Battery storage project could help reduce wind power curtailments by 65%

A consortium led by Energy Systems Catapult will receive £149,954 to develop a long-duration battery storage technology which could reduce the curtailment of wind power by up to 65%, helping Britain maximise its renewable energy potential.

The Catapult will work with Cumulus Energy Storage, the University of Southampton and a renewable energy producer on the Renewable Copper project, which will aim to demonstrate the technology at an operational wind farm as part of a later phase of the project.

Funded through the Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration competition, part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, the project aims to develop a rechargeable Copper/Zinc (CuZn) battery technology to provide long duration (4-12 hour) electricity storage with lower carbon emissions and lower costs compared to other storage systems.

CuZn battery storage could save 60 tonnes CO2eq/MWh/year compared with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) technologies, and could reduce by 27-65% the need for the grid operator to pay wind farms – at a cost to consumers – to curtail their output.

Wind curtailments or constraints often happen during windy periods when there is not enough network capacity to safely carry all the clean power being generated.

In 2020, 146 onshore and offshore wind farms were instructed to curtail their power, equivalent to 3.5TWh of energy use – 80% of which came from 29 onshore windfarms in Scotland owing to grid constraints at the Scotland/England boundary.

The project aims to boost the CuZn battery’s technology readiness level and assess routes-to-market to identify business and revenue models to support the technology.

A later phase of the project will aim to demonstrate the technology at a UK wind farm to assess its impact on curtailment reduction, revenue streams and battery performance – all of which will provide insight to BEIS and Ofgem to inform future policy and projects.

Paul Jordan, Energy Launchpad business lead at Energy Systems Catapult, said: “Developing and demonstrating innovative new zero carbon storage solutions is critical if we’re to meet Britain’s emissions reductions goals. If we can help reduce wind curtailment while boosting the business case for a new technology, it would be a significant step on the journey to net zero.

“We’re pleased to be working with Strathclyde and Cumulus Energy Storage – one of the innovators our Catapult has supported through our Energy Launchpad – and other partners to help create the essential routes to market needed for these exciting solutions.”

The Catapult is also leading a separate project, funded through the same Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration competition, to demonstrate a high-efficiency domestic thermal store technology to help decarbonise UK homes.

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