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We’ve been talking over the past few months with a large number of key and emerging players in the UK’s energy storage industry.

With our show Solar Energy UK coming up next week, we thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you the thoughts of two of those players on the relationship between renewables and energy storage.

Helping the distribution network operators to love solar

Both come from different angles, but I think you will find what they have to say really interesting. Smart Power Systems analyse, design and commission electrical power systems, working with both public networks overseen by DNOs, and private networks for commercial and industrial users. The company’s chief, Dr Ian Chilvers, spoke to us about the relationship between the network, renewables and energy storage.

Dr Chilvers explains the difference between private and public networks, how DNOs and renewables developers can mutually benefit each other. Storage could help ease congesting and other issues on the grid, and according to Chilvers a "close relationship between the developer and the DNO will become more and more important in future".

A Gigafactory for the UK?

Meanwhile, Cumulus Energy Storage is a manufacturer of its own proprietary battery technology. With offices in the US and a manufacturing facility in Sheffield, the company is seeking to address many of the challenges for both renewables and wider electricity network issues and has plans to take its UK manufacturing to gigawatt scale. Nick Kitchin from Cumulus talks to us about the battery, its applications, and his views on what energy storage and renewables can achieve together.

Nick talks about using a 200-year old battery technology and taking low cost processes from the mining industry to create a "rechargeable copper-zinc battery" and also discusses what addressable markets already exist for energy storage companies to go after in the UK and abroad. We also talked about a strategies for building a profitable, long-term future for energy storage that both integrates renewables and solves network problems.

Tags: solar-plus-storage, distributed generation, battery, renewables integration, grid stabilising, power generation, self-consumption, frequency regulation, lithium ion, battery tech, cumulus energy storage, smart power systems