Phil Thompson, CEO of Balance Power responds to the Winser report

In August 2023, Electricity Networks Commissioner Nick Winser investigated how to accelerate the deployment of electricity transmission infrastructure in the UK, an essential move to transporting renewable energy to homes and businesses across the country.

The report comes as record levels of electricity are produced by renewable energy sources without the infrastructure to store this power or transport it when or to where it is needed.

As a result, the UK fails to capitalise on the clean, green power available and consumers continue to bear the high costs associated with our prolonged of fossil fuels.

Here, Phil Thompson, CEO of Balance Power, responds to what is now known as the Winser report, and the Commissioner’s recommended actions, and reflects on what the UK needs to prioritise to reach net zero:

“Balance Power welcomes Winser’s recommendation to create a Strategic Spatial Energy Plan to map future energy supply and demand needs nationally. This would help the UK plan ahead and put the necessary infrastructure, such as new pylons and substations, in place ahead of time. These are significant projects which take time, and not having these ready has caused capacity constraints, grid connection delays and higher bills for consumers.

To ensure clean energy can reach homes and businesses, we need a fresh approach to managing the energy system. But it needs to consider the diverse technologies needed for the transition, and how to maximise their efficiencies. Currently, energy storage is heavily weighted towards 2hr duration projects, but our latest research found that 8h duration projects provide the best balance between flexible storage and minimising cost, time and scale of new upgrades. Taking this into account will be key to an effective Strategic Spatial Energy Plan."

For Balance Power, the Winser report affirms that the problem we now face is due to a historic lack of investment and planning for a net zero energy system, and we should all hope that Winser’s recommendations are acted on by the Secretary of State. In Thompson’s view, the key for developers now is reducing red tape and educating voters about the importance of net zero to help get this critical infrastructure up and running.

You can also find Phil Thompson’s insights on the Winser report in Solar Power Portal, Energy Storage News and Current ±.