Nav: Home

Investment in energy storage vital if renewables to achieve full potential

May 26, 2016

Government subsidies should be used to encourage investment in energy storage systems if renewable power is to be fully integrated into the sector, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Variable output renewable energy systems, such as wind turbines and solar panels, are growing across Europe and contribute to supply and price volatility in electricity markets.

Systems for energy storage, for example reversed hydro power plants, large scale compressed air systems and batteries, provide ways to compensate for this variable power supply by storing excess power and releasing it when there is a production shortage.

However, the researchers argue that as the amount of renewable energy entering national power grids increases, so does the potential impact of volatility and therefore the need for storage. As subsidies for setting up renewable energy projects are gradually being removed, because they are reaching market maturity, these funds should instead be used to develop storage systems that could provide viable investment opportunities.

The study, led by Dr Dimitris Zafirakis and Dr Konstantinos Chalvatzis of UEA's Norwich Business School, explored the potential of energy storage systems to return profits by buying when energy is cheap and selling when it is expensive, known as arbitrage. They tested this in a number of European electricity markets and matched various trading strategies and storage technologies with market characteristics.

The researchers found that this buy cheap, sell expensive approach alone cannot provide adequate revenue to justify investment. However, if the decarbonisation of electricity is to be achieved by increasing renewables, investment in storage has to be encouraged, for example through a combination of arbitrage and state subsidies. The findings are published today in the journal Applied Energy.

Dr Chalvatzis, a senior lecturer in business and climate change, said: "It is good to adjust subsidies for renewable energy technologies that have reached maturity, but you have to start thinking about subsidising storage, as this can take us to using 100 per cent renewable energy sources.

"We need sufficient storage and more investment in storage systems in order for renewable energy to reach its full potential. Subsidies would encourage investment, which in turn would enable further integration of renewables into the energy sector.

"The fact that for some days countries such as Germany and Portugal are running their entire electricity network exclusively on renewable energy shows how far we have come to rely on it as a power source and this will continue to increase."

Despite this, investment in energy storage has been limited until now, largely due to the high capital costs of most systems. Therefore the researchers suggest that the main focus should be on multiple grid services and associated welfare effects, such as reduced consumer energy costs and increased energy security, that energy storage technologies can provide, triggering in this way state support and market incentives.

The study focused on two types of storage systems - pumped hydro storage (PHS) and compressed air energy storage (CAES) - examining different energy trade strategies and representative European power markets, including the APX Power UK.
-end-
'The value of arbitrage for energy storage: evidence from European electricity markets', Dimitris Zafirakis, Konstantinos Chalvatzis, Giovanni Baiocchi and Georgios Daskalakis, is published in Applied Energy on Friday May 27.

University of East Anglia

Related Climate Change Articles:

The black forest and climate change
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
For some US counties, climate change will be particularly costly
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change scientists should think more about sex
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The psychology behind climate change denial
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.

Related Climate Change Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".