North of Future Energy Scenarios: Storage

Our network region is home to some of the UK’s greatest resources of low carbon energy. We therefore have a critical role to play in enabling Scotland and the UK’s Net Zero targets.

Our latest North of Scotland Future Energy Scenarios analysis explores the technologies that are likely to impact generation and demand profiles in the medium to long term. Understanding this will help us to serve our customers’ needs over the next decade and beyond as we deliver a network for net zero. In the second of a series of bite sized videos which explores our analysis in more detail. Let’s explore the role of Storage in the journey to net zero emissions.

Storage technologies such as batteries (BESS) and pumped storage hydro (PSH) are designed to store and discharge electricity.  Because of this design, it means storage technologies can help to keep the network in balance. Both BESS and PHS can absorb extra generation on the network and can release electricity to the network at times it is needed. 

As we connect more and more renewable generation to the network, it becomes harder to keep the network in balance. This is because renewable resources such as wind and solar power are intermittent, meaning the wind will not always be blowing and the sun will not always be shining.

Because of this intermittency there may not be enough wind or solar power at times of high demand, or there might be too much power when it is not needed because demand is low.

Because storage is a technology than can store and discharge electricity, storage can help to balance supply and demand on the network. Storage enables us to save up electricity from the north of Scotland’s abundant energy resources, for use at times when there is less wind or sun.

The ability to store and discharge electricity can play a key role in grid balancing. Keeping supply and demand in balance is extremely important as it allows us to keep frequency at 50hz. Keeping frequency at 50hz is what allows us to use all of our appliances at home, such as kettles and laptop chargers.

Storage such as BESS can help by maximizing the efficiency of renewable energy resources. Rather than wasting wind and solar power when it is windy and sunny but there is low demand for electricity, BESS can charge up using the extra wind and solar energy and save it for when it is useful later. Using renewable electricity resources more efficiently is a positive step towards greater sustainability.

Storage such as BESS and PHS can also help to reduce societies reliance on carbon heavy sources of baseload generation by replacing it with stored electricity instead.

Our analysis tells us that Storage will begin to play a critical role in Scotland’s energy mix during the 2020s to support net zero targets. With the potential to deliver between 1,968MW and 2360MW of Storage by 2050And around 4,446MW of pumped storage by 2032, enough to power 3.2m homes by 2050.

We’re planning a network that unlocks a low carbon future. We’re delivering a network for net zero.