The Energy Futures Lab at Imperial College London has produced a ‘Strategic Assessment of the Role and Value of Energy Storage Systems in the UK Low Carbon Energy Future’ for the Carbon Trust, using a holistic system-wide modeling approach.
It concludes that storage would allow significant savings to be made in generation capacity, interconnection, transmission and distribution networks and operating costs. More specifically, storage could provide up to £10 billion of added value in a 2050 high renewables scenario.
Although it can be very useful in some situations, storage is not a magic solution for all our grid balancing problems: it is best used for specific purposes and durations. Hence, there seems to be a challenge for dealing with longer lulls.
Thus, the report offers some other valuable insight into the interactive nature of the overall system options and operation, and another option for longer-term grid balancing, which is the use of interconnectors.
While there is a good overview of some of storage technologies, beyond the points as above about the relative merits of bulk and distributed storage, the report doesn’t specify what sort of storage is best.