Energy storage – London seminar to examine ‘what we can expect’

Posted: April 4, 2015 by oldbrew in Energy

Upper reservoir (Llyn Stwlan) and dam of the Ffestiniog Pumped Storage Scheme in north Wales   [credit: Arpingstone/English Wikipedia]

Upper reservoir (Llyn Stwlan) and dam of the Ffestiniog Pumped Storage Scheme in north Wales
[credit: Arpingstone/English Wikipedia]

A seminar in London in June will ask: ‘What’s next for the grid?’ Their proposed answer is: energy storage. It will be ‘informative and insightful’ says the Institute for Engineering and Technology [IET].

How much of an additional cost burden could this place on UK electricity consumers, we might ask.

IET: The development of energy storage is vital to the sustained operation of the UK’s busy grid network, carbon grid and transport system, maintaining supply and bridging the gap in peak conditions.

Find out in greater detail how energy storage is deployed in the GB system and what the current landscape is for this technology.

You will hear from industry leaders who will examine and explore the impact on infrastructure including standards and the new RIIO regime, the practicalities and technical issues of storage with an overview of what we can expect from storage in the future taking into consideration technology development, the changes in the value of storage and using storage to supply new services.

This is an informative and insightful IET seminar, offering you fantastic opportunities to network with colleagues and peers plus:

Hear the latest insight and research from leading energy experts
Debate the possibility of such development
Recognise the risks and opportunities available
Understand Energy storage as an enabler for the Smart Grid and renewable power
Network with key thinkers and strategists

Keynote speaker

Goran Strbac, Director of UK Centre for Grid Scale Energy Storage at Imperial College will discuss the role and value of energy in the future GB electricity system addressing the importance of storage in our energy system and the competition to electricity storage plus an examination of the changes to distribution design standards to enable the security of supply.

Sessions will cover

Role and value of energy storage in the future GB electricity system
Storage technology – present status and future developments
The GB storage landscape
Standards for electricity storage
Operation of energy storage
Operation of storage in network constraint management
Technical issues in electricity storage
Our Storage Wish List – the system operators’ views
Panel discussion on ‘the next steps for storage’

Source: Energy Storage – What’s next for the grid? – IET Conferences.

  1. Richard111 says:

    We need something like this:

    If it is set up in the Scottish Highlands maybe it will sink Scotland.

  2. oldbrew says:

    Richard: DoE has something less ambitious in mind 😉

    ‘As energy storage technology may be applied to a number of areas that differ in power and energy requirements, OE’s Energy Storage Program performs research and development on a wide variety of storage technologies. This broad technology base includes batteries (both conventional and advanced), flywheels, electrochemical capacitors, superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES), power electronics, and control systems.’

  3. oldbrew says:

    If the ‘new wave of mega-turbines’ gets planted around the UK we’ll be on the way to the sort of erratic power surges and drop-offs that Germany has to deal with.

    ‘…figures confirm theoretical arguments that regardless of the size of the wind fleet the United Kingdom will never be able to reduce its conventional generation fleet below peak load plus a margin of approximately 10%.’

    Unless massive electricity storage is developed somehow. Batteries seem far too feeble on the industrial scale required.

  4. AlecM says:

    When the power Grid collapses we’ll be back to cow dung and wood, so what’s the problem?

  5. AlecM says:

    Oh, I should have mentioned peat.

  6. Richard111 says:

    Years ago I worked on a system that needed power 24/365. Going off air was almost a capital offence. To achieve this standard we had THREE diesel generators and a room full of batteries. The batteries were huge glass boxes about half a cubic metre and the room measured about 4 by 5 metres with three rows of these batteries. They were lead/acid batteries. They only kept the system running for about 8 hours. Woe betide if you didn’t get a genny up and running in that time.
    Ah! The good ole days. 🙂

  7. Richard111: Sounds like a NPS with UPS.

  8. Ben Vorlich says:

    I’ve no knowledge of how the current hydro operates but as it is getting on for 60 years since most of it was built it must be ready for upgrading/refurbishment. Many of the original schemes must be like the one I’m familiar with Glen in Perthshire. The outflow from the turbines is discharged into Loch Earn. This would be ideal as a pumped storage system the same as Cruachan.

    This would be cheaper and wouldn’t meet as much resistance from environmentalists.

  9. oldbrew says:

    Ben: pumped storage is only a short-term fix e.g. when there’s a spike in demand or a sudden power outage somewhere. No good for baseload.

    And once used, it doesn’t work again until all the water has been pumped back to the top of the system, normally at cheap night rates of electricity – which has to be generated elsewhere.

  10. oldbrew says:

    One thing we know is ‘next for the grid’ – higher costs.


  11. Richard111 says:

    phillipbratby says: at 5:45 pm

    Yes, sort of, it was how we kept the old Decca Navigator system on air.

  12. Stephen Richards says:

    Richard111 says:

    April 4, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Sounds like an IT centre or telephone exchange

  13. Stephen Richards says:

    Significant energy storage is very dangerous. Imagine the energy involved in storing Gws of power to be released in MegaW loads when needed. Frightening !!

  14. oldbrew says:

    Another possibility: ‘the Solar Storage product the UK Solar market has been waiting for’ – they say.

  15. ivan says:

    One would think the best form of storage is to have good coal stocks at the coal fired power stations and a large diameter gas pipe between the fracked gas well head and the gas turbine generators. That allows the removal of all the useless windmills ans solar pannels that are causing the instability in the grid.

    Will no one think of the countryside?

  16. michael hart says:

    You’re gonna need a bigger dam.

  17. p.g.sharrow says:

    A Dam pumped storage battery is the best damn solution to peaking the electrical power grid.

    While high in initial cost, they almost never wear out or degrade with use or age.
    They are easy to scale up to the size needed and other then the flooding of a valley, cause NO additional pollution in their creation or use, and can also generate some recreation benefit as well.

    I know of no better solution for the need for very large scale energy storage to stabilize the electrical grid. pg

  18. Ben Vorlich says:

    I realise that, but even in Scotland where most hydro is located there are periods of low rainfall. Even at times of normal rainfall many dams are far from full and the volume of stored water increase in a non-linear fashion as the dammed valleys do not have vertical sides. The replenishment of head of water issue is often reduced by water collection from the surrounding areas.

    If you want to store surplus power from wind for instance rather than pay operators to switch off at least some could be used to pump water up mountains. I would think that the National Grid operators would welcome a bit of help in managing renewables sudden fluctuations. Not only that but the replenishment of the dam could be completed in hours rather than days. The solving of the problem of flow in the rivers affected by such schemes should not be beyond the capability of modern engineering.

    It is certainly is more environmentally friendly than STOR.

  19. suricat says:

    oldbrew. Power generation by ‘wind’ is inherently unpredictable and necessitates a method for the stabilisation of the ‘said’ product per se. This should be achieved by the ‘unstable’ product per se. How? By using the ‘unstable element’ of the product to ‘drive’ the ‘moderating/stabilising influence’. Why use ‘other resources’ for the ‘stability of infrastructure’ when the ‘destabilising element’ can be used to ‘regulate’ itself?

    Excess energy from ‘wind generation’ can be used to ‘electrolyse’ (fractionate) water into its component atoms/molecules of H2 and O2. The ‘H2’ is useful, in that it’s combustible and can be used as a ‘fuel’. However, it’s difficult to ‘store’ H2 (the element even ‘leaks’ through a glass flask), thus, the need to ‘bookmark’ some of the ‘excess energy’ to enable the combination/recombination of H2 with C in ‘whatever’ proportion. This form would permit the storage of ‘wind energy’ in a ‘safe’ environment IMHO.

    We need to use our wind farms more intelligently!

    Best regards, Ray.

  20. oldbrew says:

    Ray: cost is the problem.

  21. oldbrew says:

    Could this do the trick?
    ‘Ultra-fast charging aluminum battery offers safe alternative to conventional batteries’

    ‘Stanford University scientists have invented the first high-performance aluminum battery that’s fast-charging, long-lasting and inexpensive. Researchers say the new technology offers a safe alternative to many commercial batteries in wide use today.’

    “The grid needs a battery with a long cycle life that can rapidly store and release energy,” he explained. “Our latest unpublished data suggest that an aluminum battery can be recharged tens of thousands of times. It’s hard to imagine building a huge lithium-ion battery for grid storage.”

  22. suricat says:

    oldbrew says: April 6, 2015 at 9:16 am

    “Ray: cost is the problem.”

    I disagree. ‘Intermittent power input’ into a ‘grid’ is ‘the problem’!

    Without a ‘fully choreographed’ procedure, an/any ‘intermittent power source’ added to a power grid will only disrupt power flows ‘within the grid’. There are already enough problems with ‘supplying’ an ‘intermittent demand’.

    The only way I can envisage “cost” being a problem is where the “cost” of ‘wind power utilisation’ has been badly estimated.

    Best regards, Ray.

  23. suricat says:

    oldbrew says: April 6, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    “Could this do the trick?”

    Not sure. ‘Spongy aluminium’ has been considered before, but for the ‘absorption’ of H2.

    Best regards, Ray.