Energy crisis worsens as UK wastes ‘billions’ on energy: ‘It will only increase’ | Science | News

Energy crisis has taken UK to ‘foothills of recession’, says expert

Britain is currently grappling with the effects of a global fossil fuel crisis, as the cost of wholesale gas soars, causing household electricity and gas bills to reach record levels. In April, Ofgem raised the price cap on millions of household energy bills by 54% to £1,971 a year. As Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government takes major steps to end the energy crisis, with a strong focus on local renewables, experts say the country lacks critical infrastructure that forces the national grid to pay wind farms to stop producing electricity at certain times. periods of the day.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Andy Willis, CEO of Kona Energy, warned the UK was wasting a golden opportunity at a time when household energy bills had reached record highs.

Kona Energy is a British company that focuses on the development of grid-scale battery energy storage projects.

Mr Willis explained that while the UK is progressing quite strongly in the development of renewables like offshore wind, “a lot of that wind, onshore and offshore, is connected to places quite far off the grid where there’s a lot of wind”.

These are normally places on the far reaches of the country where there are stronger winds.

Mr Willis said: “These locations are not that close to the main demand centers where all the electricity is actually consumed, like for example London or Birmingham.

Energy crisis worsens as UK wastes ‘billions’ of energy: ‘Will only get higher’ (Image: GETTY)

Wind farms located at the edge of the country where there are higher wind speeds

Wind farms are located at the edges of the country where there are higher wind speeds (Image: Getty)

“What happens is the power is generated in those places and then it’s transported through the national grid cables to those demand centers like London or Manchester.

“Although there has been a huge construction of wind projects, what happens is that during the hours of the day when it is extremely windy, the national grid cannot really absorb this volume of energy.”

The energy expert added that at present Britain does not have the capacity to transport or store large amounts of energy.

This means that on very windy days, “these wind farms must be turned off because the grid cannot accommodate the volume of energy”.

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The share of renewable energies is steadily declining

The cost of renewable energy continues to fall (Picture: Express)

Mr Willis claimed that the reason these wind farms are being paid for not producing electricity is market driven

He continued, “A lot of these existing wind assets are subsidized, which means they will get a fixed price for every MWh of power they produce.

“It is determined by the national grid or the government based on the contracts, which means whatever day they are paid the same price to produce that unit of energy.

“Sometimes when wind farms need to be turned off, they tell the National Grid, look guys, we built our wind farm in a windy place. It is your fault if you did not install the network to transfer our energy from A to B’.

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The Energy Price Cap Timeline

The Energy Price Cap Timeline (Picture: Express)

“So you still have to pay them the same subsidy price even if they don’t use that energy – that’s what contributes to those very high constraint costs.”

According to a recent tweet from Kona Energy, on May 12 the National Grid paid £6,124,104 to power generators like wind farms to reduce their power output and to expensive power stations to replace that limited power elsewhere. .

Mr Willis added: “We are currently looking at around £1 billion a year to switch off wind farms across the UK, and that will only increase.

“I think by around 2025 we’re looking at around £2.5billion a year, which is obviously quite a phenomenal amount of money and ultimately clean energy that’s also wasted.

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At present, Britain does not have the capacity to store large amounts of energy

At present, Britain does not have the capacity to store large amounts of energy (Image: CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

“The government has made many general comments about how batteries can manage and increase the efficiency of the system, but they have not put in place any concrete policies for batteries to manage these constraints.

“That’s why the cost will only continue to increase. “

Mr Willis noted that despite all the major political announcements highlighted in the government’s energy security strategy, “they have given no indication of how we are going to get there, so there are a lot of political announcements grandiose classics with nothing to back them up.”

He added that the long-term solution to this crisis is to quickly build critical infrastructure like pylons that connect areas far from the grid to areas with high demand, such as London.

However, these systems are expensive and often take years to plan and build.

He said: “What we are trying to do at Kona Energy is basically to develop large-scale battery storage facilities at very strategic points on the grid.

“When there’s excess renewable energy generation, rather than wasting that energy, we can actually charge those batteries and store that energy.

“Then we’ll return it to the national grid when it needs it, when power generation drops later today, to help balance the system in a clean and cost-effective way.”

A National Grid ESO spokesperson said: “Britain has one of the most reliable and fastest carbon-free electricity systems in the world.

“This is due to significant investment in upgrading the UK electricity system, including the deployment of large-scale renewables.

“And, this investment means we are now able to explore new ways to tap into the electricity market to further strengthen reliability, increase choice and reduce costs.

“We welcome any initiatives that can help further strengthen the power system, including the development of battery technology.

“In the meantime, we are using capacity constraint payments to manage generation and ensure reliability across the network.

“We are constantly analyzing these costs and ensuring they are cost effective for bill payers, while working with industry and government to develop a safe, low cost and sustainable electricity system.”

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