We at Storelectric wish you all a lovely Christmas and a really happy and prosperous new year. Enjoy the break – and come back refreshed!

We hope and anticipate that the new year will bring lots of positive movement: roll-out of the COVID vaccines globally; go-ahead on our first project; fruit in our other initiatives and collaborations; participation in government “build back better” and clean energy initiatives (not just in the UK, but around the world too); greater appreciation of the synergies with grids, renewables and system operators; and improved regulation to enable storage, so we can fulfill our potential enabling renewables to power grids affordably, reliably and resiliently.

Review of the Year

It’s always good periodically to stand back and think about the year just that is just completed. This year, however, has been disrupted by COVID-19 and its associated lockdowns and restrictions on both travel and meetings. Therefore, although there is considerable interest in Storelectric, it has been harder to “land” than would otherwise have been the case; and while there has been significant progress, it has not been as much as we had hoped.

From previous newsletters, achievements include:

January: geotechnical data on our second Cheshire site; developed the synergies with renewables and listed the benefits for grids and system operators. Blog: analysis of different CAES technologies.

Feb / March: won Piclo contracts for the second Cheshire site (though could not deliver due to lack of engagement by the network operator), proving the value of the benefits we offer to DNOs; re-approval in the European Ten Year Network Development Plan; 2 more awards. Blog: the future role of hydrogen.

April: Letter of intent from Mitsubishi Power (technical validation using existing kit, intent to invest, offer to consider providing EPC performance guarantees even on the first plant); National Grid Pathfinder competitions (Stability, black start, constraints); Coronavirus hits; Paul Davies (chairman) starts to work for BEIS, resigns chairmanship (risk of conflict of interest) but remains an advisor and friend; published article. Blog: the 5 scales of storage and how they complement each other.

May: The investment landscape under Coronavirus; Hello Tomorrow certification; proof of the need for our scale of storage by IMechE and Nottingham University. Blog: the Lockdown: a partial test of the 2030s grid.

June: National Grid’s ongoing consultations; a sober assessment of Storelectric’s prospects (binary: if we get investment, we’ll be a unicorn; if not, not); updating the Lockdown article (without our storage, National Grid forecasts expenditure of over £1bn p.a. by the 2030s). Blog: doing my bit.

July: intended new legislation means our storage is subject (at all scales) only to local planning rules; re-approval as a European Project of Common Interest; another update of the lockdown analysis (the final version!); an MIT study showing the profitability of our technologies (not mentioning us) in America. Blog: Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and Shared Mobility.

August: analysis of National Grid’s Future Energy Scenario which requires 20-40GW storage by 2050 (and under-estimates it by 50%); the planning legislation change is implemented; analysis of the availability of lithium for vehicles, grids and portable devices (there isn’t enough in the earth’s crust – by a large factor); appointment of Mark as advisor to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

September: a statement on the company’s progress on projects; analysis of National Grid’s Distributed ReStart proposals (initial report) – from their own findings, they’re too costly and complex and in many places cannot work, though we can provide the services cost-effectively and simply; another award. Blog: issues with ever-shortening contract durations.

October: analysis of trends in the UK energy market and how it affects us; how we can greatly support and benefit from the decision to increase offshore wind to 40GW by 2030; analysis of National Grid’s Winter Outlook Report (during adverse weather conditions, the claimed 4.8GW surplus capacity turns into 4-10GW deficit); 1-page summary of Storelectric, our markets and technologies. Blog: interconnectors and imports (supporting the analysis of Winter Outlook Report).

November: grant of patent for CAES with Hydrogen; European Enterprise Award; review of the UK’s recent National Infrastructure Strategy and how we fi into it; Renewables in Spain must have storage, by a new law. Blog: fads and fallacies of the energy transition.

Comment: while many of the above anayses and developments are British, their applicability is global – wherever the market share of renewable generation reaches British levels, or is planned to do so. We are actively exploring partnerships on three continents and have interest in more. Storelectric’s solutions are truly global.

Review of Support This Year

UK prime minister, announcing The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution: “We will provide £100 million for Energy Storage and Flexibility innovation challenges – essential technology as we move towards an increasingly renewables-heavy system to allow us to store energy over hours, days and even months.”

This is picked up and supported by the recently published Energy White Paper.

National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios 2020 p97: “Larger, longer duration storage will be needed to support decarbonisation in the net zero scenarios”; p112: “It will be necessary to develop large-scale storage with longer durations to support the decarbonisation of the power system. … Longer duration storage can balance the system over longer periods of high or low renewable generation.”

A 2020 study by Californian officials and Strategem consultancy concluded, in “a rigorous new modelling study” that “Long duration energy storage of over four hours duration will be critical to support the solar grid at night, during every evening peak, and then of course on those hours, days, and even weeks when there just isn’t enough sun to meet demand.” “By 2045, 45-55 GW of long duration energy storage will be required to support California’s critical grid reliability needs; 2-11 GW of LDES will be required by 2030” And it’s not just California: “Applying the methodology used in this study can help other solar-dominated Western states to intelligently plan for their future energy storage needs as well – this need for long duration storage is not limited to our state.”

Nov 2020: Future tenders to develop renewables must include storage, according to a recent Spanish royal decree (the original in Spanish, and translated into English). We expect this to be just the first of many countries to impose such requirements, largely because without such storage at suitable scale (size and duration), to absorb renewables, grids would have to triple in size (at least) and additionally purchase balancing and stability services, all of which is complex and unaffordable.

For more details, please contact Mark Howitt:
mhowitt@storelectric.com, 07910 020 686.