Alex Hunter, CEO of renewable energy storage company Sherwood Power, is calling on Government to commit to addressing the long-term issues affecting the UK energy sector.
Hunter said: “To overcome the current energy crisis and ensure the UK has access to the energy it needs in the future requires long-term thinking from Government. The Infrastructure Commission has already said that £100bn spending is needed on infrastructure by 2025; while it is good to hear that the government is still committed to investing £700m into the Sizewell C plant, significant further investment is needed that is focused on improving flexibility, particularly at the grid edge.
“The challenge with replacing baseload power with renewable sources (like solar or wind) is that they provide a variable supply of electricity. This means that businesses are still unable to access power at peak times. To ensure resilience in the marketplace, the Government needs to really get behind flexibility within the energy sector - so that supply can meet demand. By introducing flexibility in the grid, we improve energy security, meaning we can rely on our own system rather than energy imports; economically, this means we would be insulated from world market price increases.
“I’d like to see the Chancellor committing to making the UK a competitive low-carbon industry. This can be achieved by investing significantly in our national electricity infrastructure to ensure that any energy generated can be accessed when and where it is needed - and is affordable. Electricity in the UK is currently the most expensive in Europe, which puts domestic businesses at a significant disadvantage.
“I’d also like to see the Autumn Statement addressing the need for risk capital in the energy market to ensure that companies with renewable energy solutions are able to develop and deploy them. Government should also consider introducing new initiatives that make it easier for commercial customers to access flexible tariffs. While we have already seen trials where industrial users are paid to use energy outside of peak times, these need to be significantly expanded to make a difference. There are currently very few commercial tariffs which reward users for flexibility.
“Solving the current challenges in the energy sector doesn’t simply help consumers and businesses by reducing energy costs. It also helps the UK to meet government productivity targets and (by focusing on investments that make renewable energy more resilient) will support the country’s net zero ambitions.”
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About Alex Hunter, CEO of Sherwood Power:
Alex Hunter is the CEO of renewable energy storage company Sherwood Power.
With a background in engineering, Hunter began working with compressed air in the early 1990s. In the early 2000s, his focus shifted to the renewable energy sector, where he began exploring how compressed air could be used as an energy storage mechanism. In 2016, Hunter founded Sherwood Power to develop a novel renewable energy storage solution that converts renewable energy to compressed gas, allowing it to be stored and released on demand. He has gone on to work with a number of high-profile industrial clients and on government-backed pilot projects within the renewable energy field.
About Sherwood Power’s solution:
The Free Air Battery stores excess low-cost renewable electricity to release at peak times, reducing consumer demand and cost. The customer gets less expensive electricity, mitigates future price rises, reduces supply risk and helps balance the grid. Find out more in this video.
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