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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N001893/1
Title: Realising Energy Storage Technologies in Low-carbon Energy Systems (RESTLESS)
Principal Investigator: Dodds, Professor PE
Other Investigators:
Radcliffe, Professor J McKechnie, Dr J Bell, Professor KRW
Garvey, Professor S Ekins, Professor P van der Weijde, Dr A
Spataru, Professor C Demski, Dr CC Barrett, Professor M
Harrison, Professor GP Pidgeon, Professor NF
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr G Castagneto Gissey
Project Partners:
Department of Energy and Climate Change E4Tech Ltd Government of Scotland
Renewable Energy Association REA Scottish Hydrogen& Fuel Cell Association Scottish Power
Welsh Government
Department: Bartlett Sch of Env, Energy & Resources
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2015 Ends: 31 August 2019 Value (£): 1,402,239
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Storage Sustainable Energy Vectors
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 May 2015 SUPERGEN Energy Storage Challenge Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project aims to understand how novel energy storage technologies might best be integrated into an evolving, lower-carbon UK energy system in the future. It will identify technical, environmental, public acceptability, economic and policy issues, and will propose solutions to overcome barriers to deployment.

As electricity is increasingly generated by highly-variable renewables and relatively inflexible nuclear power stations, alternatives to the use of highly-flexible fossil-fuelled generation as a means of balancing the electricity system will become increasingly valuable. Numerous technologies for storing electricity are under development to meet this demand, and as the cost of storage is reduced through innovation, it is possible that they could have an important role in a low-carbon energy system. The Energy Storage Supergen Hub is producing a UK roadmap for energy storage that will be the starting point for this project.

The value of grid-scale storage to the electricity system has been assessed for some scenarios. For extreme cases comprising only renewable and nuclear generation, the value is potentially substantial. However, the value of energy storage to the UK depends on the costs and benefits relative to sharing electricity imbalances through greater European interconnection, demand-side electricity response, and wider energy system storage, and the optimal approaches to integrating energy storage at different levels across the whole energy system are not well understood. This project will take a broader approach than existing projects by considering energy system scenarios in which storage options are more integrated across the whole energy system, using a series of soft-linked energy and electricity system models. Demand-side response and increased interconnection will be considered as counterfactual technologies that reduces the need for storage.

Three broad hypotheses will be investigated in this project: (i) that a whole energy system approach to ES is necessary to fully understand how different technologies might contribute as innovation reduces costs and as the UK energy system evolves; (ii) that a range of technological, economic and social factors affect the value of ES, so should all be considered in energy system scenarios; and, (iii) that the economic value of the difference between good and bad policy decisions relating to the role of energy storage in the transition to low-carbon generation is in the order of £bns.

A broader, multidisciplinary approach, which extends beyond the techno-economic methodologies that are adopted by most studies, will be used to fully assess the value of energy storage. This project will therefore also examine public acceptability issues for the first time, compare the environmental impacts of storage technologies using life-cycle analyses, and examine important economic issues surrounding market design to realise the value of storage services provided by consumers. All of these analyses will be underpinned by the development of technology-neutral metrics for ES technologies to inform the project modelling work and the wider scientific community. These multidisciplinary considerations will be combined in a series of integrated future scenarios for energy storage to identify no-regrets technologies. The project will conclude by examining the implications of these scenarios for UK Government policy, energy regulation and research priorities. The analyses will be technical only to the point of identifying the requirements for energy storage, with absolutely no bias towards or against any classes of storage technology.

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