UK's National Grid has published proposals (Tuesday 13 June) to reform the Balancing Services market in the UK that would enable the rapid uptake of energy storage and other flexibility technologies, according to Renewable Energy Association.

The report ”System Needs and Product Strategy” is a consultation seeking industry views and acknowledges the need to change from business as usual to account for rapid improvements in renewable energy and clean technologies.

A 2016 report by the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission estimated that increasing energy storage, demand side response, and interconnectivity can save consumers over £8bn a year by 2030.

Energy storage and other forms of flexibility are seen as important in allowing for greater integration of renewable electricity into the energy mix.

The proposals would simplify the current system of incentives. These proposals include examining a new frequency response product which for the first time puts a value on inertia (an essential element of running the grid), new reactive power products and the acknowledgement there are too many ‘products’ at present, which will be rationalised and then standardised.

Commenting on the release of the consultation Frank Gordon, Policy Manager at the Renewable Energy Association commented:

“Our members will welcome the move to simplify what is currently a complex hodgepodge of incentives built up over many years. These National Grid proposals will increase transparency in the balancing services market, which is one of the markets identified as critical if we are to upgrade our energy system so it is cheaper, less polluting, and more flexible.

“These technical system ‘products’ don’t seem revolutionary or sexy but their reform is a business-critical activity if we are to accommodate new flexibility, electric vehicle, and energy storage technologies. This document is recognition by National Grid that we are undergoing a paradigm shift and that existing regulatory structures need to adapt, which will in turn create market access for further innovators.

“New Ministers in Westminster should take notice as there are a range of Government regulations that are also in need of reform.”