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Battery technology key to undisrupted renewable energy provision

Published: 21 January 2021 - Rachael Morling

Battery technology is set to play an integral role in ensuring that renewable energy generated by wind can be deployed by industry and manufacturers more consistently, according to Aggreko, as a weather-related drop in wind-generated power puts the UK grid under strain.

According to warnings from the National Grid control room, low wind speeds have led to reduced power generation at the same time as plummeting temperatures have increased electrical demand. As a result, the electricity systems operator has called for suppliers to provide extra capacity to reinforce the UK’s short-term power supply.
With renewable energy sources providing more of the country’s electricity than ever, Aggreko is therefore highlighting the importance of energy storage solutions in ensuring power generated via renewables can be used for longer. Specifically, battery technology can help ‘smooth’ fluctuations associated with wind power and other green energy sources, allowing for consistent energy provision during periods of high demand but lower generation.
“The country’s increasing transition to renewable energy sources is to be welcomed, but this recent cold snap demonstrates why a matching overhaul in energy storage infrastructure is also required,” says Chris Rason, Managing Director, Aggreko Northern Europe. “Specifically, because renewable sources like solar and wind are more variable than their fossil fuel counterparts, there is the potential for businesses to experience disruption and unplanned downtime if solely relied upon.
"This concern will only grow as renewables take up an even greater proportion of the country’s energy mix. Our discussions with key energy decisionmakers show that power continuity is a major or significant concern to their business, and situations like this will only become more frequent if no action is taken.”
Recent news of strained electrical supplies stands in stark contrast to last month, where the country made pronounced progression against the Government’s legal requirement of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Specifically, windfarms supplied 17.3 gigawatts of electricity – the most ever generated in a day – in mid-December, and wind comprised 50.7 per cent of the UK’s energy supply on Boxing Day, a record proportion of the daily national power mix.
According to Aggreko, the implementation of battery technology will be crucial to moving away from this peak-and-trough approach to renewable energy generation, and ensuring a stable supply, as Chris Rason explains: “Though the UK’s green energy revolution continues apace, issues around consistent grid supply, and the disruption it can cause, may hamper the adoption of environmentally friendly power sources.
“This can be seen in this announcement of shorter supplies due to lower wind speeds, and other National Grid warnings of disruption as recently as October. Battery technology can provide a means of alleviating fluctuating power risks associated with renewable energy sources, helping us transition to a greener, net zero future. While it is not a new concept, progress made in the rental space means it is now much more accessible for companies to access on an industrial scale, without the prohibitive purchase costs of even three years ago.”
Industry Connections: Aggreko UK

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