New data released by the Renewable Energy Association has revealed current energy storage capacity operating in the UK now stands at over 3.2GW.

The REA research found there are 35 standalone grid-connected projects operating as of August 2016, spanning technologies from lithium-ion batteries to pumped hydro systems.

At least 453 MW of energy storage capacity has also been announced as being under construction or being commissioned, in addition to the 200 MW of “enhanced frequency response” storage that was contracted by the National Grid in September.

The REA said that analysts who work in association with the industry point to the 1.2 GW of extra capacity that bid into the “Enhanced Frequency Response” auction but did not win a contract as a clear indication that the storage industry has matured quickly and is ready to deliver. These extra projects will have demonstrated that they are ready to deploy and will have secured planning permission and grid connection capacity.

Storage a ‘critical technology’

Anecdotal reports also indicate that there has now been double-digit GW worth of applications for storage to the distribution network, but this will not all be built out and may not have planning and grid permission. To unlock this potential market the REA has flagged a number of improvements needed to the policy framework.

James Court, Head of Policy & External Affairs at the Renewable Energy Association said:

“Storage is already a reality for the UK and right now there’s an opportunity to cement us as a global centre for investment, deployment, and research. Many technologies have advanced quickly and are now commercial, as such the storage industry is not seeking a direct subsidy.

Storage is a critical technology for the decentralisation of the UK’s energy system and will support long-term renewables deployment. Policy is the single greatest barrier to the industry’s growth and reform is needed.”

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