According to a new study on climate goals, solar and wind energy, along with the flexibility provided by battery storage and demand response, could predominantly help the UK meet growing power needs.

As Energy Storage News reports, it suggested that the UK power system could decarbonise by 2030 without relying on biomass, new nuclear or carbon capture and storage facilities.

The report, ‘Thermal generation and electricity system reliability’, was produced by consultancy Vivid Economics in partnership with Dr Marko Aunedi, research associate at Imperial College London’s Faculty of Engineering, for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Wind & solar could provide 60% of total electricity by 2030

It found that wind and solar, which are the two cheapest forms of renewable energy, could provide over 60% of total electricity by 2030. When this is combined with existing nuclear and natural gas capacity, the UK would meet demand.

There is currently nearly 100 GW of generating capacity on the electricity system but 28 GW is expected to retire by 2030. These planned retirements include 7 GW of coal, 12 GW of gas, and 8 GW of nuclear.

While the UK still needs to work on reducing carbon emissions from the power sector to 100g CO2/kWh, there have been concerns that renewable energy would not be reliable enough to replace the capacity.

Vivid’s model, however, claims that the UK can increasingly turn to wind and solar without jeopardising the reliability of the transmission and distribution grids. They tested their model for its reliability using forecasted demand in 2020, 2025 and 2030. Four specific tests were used to confirm system reliability. This included: system adequacy; system reserve; an assessment on synchronous generation capacity to maintain system inertia above threshold levels; and a test on frequency response control capabilities.

Energy Security with renewables

When wind and solar are combined with ‘smart resources’ like battery storage and demand response technologies, the tests concluded that the UK would be able to meet system needs by 2030, while providing an adequate security margin.

By introducing a simple set of incentive mechanisms for sufficient batteries, demand response and inter-connectors, Vivid believes the government could deliver on such an energy system in time.

If you’d like to play your part in harnessing the benefits of solar power and take your place in helping the UK meet its power needs today, get in touch with Zestec on 01202 862760 or for an initial exploratory chat.