STC urges action on long-duration energy storage

The Science and Technology Committee has urged the government to ‘act now’ to ensure the UK has enough long-duration energy storage to facilitate the green transition.

Adobe Stock

Its latest report, Long-duration energy storage: get on with it, outlines the importance of large-scale storage for net zero and energy security. The report states that long-duration storage can take 7-10 years to build. As the current government has a 2035 target for decarbonising the grid, it’s essential that investment and construction gets underway as soon as possible. But according to the House of Lords Select Committee, the issue is not being treated with sufficient urgency.

“The government says it wants to deploy enough storage both to balance and to decarbonise the electricity system by 2035, but we are not on track,” said Baroness Brown, chair of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. “Long-duration energy storage facilities can take 7–10 years to build, so action is needed now to ensure the private sector sees a clear case to invest and to slash planning delays and grid connection queues if we are to have the required infrastructure in place by 2035.  

“Since 2023, the government has had a Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. Long-duration energy storage is critical for ensuring the UK can have both, so it must be a key priority for the department.”

Storage technologies addressed in the report include hydrogen, thermal storage, ACAES (advanced compressed air energy storage), pumped hydro, and longer-duration battery chemistries. The report states that there was a consensus among witnesses that “we will use a wide variety of storage technologies, from shorter duration technologies such as … batteries … through to hydrogen storage.”

Key recommendations set out in the report include:

  • commit to a strategic reserve of long-duration energy storage for energy security  
  • urgently make key decisions and coordinate the delivery of its energy system plan   
  • set an explicit minimum target for long-duration energy storage 
  • set out the details of its long-duration storage business model  
  • clarify the role of hydrogen and deliver no-regrets investments in H2
  • reduce timelines for grid connection and planning delays    
  • engage and communicate with the public to ensure support for vital energy infrastructure

“In light of the huge economic damage the recent energy crisis has caused, it is distressing to see that the government lacks a clear plan for energy supply risks and indeed is still deliberating over investment in long-duration storage to prevent future crises,” Baroness Brown continued.

“A strategic reserve of electricity storage is a critical investment to secure the UK’s energy supply against future shocks, but the government is still equivocating over whether it is necessary to invest in one.”