The Welsh Government admitted there are barriers to use of battery storage, in announcing ambitious new targets to continuously meet 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2035.
Climate Change Minister Julie James published a consultation on the new targets for Wales on Wednesday. Its previous target was 70%, set in 2017. Wales already generates 55% of its electricity from renewables, she said.
While offshore wind is identified as key to achieving this, the Welsh Government (WG) stated in its consultation that battery storage in Wales could reach over 1.8GW/3.6GWh by 2050. But it added: “There are barriers to new storage projects in Wales, including grid constraints and the way the system currently treats batteries as generation that will supply at peak times.”
Despite the ever-growing pipeline of prospective projects, the proportion of sites that will move through to commissioning in the next 5–10 years is unclear, according to the WG.
“While ongoing network constraint issues could delay the deployment of many battery projects, such issues also strengthen the business case for considering flexible assets such as batteries differently within the wider energy system,” it said.
In Wales, there are 11 battery storage projects with a capacity greater than 150kW with planning permission or under construction. Another nine projects with applications have been submitted – two of which have a planned capacity of almost 50MW/100MWh, the WG said.
More offshore wind
James allocated £1m ($1.2 million) of funding to explore the potential of offshore wind. This will be match funded by the Associated British Ports body for preparatory infrastructure work to enable future floating offshore wind projects to deploy from Wales.
She proposed Wales set a target for at least 1.5GW of renewable energy capacity to be locally owned by 2035, excluding heat pumps.
James, who represents Welsh Labour, said: “Our previous targets signalled our high ambitions for renewable energy and this government’s desire to move away from a use of, and reliance on, fossil fuels.
“However, the climate crisis shows that we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. Providing new targets compels us to stride towards net zero as quickly as we realistically can.”
Andrew Harston, Regional Director, Wales & Short Sea Ports added: “Associated British Ports warmly welcomes this early-stage support from Welsh Government to help kickstart the development of a major green energy hub at Port Talbot. This support is key to the construction of transformational infrastructure, which will enable the manufacturing, integration and assembly of floating offshore wind components at Port Talbot.
A WG spokesperson said the 1.5GW capacity for locally owned generation could be met by a range of technologies. “We have not been prescriptive on the mix of technologies, therefore it is not possible to give a single (output) figure. We can, however, use standard load factors to estimate the electricity generated from different technologies.
“If all the capacity were to be onshore wind, 1.5GW would generate an estimated 3,600GWh per annum. By contrast, if it were to be solar PV, the amount generated would be 1,400 GWh per annum.”
Image: Battery storage in Wales could reach over 1.8GW/3.6GWh by 2050.
Source: Regen, Welsh Government