There is a near term need to build new sources of power to ensure we have the electricity we need. Over the next decade, new and more diverse sources of electricity generation will need to come on stream, including more renewable energy, new gas fired plants and new nuclear capacity.
Nuclear power is inflexible: nuclear plants are best run at a continuous rate – delivering a stable base load of power rather than ramping up and down to match demand. The shift to more low carbon technologies will also mean more smaller power stations connected to the distribution network, for example onshore wind, solar power, and combined heat and power plants.
Not only can storage can help reduce the impact of peak demand and provide demand for power stations at other times of day, it also has the potential to ease constraints on our grids. Like a river with an off flow to a reservoir, storage can allow the network to siphon off electricity rather than being forced to curtail generation, for example putting an end to paying wind farms not to produce electricity, which currently costs £90 million a year.National Infrastructure Commission 2016