Storage and Flexibility Net Zero Series: Non-Battery Electricity Storage

Published: 10 June 2020

Balancing supply and demand across the energy system will become substantially more challenging as the UK continues to increase low-carbon but intermittent renewable generation and the electrification of the heat and transport sectors on the path to Net Zero.

Alongside batteries, non-battery electrical energy storage technologies are one option for meeting this challenge.

The Storage and Flexibility: Non-Battery Electricity Storage report investigates the potential of non-battery electricity storage technologies. A literature review is undertaken, and the techno-economic parameters of both existing and emerging electricity storage technologies collected.

The potential improvements in the techno-economic parameters of the different storage technologies up to 2050 are discussed, and in the case of capital costs, calculated. A preliminary modelling analysis is carried out using our Energy Systems Modelling Environment to explore the impact of the projected parameters on future storage deployment. The suitability of these technologies to provide a range of services is also discussed, alongside the relevant barriers to market.

This report is part of the Innovating to Net Zero programme. Energy Systems Catapult has carried out a number of deep dives into the technologies potentially needed to achieve the UK government’s 2050 net zero emissions targets – such as nuclear, digitalisation and storage and flexibility.

Key points

The key findings from Storage and Flexibility: Non Battery Electricity Storage analysis are:

  • There is clear value in medium to long duration non-battery electrical storage technologies within a Net Zero energy system. There are several non-battery storage technologies in development – with no clear frontrunner.
  • Capital costs of non-battery electrical storage need to reduce before it becomes competitive within a least cost energy system.
  • Non-battery electrical storage technologies have several market, policy, and regulatory barriers. Recommendations to remove some of these barriers include:
    • Improved capacity market design by reflecting time limited delivery of storage
    • Ensure ancillary services reflect breadth of characteristics of storage technologies and better reflect performance accuracy
    • Further improvements in market design flexibility for reserve markets
    • Further development and improvement of new markets (e.g. inertia, voltage, network investment deferral).