Long-duration energy storage for Net Zero inquiry launched
26 July 2023
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee launches an inquiry into long-duration energy storage for Net Zero.
The Government has set a target for a fully decarbonised electricity system by 2035 and Net Zero across the whole of the UK by 2050. This will require a large increase in variable renewable electricity generation from wind and solar and a substantial increase in electricity demand as heat and transport sectors are electrified to remove dependence on fossil fuels. In order to balance supply and demand in this future energy system across different timescales, different types of energy storage technology will be needed.
The UK is likely to need substantial investment in infrastructure that can store energy across days, weeks, months and years. As recent years have demonstrated, energy security is a crucial economic and societal issue, and is now part of the remit of the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. A range of technologies – such as hydrogen, compressed air, redox flow batteries, molten salts, or synthetic fuels – could be used to store energy in different forms, or for different durations.
Deploying large-scale long-duration energy storage infrastructure will require significant investment and skilled engineering capacity, but the business case is uncertain at present. Estimates for how much storage will be needed depend on a range of factors and assumptions around future electricity supply and demand. There may be non-financial challenges to building the infrastructure necessary to store and transport energy around the country.
The Committee’s inquiry will take evidence on these issues and seek to establish whether the Government has sufficient policies in place to support medium- and long-duration energy storage and whether it is on track to deliver this crucial component of a net zero energy system.
The Committee will explore issues including:
- How much medium- and long-duration energy storage will be needed to reach the Government’s targets?
- How does this depend on assumptions about the future balance of supply and demand on the grid? For example, what might the role of nuclear power, demand-side management, or interconnectors be?
- What technologies can scale up to play a major role in storage? What are their comparative strengths and weaknesses?
- What policy support is currently in place to support deployment of storage? Is it sufficient to support deployment at scale?
- What non-financial barriers might exist to the deployment of large-scale energy storage and are these being addressed?
The Committee invites written contributions to its inquiry by 11.59 pm on Monday 11 September 2023.