Comment on costs of intermittent power generation report

Commenting on a report by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) on the costs and impacts of intermittent electricity generation technologies, Dr Jonathan Marshall, energy analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: 

Wind-and-storage-Invenergy

Flexibility lowers the cost of integrating renewables onto the power system. Image: Invenergy, creative commons licence

“The most important finding of this report is that moving to a flexible, smart electricity grid is essential to keeping people’s bills down. If flexibility grows alongside the use of variable renewable sources of electricity, it not only lowers the cost of integrating them onto the system, it also cuts energy waste too. 

“One very recent study suggested that building battery storage alongside solar energy results in a negative integration cost – or, if you prefer, an integration benefit. With growing pressure on energy bills, it shows that ministers are right to be promoting smart grids as a key way of decarbonising our electricity system in the most cost-effective way possible. 

“It’s worth noting too that studies of Europe generally show lower costs than those in the UK and Ireland, because connecting national grids together gives each one much more flexibility. The obvious conclusion for the UK is that we should push ahead with planned power links to Belgium, France, Norway and elsewhere, making the trade of electricity easier and keeping bills for homes and businesses as low as possible."