News Articles by Mark Howitt

Water, Heat and Energy

If you see me, weep Water levels in many great rivers are dropping to critical levels and below, due to high temperatures and drought: these “hunger stones” in the Elbe (and similar ones elsewhere in central Europe) were carved in a drought four centuries ago (AD...

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September News

Update on Locations Two months ago we informed you that we are in discussions with at least 8 location owners in the UK alone. We have now put in three initial non-binding offers for sites with underground storage that are appropriate for hydrogen and CAES, and have...

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Hydrogen Transportation and Storage

Introduction There is much discussion on how to store and transport hydrogen, with diverse methods being proposed. I will focus on the storage and transportation at massive (i.e. infrastructure) scale. Hydrogen Transportation At massive scale, there are two principal...

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A 21st Century Electricity System

Introduction The current regulatory and contractual framework is designed around a 20th century industry (baseload coal and nuclear, dispatchable gas, all other bits are add-ons). It is totally unfit for the 21st century as it: Is dominated by non-energy costs, which...

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August News

Interview with Proactive Proactive interviewed Mark about Storelectric's capabilities, current activities and prospects, here (6'16"). Mark Speaking at 1Sustainability Mark will be delivering a keynote address at the 1Sustainability Conference online, about Technical...

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July News

Emerald Partners with Storelectric Emerald Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm specializing in energy transition investments, working with their sister company Emerald Operating Partners, a well-established but still fast-growing advisory and projects...

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Pathway to 2030 – Holistic Network Design

National grid has taken a good step forward by producing a Pathway to 2030 Holistic Network Design. It is really good that it considers the entire network's needs, though will need to be updated with, for example, the new Celtic Sea areas, increased offshore wind...

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Hydrogen and CAES

Hydrogen is increasingly being touted as the ideal technology for both electricity storage and balancing renewable generation on the grid. The reality is more nuanced than that: hydrogen and CAES complement each other, each with distinct roles in which they are the...

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June News

Europe Backs Long Duration Energy Storage The EU's RePowerEU Plan responds to the current global energy markets disruption by recommending an acceleration in the energy transition to renewables, raising the target from 40% to 45% by 2030. Being primarily a response to...

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Grid Stability and Power Quality Challenges

The challenge of grid stability currently costs the grid about a half of energy balancing, but growing faster; within a very few years it is expected to overtake the balancing costs. In 2020 (and coincident with the rocketing non-energy costs of operating the system),...

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Fads and Fallacies v1

Throughout the energy transition, technology after technology has been lauded as "the big thing" of the energy transition, "the solution" to the challenges involved – in effect, a magic wand. The energy transition cannot be achieved by an over-emphasis on some...

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May News

Storelectric at the World Utilities Congress Storelectric was invited to present twice at the World Utilities Congress: Challenges and opportunities of hydrogen transport, distribution and storage (panel event), which showcased Storelectric's hydrogen offering - click...

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Challenges of the Electricity Transition

Most people discuss electricity storage as though the challenge were just energy: balancing renewables, providing enough energy when they’re not generating as much as is needed at any given time. In terms of operational cost, that’s just a significant minority part of...

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April News

$13.3bn Invested in Storage Q1 2022 The amount of finance invested into energy storage from all sources continues to rise, reaching $13.3bn last quarter. This shows the scale of the market, its focus and the opportunity for Storelectric, with the best and most...

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Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) and CCS

Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) and CCS The strategy for continuing to use gas-fired power stations to balance grids, and for continuing to produce most hydrogen using Steam Methane Reformation (SMR) of methane, all depends on Carbon Capture, (Use and) Storage,...

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March News

Energy Security Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the preceding gas price spike, the issue of energy security has at last come to the fore. We have been saying for years that we cannot rely on interconnectors for actual demand because, when facing concurrent...

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Electric versus Fuel Cell Vehicles

Mark’s Blog Personal blog of Mark Howitt, founding director and CTO of Storelectric Ltd and recognised international expert in the energy transitionElectric versus Fuel Cell Vehicles Electric Vehicles (EVs) Batteries are the major technology being proposed for the...

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February News

Funding Secured, Subject to Location Storelectric has achieved a breakthrough, with an offer of funding (of course, subject to contract etc.) for multiple plants of various sizes and any of our technologies, subject to securing a suitable location. Previously we had...

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Political or Regulatory?

Introduction There are many current issues facing the energy system which are challenging enough without confusing political challenges with regulatory ones. Too many political challenges are being given to regulators to sort out, which is grossly complicating matters...

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Review of Increasing Grid Balancing Costs

Introduction It has been widely reported that grid balancing costs in the UK have doubled between September and November, which is concerning both Ofgem and National Grid. The latter have instigated a review, which the Ofgem awaits before deciding on any actions....

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January News

Storelectric's Hydrogen Offering Until now, our website has under-sold our hydrogen capabilities, which are strong, including: Hydrogen CAES Hydrogen storage CAES and Hydrogen Projects High temperature hydrogen patent Consultations We see hydrogen and CAES as entirely...

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December News

Balancing Mechanism Costs SoarEntirely in line with our predictions now for 8 years, balancing bosts continue to rise exponentially, now up to £967m for the last 3 months alone. They will continue to rise as renewable penetration rises, unless there is sufficient...

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November News

COP 26: Challenging, but Challenging Enough? If hot air could stop global warming... No, that's a cheap jibe. Lots of excellent pledges have been made through the Glasgow COP26 conference and the OECD one that preceded it in Rome. The emissions cuts and efforts at...

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Emissions Benefits of Storelectric’s CAES

This report analyses the emissions benefits (avoided emissions) of Storelectric’s Green CAES and Hydrogen CAES plants. For Hydrogen CAES, a methane-fired version is considered; if hydrogen-fired, then the figures for Green CAES apply approximately. For ease of...

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October News

The UK Net Zero Strategy The British government has published its Net Zero strategy, following much consultation. It's a generally excellent, wide-ranging and integrated strategy. It is a good start and covers all the major elements of decarbonisation; however some...

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Hydrogen’s Missing Links

Hydrogen’s Missing Links  Hydrogen is an essential part of the Net Zero economy, so we support funding for developing its technologies. However it is not a panacea for everything; in particular its scope does not include balancing renewable generation or the...

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September News

Impact initiative of the year: Europe Storelectric is very pleased to have won "Impact initiative of the year: Europe" at the Environmental Finance Impact Awards. It's always reassuring to get such endorsements. Webinar on Regulatory Requirements For those who were...

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August News

A torrent of consultations In addition to the 6 BEIS consultations flagged up last month, Ofgem consulted on Early Competitions and offshore connections. I also omitted the BEIS consultation on facilitating the deployment of large-scale and long-duration electricity...

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Where Grid Regulation Went Wrong

The Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan is the UK government's and Ofgem's proposal to achieve Net Zero emissions in the energy system. Most of the other current BEIS consultations are detailed looks into elements of this plan. Our response is long and detailed,...

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Offshore Energy Networks

Offshore Energy Networks The subject here is how to regulate OFTOs (cables owned by Offshore Transmission Owners) so that (for example) they can be linked together into offshore grids and/or interconnectors, or how other farms/plants can be connected to existing...

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Fads and Fallacies of the Energy Transition

Throughout the energy transition, technology after technology has been lauded as "the big thing" of the energy transition, "the solution" to the challenges involved – in effect, a magic wand. The energy transition cannot be achieved by an over-emphasis on some...

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July News

National Grid's Future Energy Scenarios 2021 National grid has published its Future Energy Scenarios 2021. We intend to do a full analysis at another time, but a first reading suggests that it picks up on last year's report, with 3 Net Zero scenarios. However it...

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June News

Funding Strategy Some of you will be aware that Storelectric is considering its funding strategy. We are preparing for a further investment round, to enable us to take a first project to "shovel ready" and to help prepare the groundwork for further developments, some...

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Comparing Energy Storage, Like with Like

One of the biggest challenges facing those who wish to invest in, or otherwise work with, energy storage is how to compare the costs and performance of different technologies. Many (e.g. batteries) carefully select their data points to flatter both their capabilities...

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May News

Speaking at Middle East Energy 2021 Mark Howitt will be speaking at Middle East Energy 2021's Transmission and Distribution Week, 24-26 May, and Critical & Backup Power the following week (registration here): Balancing Grids in Energy Transition – alternating...

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Incentivising the Energy Transition

Current Situation Currently the energy transition is incentivised by an uncoordinated mish-mash of levies, charges, bans and regulations. Examples include: The European Trading System, topped up by the in some countries by a levy, of the order of €30-40/tonne of...

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Batteries – Expensive and Inadequate Solutions

Batteries – Expensive and Inadequate Solutions Enabling an Affordable, Reliable and Resilient Energy Transition Grid connected batteries are being used for many grid services that would be much better and more cheaply delivered by large-scale long-duration storage,...

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April News

A lot has been happening this month! National Grid's Summer Outlook Report National Grid published its Summer Outlook Report 2021. Despite its rosy picture, our analysis of it draws some very different conclusions; for example: Even without considering grid stability...

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Global Lessons from the Texas Blackouts

Three Perfect Storms?  Three severe winter storms swept across America in the period February 10-20, 2021. While causing many problems across the country, in Texas they caused widespread blackouts, affecting almost the entire population in rolling brown-outs and total...

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March News

Storelectric Re-Branding To clarify the extent to which our technologies support the energy transition, Storelectric has re-branded them with names that mean more: Technology Formerly Comments Green CAES TM TES CAES Zero-carbon adiabatic CAES from day 1, the world's...

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February Newsletter

Balancing etc. Costs Exceed £100m in January As we have been predicting over the last 6+ years and particularly in our analysis of the first lockdown, costs to the grid of balancing, stability, grid constraints and similar matters continue to rise, exceeding £100m in...

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Calculating the Need for Storage

Current Calculations Currently each country and grid calculates its need for storage in very complicated manner, by creating a model with various scenarios, projecting different generation mixes all based on huge assumptions as to what will be rolled out in future....

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Happy New Year – Belatedly!

This is our first newsletter of 2021, so a belated Happy New Year to you all! Much has happened since we last wrote. Developing in North America Storelectric has signed a Teaming Agreement with ONEC (a multi-disciplinary engineering company) and Future Power...

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Saving Billions on Grid Upgrades

The UK government and grid are planning £16bn grid upgrades as part of wider developments to accommodate an additional 17GW of new offshore wind (to 35GW intermittent renewable generation) by the mid 2030s. This is to accommodate the peaks of intermittent generation...

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Happy Christmas and New Year

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...

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CAES with Hydrogen Patent Granted

We have been notified by the Patent Office that our application for CAES with Hydrogen is granted and will be published on 9th December. This is the first of our two patents to have reached this stage, and we look forward to the other one achieving it next year....

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October Newsletter

Arbitrage Pricing Over the last few years, markets have appeared to contradict predictions that the differential between peak and off-peak pricing will grow. However this is not the whole story, and not the story as it relates to Storelectric. First of all, there has...

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Interconnectors and Imports

Interconnectors in Europe The United Kingdom no longer has enough domestically generated electricity for its own peak needs, and relies on imports through interconnectors. As the grid decarbonises, power stations are closing, increasing the country's reliance on...

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September Newsletter

Progress Although project development is more curtailed in this Covid environment, and some investors are focused on delivering already-invested businesses, nevertheless we continue to pursue lease options and project financing. While we can't at this stage go into...

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Re-Starting Net Zero Grids – Black Start

The Challenge Net Zero grids have very low levels of dispatchable (i.e. on-demand) generation – largely hydro-electric, nuclear, gas-fired power stations with CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage), and biomass power stations. The bulk of their energy derives from...

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Issues with Ever-Shortening Contract Durations

Since privatisation, the only major capital investment into infrastructure-scale plant and equipment that was not planned before privatisation has been undertaken under special financial instruments (ROCs, OFTOs, CATOs, CfDs, CM etc.) that guarantee 15+ year...

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FES 2020 Analysis Summary

An analysis of Future Energy Scenarios 2020Published by National Grid plc Mark HowittChief Technical Officer and Co-FounderStorelectric Limited Introduction This analysis has been almost entirely re-written as compared with previous years. This FES builds on the vast...

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August Newsletter

Future Energy Scenarios 2020 National Grid has published its Future Energy Scenarios 2020. This has many improvements over previous ones, including three Net Zero compliant scenarios. As the power sector is one of the easiest to decarbonise, it does so by the 2030s to...

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Vehicle to Grid and Shared Mobility

Vehicle to Grid and Shared Mobility Vehicle to Grid (V2G) and Shared Mobility are two of the big buzz-phrases rolled out in the transportation sector, as magical solutions to energy storage needs of the grid (V2G) and to all the woes of transport-related climate...

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July Newsletter

Legislation Introduced: Storage Subject to Local Planning BEIS ministers have introduced secondary legislation allows, for England at least (Scottish and Welsh rules differ), all storage except Pumped Hydro will be subject to local planning regulations: currently it's...

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Storelectric makes the Energy Transition Affordable

Following our article a week ago, Mark Howitt from Storelectric pointed out the omission of their very interesting long duration storage technology. Storelectric has developed what they claim is the world’s most cost-effective largescale long-duration electricity...

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Developing Projects on Weak and Saturated Grids

Many large renewable generation projects and interconnectors are stalled because thegrid to which they would connect is weak and/or saturated, requiring hugely costly grid reinforcement before the renewables can be connected, which makes the project impractical....

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Doing My Bit

I was recently asked: do renewable power plants impact the environment? Quite obviously the questioner was seeking to justify pursuing the fossil-fuelled status quo by nit-picking faults in the case for clean energy. This led me to reflect on some environmental...

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June Newsletter

We hope that you are all keeping safe and well through the pandemic. This month has necessarily seen reduced developments due to the lockdown. However there are some things progressing, not least that a number of funds are showing significant interest in investing in...

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The Lockdown: A Partial Test of the 2030s Grid

The lockdown is providing a trial run of the "summer minimum" challenges of operating the grid as it will be in the 2030s and 2040s, with renewable generation as a high proportion of demand. Demand was historically low and renewable generation historically high on...

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May Newsletter

Investment and Activity Landscape This month there has been a noticeable slowing of activity due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Some people are more available than before, and others less so. Project work is stalled, for which reason our operational activity is on hold....

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Alternatives to CAES

Alternatives to CAES for provision of arbitrage, balancing, ancillary, stability and other services come from power stations, pumped hydro-electric stations, batteries, Demand Side Response (DSR), interconnectors and ignorance. Power Stations Power stations are being...

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April Newsletter

We hope you had a really good Easter (or, if appropriate, break) and are keeping safe and healthy Letter of Intent from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) MHPS has been working closely with Storelectric for over a year to validate our three technologies (Green...

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The Future Role of Hydrogen

Hydrogen will play a significant role in zero-carbon economies in the future. It can be stored at large scale, especially in salt caverns which can be formed in much of the world; It can be stored at ultra-high pressure – vehicle makers are considering up to 700bar:...

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March Newsletter

Piclo Contracts - Winning Bid Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) are transitioning to Distribution Services Operators (DSOs) over the next 3 years. This means that they will be buying some of the grid balancing services currently procured by National Grid, and...

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Synergies with Renewables and Interconnectors

Storelectric’s CAES plants are usually designed as stand-alone plants with stand-alone profits based on buying electricity from the grid and selling it back to the grid. There are many up-side revenue streams available, such as buying and selling under PPAs (Private...

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January/February Newsletter

Partner Development We have signed two further collaboration agreements with Arup and Edinburgh University, to add to those with KBB DEEP and ERM, all with a view to working together on developing new locations in our project pipeline. This gives us excellent coverage...

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Adiabatic v Isothermal CAES

Grid-scale electricity storage using an innovative form of Compressed Air Energy Storage When discussing adiabatic CAES, such as that proposed by Storelectric, it is frequently confused with isothermal CAES such as that proposed by Lightsail, SustainX and General...

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December Newsletter

Hello Tomorrow's Global Summit We’ve been named one of Hello Tomorrow's Deep Tech Pioneers! Selected among more than 5,000 startups from 128 different countries that applied to the Global Challenge. Come and meet us at the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris on...

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De-Bunking Fictions Citing Germany

There have been a number of reports claiming that the German experience proves that what’s needed on the system is not baseload (described as “poison”) or storage, but lots of flexibility. A rational analysis of these articles finds numerous contradictions and errors....

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The Scale of Need for Storage

The Energy Transition The energy transition to a zero-carbon economy is, quite correctly, seeing widespread roll-out of tens of GW of renewable generation. we're already at over 30GW and, because of load factors, to supply our 56GW peak demand will need over 200GW...

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Lessons for Europe from the UK Blackouts

Index Contents Introduction 1 Batteries and DSR on 9th August 2 Interconnectors’ Response 3 The Future of Interconnectors 3 Need for Back-up 5 Brexit 6 Providing Resilience – Types 7 Providing Resilience – Quantities 8 Grid Stability Services 9 Disincentivisation of...

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The Market is Moving

On the surface, various aspects of the market are giving conflicting signals: batteries have piled into the Frequency Response market, collapsing its price, and are starting to look at STOR (though only longer-duration batteries can bid for it); the Capacity Market...

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CAES or Batteries?

CAES or Batteries? Many people have suggested that batteries are a viable way forward for grid-scale electricity storage, and some have cast doubt on whether there is a role for Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES). However CAES, batteries and the other storage...

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Conventional Versus Renewable Energy

Conventional Energy There are two main disadvantages with conventional energy: pollution and concentration. Pollution is in many forms throughout the process. The worst and most enduring is emissions-related climate change, well proven and fully discussed. But...

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Changing Business Models for Utilities

This article considers the question: as renewables become adopted more, how will that change the utility companies’ business models? The answer is: it depends which utility companies: those involved in generation, transmission / distribution, or retail? And note that...

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Workshops

As we have explained in our previous e-shot, we have been holding workshops with several key collaborators, with senior people in each organisation. These are: NPL, the owner of caverns and land in various locations, who are interested in developing projects with us...

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Matching the Solution to the Problem – FES 2019

Introduction This analysis builds on the improvements of the 2017 analysis, and is the best FES that National Grid have produced, incorporating many of the points on which we have provided feedback over recent years. They have retained the two scenarios that are...

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A De-Carbonised and Cost-Effective Energy System

What would such a system look like? A de-carbonised energy system would be built up of many diverse elements selected to be the most suitable mix for each location. There is no single answer or “magic bullet”, no “winning technology” for powering the world, or even...

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Do I Care About Climate Change, and Why?

I was recently asked: do I truly care about climate change or not, and why? Yes, I care – enough to forego 4 years’ earnings (out of 6.5 years working at this job) and still be earning less than I would in another job, as well as working long hours. I do it because,...

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Finalist for EnergyXL

Storelectric have been selected as a finalist for EnergyXL. With over over 150 applications, we are over the first hurdle! The awards are InnoEnergy and Energy XL. They are looking for startups/scaleups to take part in their tailored programs supported by industry...

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Why De-Carbonise by 2040?

100% renewable energy is a target for the energy systems by 2040, though if it can be achieved by 2030 (which I doubt), then so much the better. It’s important for energy to go to zero because it’s possible without additional costs in the overall system, if done...

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Brexit Update 12th April 2019

Given the current postponement of Brexit until (appropriately???) Halloween (31st October), the following is Storelectric’s current understanding of the impacts of Brexit on our PCI projects and a bit more widely. Please note that this is not an assessment of its...

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NAM70 Challenge – Final Event

NAM can play a crucial role in getting things started by making pilots possible for these beautiful technologies. Hear what Nynke Dalstra CFO at Royal HaskoningDHV and others have to say about NAM70

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Matching the Solution to the Problem

Introduction This analysis is re-written in fundamental ways as compared with the 2017 analysis, because the Future Energy Scenarios have changed markedly, and largely for the better. Two of the scenarios are legally compliant to the Climate Change Act 2008, offering...

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Renewable Energy Storage

There are, by my analysis, 5 scales of storage. Rising in factors of 10 in both scale and duration, they are domestic, local, area, regional and national. Just as the road network (and many other things) needs all scales to operate, so does the energy storage...

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Managing a Renewable Energy Transition

Everyone should seek to transform their electricity system to a renewable one, in every region of the world, but not unthinkingly - otherwise the consequent blackouts and price increases would blacken the name of renewable energy. There are a number of steps,...

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European Project of Common Interest

Every two years the EU updates its Ten Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP), on which it consults. This consultation period is open now. It would greatly benefit us if you could provide them with some feedback supportive of our two projects, which are: 1022 CARES...

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Collaboration with NAM

Following our victory in the NAM Challenge earlier this year, NAM have entered into a non-disclosure agreement with us to take our work together to the next level. They have authorised the following statement: "NAM is interested in the transition from fossil to...

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Global Finalist in the Energy track!

We’re proud to announce that we have been selected as @hellotmrc Global Finalists for the world-renowned #HTChallenge! From 4,500 applications, we are one of the 6 Finalists in the Energy track pitching at the #HTSummit in Paris on March 14-15th.  More About Hello...

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Renewable Energy Association

I am very happy to announce that Storelectric have joined the Renewable Energy association. The REA was established in 2001 as a not-for-profit trade association representing British renewable energy producers and promoting the use of renewable energy in the UK. As...

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