With increasing utilisation of renewable energy sources there are many cases where the ability to site generation within easy reach of demand becomes more limited. In these situations, how the energy is moved from where it is generated to where it is needed becomes a more critical aspect of the overall energy system. More remote locations are more costly to connect to transmission lines, be they electricity networks or pipelines. At the same time the intermittency of renewable energy sources places a greater emphasis on the use of energy storage to balance the different variations in supply and demand over time. Transporting stored energy is one possible way to address both of these concerns simultaneously.
In deciding whether to support the development of transportable energy storage technologies, the ETI needed access to a thoughtful and factual analysis that considers allthe relevant factors and identifies where transportable energy storage is most likely to be beneficial and what cost and performance targets would need to be met to justify the development of potential technologies to deliver transmission scale transportable storage.
Three sources of generation were considered within this project:
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) generated in the Sahara to be imported to theUK;
Wind energy generated in the Outer Hebrides to be imported to the UK; and
Wind energy generated in the Orkney Islands to be exported to Norway
Key findings of the study are:
Electricity transmission represents the least cost solution if electrical energy is required at the demand site
Chemical energy carriers do however compare favourably with electricity transmission where they can be used directly