Image: Anesco

Regulation and policy decisions are the biggest barriers to UK energy storage and are in need of significant changes, says industry experts.

Speaking at an industry event organised by trade association Regen, industry members called for greater regulatory leadership and bolder policy decisions to be made, claiming them to be the largest roadblocks to UK storage.

David Sykes, head of data science at Octopus Energy said that whilst the technology is ready, “it’s really policy and regulation that’s a blocker” especially in relation to residential storage.

The recent government proposal to increase VAT on storage from 5% to 20% has been widely criticised by the industry, with the Renewable Energy Association at the time claiming it could set decarbonisation back by “a number of years”.

Similarly, Ofgem’s Targeted Charging Review (TCR) has been criticised by the industry for the negative impact it could have on flexible assets such as storage.

Now, the storage industry is calling for more to be done for policy regulation, with Felicity Jones, partner at Everoze, saying that for domestic and C&I storage projects it’s “a question of fundamental reform” of policy and regulation, although grid-scale storage would only need adjustments.

Similarly, Madeleine Greenhalgh, policy lead at the Electricity Storage Network said: “In the context of broad decarbonisation and social change . . . we can’t just be thinking about incremental change.”

Will Broad, interim deputy director of electricity systems at BEIS, said the department acknowledges there needs to be a “big change” but that the unintended knock-on consequences to other parts of the system are “what worries us when looking at something big”.

Sykes suggested that “dynamic, strong and granular” price signals should be introduced to incentivise flexibility and ancillary markets should be simplified and distributed assets given greater access.

The general consensus was that the government should follow the Committee on Climate Change’s net zero recommendations and the 2050 target for net zero emissions should be put into legislation. However, Catalina Rozo, regulatory analyst at Zenobe Energy said that campaigning for new policy and regulation “is a constant fight”.