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Electricity Storage

Volume 605: debated on Thursday 11 February 2016

Energy storage was identified in 2012 as one of the eight great technologies where the UK can lead the world, and I can tell the hon. Gentleman that I am a very keen supporter. More than £80 million of public sector support has been committed to UK energy storage research and development since 2012. We now are looking at what more we can do to improve the incentives for electricity storage in particular. We will be publishing a call for evidence soon. I do hope he will put his thoughts into that call for evidence.

I thank the Minister for her answer, but may I be a bit more specific? As a spin-off from developing battery-driven cars, domestic battery storage is now becoming practicable and commercially viable, and indeed in America it is now taking off. What are the Government specifically doing to promote the adoption of domestic battery storage in homes?

As I say, we will shortly issue a call for evidence on energy storage at grid level—at battery generation level—to try to ensure that we give as much scope and capacity to energy storage in the system. At domestic level, people are starting to look at those systems and, as part of the improvement of house-building performance, builders are required to look at other opportunities such as battery storage, solar panels and the like. There will be more work on that, but, as the hon. Gentleman will appreciate, it is still at a fairly early stage as things stand.

The energy storage industry sees 2016 as a breakthrough year, with many emerging technologies coming into the mainstream. Will the Minister concede that current subsidy cuts to renewables are lacking the foresight needed if we are to promote a genuinely green future in this truly innovative industry?

I certainly would not. Since 2010, £52 billion has been invested in renewables. The pipeline is still enormous. There are lots of new projects that will be coming to the fore over the next five to 10 years. It is simply not true to say that support for renewables is in any sense dropping off a cliff. The advantage of energy storage will be to deal with the intermittency of renewables, so it should be a win-win for the UK.