One month’s worth of storage needed for 100 per cent RE system in UK says study

Modeling work led by an academic at the University of Central Lancashire (Fragaki et al)  suggests that a 100 percent renewable energy system could be delivered indefinitely in the UK with just 30 days’ worth of storage. However, the trick is that there would need to be a significant overbuild – about 115 percent – of renewable energy capacity in order to achieve this. Lower levels of overbuilding would necessitate much larger amounts of storage.

100%REUK has not reported this finding before because it was based on  UK electricity data – not all energy – consumption. However, after contemplation, I realise that this will make no difference to the calculations about storage needs in a solely wind- solar-based system. That is whatever the size of the electricity market. The model was calculated using 30 years’ worth of UK electricity data.

The study done by LUT University and published on this website suggested that around eight months’ worth of long-term storage would be needed. They also used 30 years of data.  However, this does not account for overbuild. If it had been done I suspect the findings would have been much the same as that reported by Fragaki et al.

The amount of long-term storage for 100%RE systems will vary from country to country. In Australia, for instance, the amount of long-term storage is likely to be a lot less. That is influenced by the fact that solar pv generation will be a lot more stable around the year compared to the UK where solar output falls to low levels in the winter.

Indeed, a recent piece of modeling done by David Osmond of the Canberra based Windlab implied that no more than a few days would be required with an overbuild of wind and solar of 118 percent. He only used two years’ worth of data, so the amount of storage is likely to be more if a 30-year period is needed – but probably not as much as in the case of the UK.

The long-term storage would be provided by a cheaply produced substance such as green hydrogen or green synthetic fuels produced using renewable energy.

As ever, and particularly in this area, a lot more research on many issues is needed. Alas in the UK, since the Government regards 100% RE as not possible, there is no funding for this. There are only countless billions poured into hopeless causes like nuclear power and carbon capture and storage. Perhaps when they fail to deliver in anything more than very inadequate quantities there will be more research into 100%RE systems. But then it will be too late to save the UK from disaster!

By David Toke

Read about the 100%RenewableUK energy model and how it compares to the Government’s net zero plan. 100%RE gives lower emissions for much lower overall cost! Our new report concludes that a 100% renewable energy mix for the UK would save well over £100bn in achieving net zero by 2050, compared to the UK Government’s current strategy. It would also mean more than 20% lower cumulative carbon emissions in the process. The study, carried out by renowned energy modeling academics at LUT University in Finland, involves hour-by-hour simulation of different scenarios for reaching net zero for UK energy systems. Click HERE for more information, including links to the report itself and accompanying material

You can see the youtube recording of our seminar on 100percent renewable energy for the UK held in London on April 22nd  HERE

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4 thoughts on “One month’s worth of storage needed for 100 per cent RE system in UK says study”

  1. “just”??
    one month storage would require 23 TWh of storage capacity. The present cost is $350/KWh, optimistically projected to come down to $100 in 10 years from now. That works out to be an investment in batteries (with a finite lifetime) of $8T, possibly reduced to $2T – many multiples of the UK yearly budget. Now add in the overbuild and the additional grid cost needed to distribute stored energy to regions of energy shortfall.

    Contrary to the absurd claims made by 100% RE zealots, the analysis clearly demonstrates the much higher cost of RE

  2. You obviously haven’t read any of our reports otherwise you would know that we do not think batteries can be used for long term storage. So you are talking up a straw man and do not want to face the fact that we are talking about using cheap gaseous/liquid substances for storage derived from renewable energy. We talk about this copiously in other sections, including the report which is linked to this page.

  3. Hi guys, I love the David Osborne study but isn’t that for Australia? I thought the UK’s hope of going all-renewables was integration into not just the EU grid, but the even larger ENTSO-E super-grid. You guys are just too far north of the equator to go it alone. (Unless renewables and storage REALLY drop in price!) But the good news is renewables are now so cheap Overbuild is feasible and super-grids possible. And we can have all the off-grid pumped hydro we need – check the Andrew Blakers atlas for ocean PHES and off-river PHES.

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