SmartestEnergy are the UK company who have tracked independent producers for the past 4 years. The traditional power station suppliers now compete with over 1000 commercial but independent renewable plants who produce 40% of renewable energy. Robert Groves, the CEO of SmartestEnergy, quips”By contrast, the energy entrepreneurs are small, nimble and innovative. They have attracted a global pool of capital to invest in Britains renewable capacity and are taking advantage of technologies like wind and solar which are rapidly coming down the cost curve. They are starting to invest in battery storage which will play a key role in our future energy system and offers exciting new business opportunities”
That quote on battery storage is perhaps the most significant. Solar capacity grew by 83% in 2015 with onshore wind slowing (only a 7% increase in capacity, compared to a large rise the previous year.) This contrasts with a downturn in 2012 as the FIT programme for homeowners began to be dismantled by unsympathetic government ministers.
Electricity prices fell more than 20%, reducing the value by 4%, leaving the independents with innovation as their saving grace. 3 key innovations have been identified, but with battery prices down by 20-30%, a service called Demand Response has increased the utility of battery use. The service reduces peak demand and the need for new infrastructure, giving independents the chance to provide services when their capacity is reduced. It gives back-up power necessary for solar and wind installations, especially when Europes “biggest battery” at 6MW occupies the area of several tennis courts in Leighton Buzzard (Bedfordshire.). Oh, for more miniaturisation.