The UK will have 50GW-plus of energy storage installed by 2050 in a best case scenario attainment of net zero, according to grid operator National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios report.
The report’s broader conclusions around the energy sector were covered in detail by Energy-Storage.news’ sister site Current yesterday.
It is published by the National Grid ESO (electricity system operator) each year and outlines four different pathways for the future of energy to 2050, including the energy storage deployments each entails (covering all technologies including batteries, pumped hydro, air-based solutions etc).
Four different Future Energy Scenarios with storage deployments
In the ‘Falling Short’ scenario, which does not achieve Net Zero, the UK will only have around 22GW/60GWh of energy storage.
‘System Transformation’ and ‘Consumer Transformation’ both achieve net zero but with the latter involving higher societal changes, like electrified heating, consumers willing to change behaviour, high energy-efficiency and demand side flexibility. The former entails 32GW/115GWh deployed and the latter around 40GW/165GWh deployed, by 2050.
In ‘Leading the Way’, the best-case scenario, the UK will have deployed just over 50GW of energy storage power and just under 200GWh of capacity.
Currently, the vast majority of flexibility provided to the system, totalling nearly 18TWh, is from natural gas. As of the end of 2021, the non-gas assets comprise 25.8GWh of pumped hydro and 1.6GWh of battery storage.
Electricity storage capacity is set to increase in all scenarios to ensure peak demand can be met reliably as an increasing proportion of the UK’s electricity is generated from weather dependent renewables.