role as we continue to integrate low-carbon energy systems. In order to accelerate this transition, we need robust energy storage technologies and clear strategies for implementing them. This roadmap will be important for prioritising and guiding current and future activities.”

The roadmap sets out a series of key recommendations to guide future research and policy priorities, including:

  • Strengthening research and development in electrochemical batteries
  • Continuing reforms to the electricity market and its regulation to enable energy storage technologies to compete in the marketplace
  • Increasing innovation support for large-scale energy storage technologies
  • Investing in EV manufacturing, including developing a circular economy
  • Ensuring policy and regulation keeps pace with technical innovation
  • Carrying out system analysis and modelling to improve understanding of the role that energy storage can play to meet the needs of future power generation
  • Establishing institutional competencies to allow energy storage to be operated across scales, whilst delivering a wider system benefit

Professor Dan Gladwin of the University of Sheffield said: “Over a third of the electrical energy in our homes is now supplied from renewable sources, and with increasing electrification of transport, more energy storage is needed. Whilst we have some storage solutions today to solve our short-term needs, the type of storage we need will evolve rapidly. This roadmap is important in that it details the requirements and actions needed to meet our storage needs to enable us to transition to a low-carbon future.”

The Energy Storage Roadmap was prepared by the Energy Systems and Policy Analysis Group at the University of Birmingham. It was supported by the Energy SUPERSTORE and the Supergen Energy Storage Network+, both funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (part of UK Research and Innovation).