Strategy & management

Western Power Distribution has found that battery storage trials show the technology falls short of availability reliability standards for the provision of grid flexibility.

Battery storage trials carried out by Western Power Distribution have found that grid connected battery storage can only provide around 80 per cent availability, which falls short of the 99 per cent availability currently achieved through conventional infrastructure for network flexibility.

Speaking at a Cornwall Insights event yesterday which explored barriers to the creation of a smart and flexible energy system, WPD’s Roger Hey said that in innovation trials: “Probably one of the most disappointing things we’re finding at the moment is the overall system availability reliability of most of the grid connected storage”.

He said a variety of projects has shown that batteries can only offer “about eighty per cent availability at the moment. This is some way short of the 99 [per cent availability] which you get through infrastructure build.”

Hey added that although the cost of battery storage technologies is falling rapidly, he does not think it will ever be cheaper than conventional methods for reinforcing energy networks to accommodate new demand.

“If you think about commodity prices for lithium and cobalt and so on,” said Hey, “it’s probably going to come down to a level that is still more expensive than conventional grid reinforcement”.

He concluded that, therefore, “value stacking and revenue stacking is absolutely essential to make storage work”.


What to read next