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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Supharat Ridthichai

Enablers and barriers to the adoption of renewable energy technologies for power generation AN ANALYSIS OF ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS IN THE UK

Given a strong vision on Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHG) reduction reflected from the legal framework of the Climate Change Act 2008 to reduce GHG emissions to be at least 80% of base year level by 2050, the UK Government has created several policies to encourage the use of renewable energy. This implies that there will be a new significant challenge in providing flexibility in the system with more intermittent and variable supply of energy from renewables and more electricity demand from electrification of vehicles and heating systems. In this scenario, energy storage (ES) will play an important role in the UK energy system. However, the UK policy for a suitable ES plan still lacks and needs to be addressed.
To develop a future plan, many researchers from the ES community have recently suggested engaging the relevant stakeholders to develop a future roadmap for ES in the UK. To develop a suitable roadmap, the understandings of factors that have driven and hindered the uptake of energy storage technologies are needed. However, the researches already conducted in this topic center on the current and future factors. Therefore, this thesis aims to investigate the factors from the past through the historical emergence of ES in the UK. This is carried out by the Expert Scan technique, a structured visual mapping interview, and the industrial emergence framework is selected to be data analysis method. The data were collected from the nine interviews with three expert groups including research, business and research-business groups
The findings suggest that, in the past and present, the main market drivers have been from the support from the government. The support from the national central organization, the Central Electricity Generating Board, enabled the establishment of Pumped Hydroelectric Storage. The green economy enables higher renewable energy and electrification of transport and heat which require ES to provide flexibility. The key barriers have been the disaggregation of the UK electricity market, high cost and difficulty in monetizing the value of ES. Many of the interviewees agree that to drive the market for ES, the government support is needed for this initial phase.