State of flux

Supercharging energy storage innovation to secure UK’s net zero transition.

Cover image - State of flux

As the climate emergency forces the pace of decarbonisation of power around the world, geopolitics in Europe is accelerating the transition to renewables. By weaponising Russian oil and gas supplies and prices, the war in Ukraine has exploded assumptions about energy security.

The economic shocks have forced changes in calculations around the phasing out of fossil fuels. This new energy crisis has pressed the need to ensure the stability of national grids as they become increasingly reliant on renewable sources subject to intermittent supply. Although advances have been made in optimising grid management and expanding storage, progress – as with decarbonisation of energy systems generally – has been inadequate.

Almost all electricity is transmitted and consumed as it is made. Until now, most of the rest has been lost. The cost of renewable energy has dropped dramatically, making it cheaper than power from fossil fuels. But so long as it costs more to store electricity than produce it, the economics of energy storage will impede the transition to a zero-carbon energy system.

Wind and solar power are complementary and, in combination, can partly compensate for lulls in generation by one another. Demand response, whereby consumers are incentivised to cut consumption in peak periods, can help mitigate the risk of blackouts too. But the electrification of economies, from industry to transportation, will drive massive demand that will need to be met at times of peak as well as low usage.

As production of solar and wind energy grows, the parallel development of storage capacity is also required. The need for more efficient, robust and flexible storage technologies is more urgent than ever.

In this Business Insight Note, we survey some of the exciting developments in energy storage innovation set to secure the UK’s net zero transition. These include:

  • Rising renewables
  • Energy storage
  • Path to net-zero
  • Much more!