Energy storage is a game-changer for power systems and consumers but the UK Government needs to move quickly to address key regulatory, economic and market barriers to unlock its potential, according to a new report from the Solar Trade Association (STA).

Paul Barwell, the STA’s chief executive, said other countries were providing stimulus to their storage industries and his association believes the priority in the UK is to “move quickly to lay the foundations for the development of a strong, safe and sustainable energy storage industry, at all scales”.

“The costs of storage are moving rapidly downwards, and the economics could be compelling by the time fundamental regulatory & market barriers are resolved,” he said.

Resolution of regulatory barriers

The STA is urging the Government to prioritise the resolution of regulatory barriers which it said was preventing fair treatment for storage within the power system.

“For example, there is no legal definition of storage in the UK or the EU leading to perverse treatment such as ‘double charging’ – where storage is changed for both importing and exporting power, despite the clear benefits it offers.”

STA Policy Manager David Pickup, author of the paper said:

 “At the domestic scale our focus is on quality and safety for consumers, while at the larger scales the critical missing factor is the existence of marketplaces and services storage could fit into. If Government can unlock storage at all scales within a broader smart power agenda, the UK will benefit economically from both cheaper clean power and from the huge international market opening up in modern, smart power systems.”

“However, solar and storage are a match made in technology heaven. Government will not help the smart power agenda by stalling solar power through illogical tax treatment – extreme business rate hikes will hinder the commercial sector investors who are vital to delivery.’”

A report by SmartestEnergy last month called for the National Grid to provide more certainty on future frequency response capacity in order to drive the emerging energy storage sector.

It consulted 45 battery storage innovators in the lead up to the first Enhanced Frequency Response auction to explore the barriers they face to commercialisation.

> Read the STA report

> Download SmartestEnergy's report