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Unleashing UK's Energy Storage Potential: A Comprehensive Outlook on The BESS Sector

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Unleashing UK's Energy Storage Potential: A Comprehensive Outlook on The BESS Sector

​The United Kingdom (UK) is experiencing a significant upswing in its energy storage market, particularly in the Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) sector. This growth aligns with the UK's commitment to achieving a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 and reflects the critical role of BESS in facilitating a reliable and resilient power network. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the key trends shaping the BESS sector in the UK and offers an outlook on its future trajectory.


1. UK's Energy Storage Market Overview

The UK's energy storage market has been witnessing robust growth, thanks largely to the government's dedication to low-carbon innovation and the increasing need for grid stability. The country's total installed capacity of energy storage is fast approaching 1.7 GW across 127 sites, with batteries accounting for a significant portion of this capacity.

The government has earmarked more than $4 billion for investments in low-carbon innovation, highlighting the high priority accorded to energy storage. The UK also boasts of the world's largest installed capacity of offshore wind. However, harnessing this capacity effectively requires efficient energy storage solutions, given the variable nature of wind speeds.


2. Policy Support and Private Sector Participation

The UK government's policy support has been instrumental in propelling the energy storage market. Last year, legislation was introduced to simplify the approval process for energy storage projects with a capacity exceeding 50 MW in England and 350 MW in Wales. This has significantly reduced the time and complexity involved in obtaining consents for such projects.

Private sector participation has also been a key contributor to the market's growth. For instance, Field, a battery storage company, recently secured a funding of £77m for the development of renewable energy infrastructure across the UK.


3. Impact of COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine War

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war have undoubtedly had an impact on the global energy market. In the UK, energy storage has played a crucial role in balancing the electricity system during the pandemic-induced 20% drop in demand, ensuring efficient usage of the generated power.

The war situation in Ukraine, on the other hand, has underscored the importance of energy security and the need for reliable power supplies, further accentuating the value of robust energy storage systems.


4. Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS): The Dominant Force

BESS holds a significant share in the UK's energy storage market. These systems are increasingly being co-located with wind and solar farms, resulting in a steady stream of planning applications for such projects. Co-location offers several benefits, including savings on planning restrictions and transmission network costs. Moreover, batteries can directly curtail the chances of renewable power being wasted during periods of low demand.

In 2020, InterGen, a leading player in the UK's power generating sector, received consent for the UK's largest BESS project. With a capacity of at least 320 MW/640 MWh, this project forms a critical part of the country's transition to net-zero.


5. Major Developers in the BESS Market

Several prominent developers are shaping the landscape of the UK's BESS market. These include EDF, Pivot Power, Statera, and RES. These companies provide services to National Grid, Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), and operate in the wholesale energy markets.

EDF, for instance, has been actively investing in BESS projects across the UK. Similarly, Pivot Power is leveraging its expertise in energy storage and infrastructure to contribute to the market's growth.


6. Growth Forecasts and Future Trends

According to the Future Energy Scenarios (FES) report by the National Grid, the UK is projected to install more than 38 GW of energy storage by 2050. The report outlines four possible trajectories for the future of Britain's energy system, all pointing towards a promising growth outlook for the BESS market.

The report also forecasts a growing need for greater demand-side flexibility to support the shift to net-zero. This refers to how end-consumers actively contribute to the flexibility of the grid, primarily through distributed flexible assets such as EV charge points and behind-the-meter battery storage.


7. Market Challenges and Risks

While the outlook is positive, the BESS market in the UK is not without its challenges. One of the major threats is the potential shift of investments to countries with better market conditions, such as the US. The US' Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) subsidies, which significantly reduce the cost of battery storage systems, could potentially divert investments away from the UK.


8. Key Players in the BESS Market

The UK's BESS market is home to several key players, both domestic and international. These include ABB, Narada, Total, Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd., Kokam, Black and Veatch, Hitachi ABB Power Grids, Samsung SDl, Fluence, Siemens Energy, GE Renewable Energy, LG Chem, Eve Energy Co. Ltd., and VRB Energy.


9. BESS Market Research and Insights

To gain a comprehensive view of the BESS market, various research reports and insights are available. These provide detailed information about the sales and revenue during the historic and forecasted period of 2017 to 2030. Besides offering market size estimates and forecasts, these reports also provide insights into the competitive landscape, key competitors, and their respective market rankings.


10. Conclusion

The UK's energy storage market, particularly the BESS sector, is poised for substantial growth. Driven by favourable government policies, increasing private sector participation, and a growing demand for grid stability, the sector is set to play a pivotal role in the UK's transition to a net-zero carbon economy. However, market players must navigate the challenges and risks involved, including potential shifts in investment due to favourable market conditions in other countries.

As the UK continues its path towards a cleaner, greener future, the BESS market will undoubtedly remain at the forefront of the country's energy landscape.