Solar power reliability in Britain boosted with batteries

Solar power in April passed a largely symbolic milestone by beating out coal on the nation's grid.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  April 24, 2017 at 6:28 AM
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April 24 (UPI) -- Batteries deployed at solar farms in Britain could add reliability to the renewable energy portfolio in the country, developers said.

Investment manager Ancala Partners and energy storage provider Anesco said their joint effort led to the completion of their first portfolio-scale deployment of batteries at 10 solar plants across Britain.

Solar power is an intermittent source of renewable energy and its expansion in the British grid means more reliability is necessary.

"Batteries offer a unique solution to the challenges of intermittent generation by storing and deploying electricity into the National Grid at the times it is required most" the collaborators announced.

The development comes about a week after the British grid reached a milestone when about 4 percent, or 29 gigawatt hours, of the nation's energy demand came from solar power, beating out coal by about 8 gigawatt hours. That's according to data compiled by researchers at the British energy policy group, Carbon Brief.

Coal power use in the British economy has been dwindling since 2012, but still accounts for about 10 percent of the total demand. Carbon Brief said the milestone for solar was laudable, but still relatively symbolic because of the decline for coal.

Momentum for solar power in Britain comes amid doubts about the British commitment to a low-carbon economy as London seeks to divorce itself from the European Union. A group of environmental advocacy groups, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, said they've seen evidence to suggest environmental safeguards could be watered down in order to improve British trade deals after the so-called Brexit.

Britain, under its Climate Change Act, committed to cutting emissions by 80 percent of the benchmark level from 1990 by 2050. The British Committee on Climate Change said in late 2016 that emissions were 38 percent below 1990 levels even as the economy grew by 60 percent.

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