Between the hours of 5pm and 7pm on weekdays, the UK experiences what is known as ‘peak demand’. A surge in energy use puts a strain on the National Grid as electricity must be generated instantaneously to meet demand. To do this, existing gas and coal fired power stations need to be turned up at the same time to avoid a shortfall.
However as we switch to a more intermittent and less flexible low carbon generation mix, the need for energy storage is to become crucial in meeting peak demand efficiently. For example if the UK was to continue to use fossil fuelled power stations to provide capacity to meet peak demand and keep our grid stable, we would need to have fossil fuelled power stations running part-loaded.
This would be expensive, inefficient and limit the amount of low carbon power that the system can absorb.
Therefore in using energy storage and its’ inherent flexibility would mean that the UK could build fewer new power stations, integrate more low carbon electricity at a lower cost and use all the assets in the electricity system more efficiently, leading to significant cost savings for consumers.