One thing we have learnt this week- the tale of two types of electricity storage

5240237605_a2ce66a6e0_bThis work two stories on  electricity storage have made the news (or parts of it).  The first was that of diesel “farms”.  (Have you noticed everything is a farm nowadays, solar wind etc).  Diesel “farms” are so unlike a conventional farm, although on second thoughts…  Diesel “farms” are a boom area in the UK with the closing of so many conventional power stations and a risk of the “lights going out”.  They are controversial for two reasons.  The first is that of money.  Diesel “farms” are a licence to print money for their operators, profits could be as high as £500 over the next few years.  They are paid for being on standby so this money is not necessarily for when they operate, being paid for being on standby.

The second area of controversy is about the people who have to live near them and have started to kick up a fuss.  Of course diesel engine pollution is kicking up a big stink (no pun intended) at the moment due to urban particulate pollution.  It turns out this is not the only problem with diesel farms.  The other is noise pollution.  Unlike wind farms and solar farms diesel farms are in or close to urban areas in old factories etc.

However another form of electricity storage is being encouraged by National grid.  That is battery storage.  This has made it into the capacity market in the UK for the first time this week.  Suggestions are that GW’s of capacity are in the offing.  If so this will make the case for new nuclear even harder.  There are those that say that pollution from lithium batteries are displaced to the point of production.  Its true that all energy causes pollution, but that makes it still more important to use less of it.  This argument also ignores the fact that diesal farms have to made as well.  We voiced concerns over lithium in our book but I know which system I would rather have next door.

 

Neil

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