Shoosmiths' key takeaways from the Energy Storage Summit 2024

This February saw the largest Energy Storage Summit in the UK so far, as over 1500 delegates, exhibitors and speakers converged on West London to discuss the key issues in storage, both in the UK and overseas. Chris Pritchett, energy and infrastructure partner has been a prominent figure in Energy Storage since 2015 and was asked to chair day two of the conference.

Our key takeaways from the summit

As ever, it was impossible to get away from two key truths; firstly, that battery revenues have suffered over the past year or so, largely owing to perceived saturation in the services markets, and structural issues with the way the Balancing Mechanism (BM) operates preventing batteries taking what the industry perceives as its fair share of BM revenues. Secondly, the spectre of the difficulties in securing grid connections continues to loom large over the industry, an issue not confined to batteries, but affecting renewables, EV, commercial and residential development, data centres and so on. In both cases there are signs of progress, but certainly in the case of grid, probably not far or fast enough.  


The launch of the Open Balancing Platform in December last year has started to indicate positive signs for battery revenues, but more generally, a return to what might be looked at as a more moderate form of market access product (caps and floor prices, availability payments, tolling in some jurisdictions), focussing on bankability and medium to longer term revenue might well be on the cards. 

Grid Connection

Here, there was some impact of modest improvements to the six hundred plus gigawatts queue to connect, but incremental only when compared to the volume of new applications received month on month.  There also seem to be examples of connections dates for storage projects being brought forward but only to be hampered with one hundred percent export curtailment, rendering the whole concept of earlier connection useless. With some work to do, albeit that milestone requirements on securing land rights are expected to bite as this year progresses, and we expect a flurry of activity to either get lease options in place or projects sold on before the connection reforms bite on the value of those “zombie” projects that seem to have little hope of being progressed in time.  

One panel came out quite clearly in favour of applicants for grid connections requiring evidence of having secured land rights before accepting connection offers, and this seems like a balance between there being no barriers at all and for those barriers to be arguably set too high (such as in Ireland, where planning must be in place before a grid offer is accepted).  We also heard of one major player brewing major litigation to protect its pipeline of connection offers, signalling interesting times ahead.

Ongoing Schemes

Whilst the industry is grappling with those issues and working its way to an industry position on fire safety guidance, environmental permitting and so on, there are interesting developments in Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES), with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) proposing a cap and floor scheme to incentivise the deployment of LDES projects. This scheme will support projects with more than a six-hour duration (and above fifty megawatts capacity) but specifically excludes lithium-ion technology, prompting one of the more interesting ongoing debates.  It’s therefore particularly interesting working with the Electricity Storage Network on its consultation response to address these issues. 


We also heard a keynote address from the Commissioner for National Infrastructure, Nick Winser, author of the well-publicised report on accelerating Transmission Infrastructure. His perspective was invaluable, perhaps leaning towards gas and hydrogen storage as underpinning the need for a strategic reserve rather than system flex, but also highlighting that resource in the planning system was a crucial consideration and potential inhibitor at present. 


The Summit demonstrated that, perhaps more so than in other forms of energy development, storage is a truly international play, with a majority of developers working on projects in multiple jurisdictions across Europe (Italy, Germany and Poland), the US (Texas in particular) and many more. 

So, collectively the industry appears to in good health, perhaps on a maturation journey to adapt to the challenges presented by revenues and grid, but ready to enable the energy transition to roll even faster.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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