homenews and insights winter solstice blog

How battery storage can help us bridge the gap to net zero

Hugh McGuire.jfif
By Hugh Maguire
21 December 2022

Solar and Battery

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SSE Solar and Battery

This week sees the Winter Solstice – the shortest day of the year. This month has also seen unusually inconsistent wind, raising an important question about our renewable capacity and the pathway to net zero.

The shortest day of the year, on December 21 is the day the Grid has in theory to work hardest to ‘keep the lights on', as demand to heat and light our homes peaks.

With the UK energy system on a one-way journey to net zero by 2035 our research has shown that carbon intensity has fallen by 61% on shortest day of the year in the last decade.

This is very welcome news when it comes to helping us tackle climate change but also throws a sharp focus on which other technologies can and will pick up the strain.

So as the UK accelerates its decarbonisation journey, are we doing enough to ensure that the Grid is properly supported as we transform our energy system to one increasingly driven by "on demand" renewable technology?

Battery storage has a key role to play in solving the net zero jigsaw by enabling us to maximise the renewable energy that is produced and by being able to discharge power back to the Grid at times of peak demand.

It’s why SSE is investing £25bn to 2030 in low carbon technologies, creating 1,000 green jobs a year in the process, that will help us get to net zero – including an ambitious 670MW near-term pipeline of battery storage projects.

My message is a simple one: we need to ramp up the amount of battery storage we can call upon.

Hugh McGuire
Senior Project Development Manager, SSE Solar and Battery

Currently the UK is sitting at 1.6GW of installed battery capacity which will need to shoot up to some 18GW by 2035, according to the Climate Change Committee.

Batteries like our project at Salisbury will help to support the increase renewable capacity in the UK.

However, to unlock this rapid battery capacity growth, we need to remove the barriers to the development of new batteries.

In simple terms we need three things:

  • a supportive planning environment that allows the right battery storage projects to be built in the right places;
  • favourable investment conditions conducive to companies like SSE that want to invest heavily in net zero technologies;
  • and finally, we need the talent of tomorrow to come and work for us today!