According to LCP, a consultant, a large quantity of energy produced by renewable sources could be wasted within a decade unless much more energy storage technologies, such as batteries and electrolyte to produce hydrogen, are developed.
The power grid in the United Kingdom is based on supply and demand, thus it must be balanced to keep the system working and avoid blackouts.
When more energy is created than is required, it is wasted.
This has a big impact on wind and solar, because unlike coal and nuclear, their energy production cannot be increased on demand.
The government’s new energy security strategy, which aims to get 95 percent of its electricity from low-carbon sources like solar panels by 2030, has generated concerns among renewable energy and nuclear plant investors about whether they will be able to find consumers for excess energy produced.
If they are unable to do so, they may request more subsidies for times when they do operate in order to balance their costs.
Another effect of this is that ‘time of use’ electricity tariffs will offer users cheaper power during periods of surplus.
People will be encouraged to consume more energy when it is sunny and breezy, by charging electric automobiles or other energy-hungry devices.
Wind energy is presently the UK’s second largest source of energy, and the cost of wind energy is expected to fall to around a fifth of the cost of gas energy by 2023.
Without a significant growth of energy storage technologies, vast volumes of green electricity could be lost, forcing plant owners to shut down production.
‘For more than half of the time in 2030, the UK’s renewable and nuclear-backed energy system will be producing more electricity from renewables and nuclear than it uses,’ Chris Matson, a partner at LCP, told The Times.
‘Wasting this energy would harm both consumers and investors, therefore a total system strategy is required to keep the cost of achieving net zero to a minimum.’
He stated that the United Kingdom needed to speed up the delivery of technology such as battery storage, pumped hydroelectric projects, and electrolysers.
LCP projected in 2021 that an additional 20GWh of battery storage may cut wind power waste by up to 50%.
Wind curtailments between Scotland and England are expected to cost customers £1 billion per year by 2025, and this figure is expected to rise.
According to analysis, the United Kingdom reduced wind power on 75% of days in 2020, with approximately 3.6TWh of wind power shut off in total, owing to network restrictions.
This amount of wasted wind energy would have been enough to power over a million homes for a year.