Why is Storage so Important for the Renewable Energy Sector?
With the increasing ubiquity of renewable energy, many are looking to the next big thing in the industry. Each day, it seems, there’s a new solar panel or wind turbine that claims to be more efficient or durable. However, the next big thing in the renewable energy sector will actually be storage.
It’s simple: We have the energy, but no way to store it for use. Renewable energy isn’t always reliable, since the wind isn’t always blowing and the sun isn’t always shining.
Dr. Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, says that energy storage is where solar was at five years ago. While it seems like it may be a ways off, it might be closer than we think. The answer could lie in lithium ion battery storage.
“Lithium ion batteries are a great electricity storage solution for homes and businesses, as well as electric vehicles,” she said. “You can store the power generated by your panels when supply outstrips demand (e.g. on a sunny day when you're out the house) and then tap it when you need it (e.g. when you get home late from work and want to binge-watch House of Cards in preparation for the General Election next year...)”
Aside from binge watching (which I’m always a fan of), there are far more practical uses for storing energy.
“For example, when supply outstrips demand unexpectedly, electricity could be stored instead of simply turning turbines off, and then released later,” Skorupska said. “Conceivably, storage could eventually do away with the need for constraint payments, meaning a better deal for generators and consumers alike.”
Storage would make renewable energy much more reliable and allow for more accessibility. It’s time governments and companies got on board and kickstarted development of better battery storage.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.