Why batteries are critical to more record-breaking wind power

Record-breaking wind generation is fast becoming the norm in Great Britain as the electricity system evolves before our eyes, but more battery storage is needed to maximise its potential

At a fundamental level, wind generation presents three major challenges for the grid: 

  1. Intermittency: the wind doesn’t always blow when you need it to.
  2. Variability: wind patterns can change rapidly, over or under-delivering on forecasts.
  3. Stability: renewable power (including wind) is replacing traditional coal and  gas-fired plant that contribute inertia to the grid, helping to stabilise system frequency, (which keeps grid infrastructure safe and functioning).
Graph of GB wind generation during January 2023

Thankfully, batteries can help to address each of these challenges, and Habitat Energy’s portfolio of assets are showing how the future grid will operate today.

Throughout January 2023, Habitat Energy’s assets under management helped mitigate intermittency, variability and frequency deviation – often in the same day, and even within the same minute!

Here is an example asset working in conjunction with the windy conditions this winter:

Graph showing battery storage asset managed by Habitat Energy responding to windy conditions on GB grid during January 2023
  1. Our asset shifted surplus generation overnight, to the morning and evening peaks of demand where there is typically the greatest deficit of generation. 
  2. Our asset responded to changes in wind generation via Balancing Mechanism actions (helping NGESO to manage sudden changes in frequency, offering a more efficient solution than wind generation curtailment and ensuring zero carbon generation volume wasn’t lost).
  3. Our asset then delivered Firm Frequency Response, exporting and importing power based on frequency deviations to maintain grid stability.  

Our activity over this handful of days clearly demonstrates the flexibility of batteries to respond to changing conditions in real-time, and why these assets are critical to a net zero power system.

Indeed, analysis by the Climate Change Committee suggests that to operate a net zero power system by 2035, the UK will need in the region of 18GW of battery storage, up from approximately 2GW today, to help manage a near quadrupling of installed wind capacity to upwards of 80GW!

There’s no doubt that in the right hands, batteries are remarkable tools to support the UK grid and enable a greener future.