The Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) has said that without urgent action, billions more in funding could be needed in grid flexibility measures to balance the electricity system – slowing progress to net zero.
Published on 21 September, the latest Energy Transition Readiness Index 2021 concluded that changes are needed to increase the flexibility of the grid as more variable generation comes online, with the proportion of renewables continuing to grow in the country’s energy mix.
REA urged the government to:
- Reform the existing national flexibility market: establish a regular schedule of large-scale auctions where participants can purchase flexibility, whilst changing rules to help improve the business case for investing in flexible assets.
- Simplify the regulations for energy storage so that it is never double charged for using the grid. According to REA, categorising storage as distinct from generation will reduce costs and make it much more investable.
- Introduce regulations on electric vehicle (EV) smart charging as soon as possible to provide greater clarity, support investment, and help manage increasing electricity demand from EVs.
- Ensure an ongoing deployment of renewable electricity and heat by committing to more frequent, six-monthly Contracts for Difference power auctions and a long-term replacement for the Renewable Heat Incentive.
- Coordinate with suppliers and energy retailers to encourage the uptake of time of use tariffs.
Mark Davis, GridBeyond’s Managing Director UK & Ireland, said:
“Tools already exist for businesses to provide flexibility services to the grid, but the right regulatory framework needs to be created to unlock the private investment needed to reach net-zero.
“We are moving in the right direction concerning the decarbonisation of electricity generation, but it is important that firmer policy decisions are made sooner to avoid the more expensive consequences of inaction. The government has a real opportunity to demonstrate leadership and make the changes that would allow the grid to better integrate volatile renewables, while limiting the cost impacts on consumers.”
The report, published on 21 September, compared the readiness of 12 European countries, ranking them on a scale of 1-5. It evaluated that the UK, rated 3, is well behind Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which were all rated 5.