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04 August 2010

UK launches energy storage demonstration programme

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Energy Technology Institutes invites proposals for large-scale energy storage pilot projects

Firms are today being invited to put forward proposals on how to resolve one of the biggest challenges facing the rollout of renewable energy technologies: where do you store the energy that wind turbines and solar panels produce at times when it is not needed.

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), a public-private partnership tasked with accelerating the development of low-carbon technologies, has launched a major new project to identify energy storage devices capable of providing power for about 400 homes during the winter months.

The organisation is inviting proposals for devices that can deliver at least 500kW on an 11kV distribution network for approximately four hours. It then intends to select a shortlist that can be developed into full project proposals before selecting designs for at least one device that will be built, deployed and tested on an operational distribution site.

Distributed energy storage systems are widely regarded as critical to the success of the UK's plans to ultimately generate all its electricity from renewable sources as it would allow grid operators to continue to supply clean energy even when weather conditions reduce the output from wind farms.

"The UK's energy network will radically change between now and 2050 and energy storage will be a key tool for helping manage intermittent supplies and aid energy security," said ETI chief executive Dr David Clarke. "The network of the future must be able to cope with significant levels of electricity being delivered from renewable sources which are likely to be more intermittent than today’s generators. The network will also have to handle greater variations in demand from customers on a daily basis as we introduce increased electricity demands such as electrically driven heat pumps and charging of electric cars."


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