How can we store energy for a calm and cloudy day?

Could energy storage solve the problem of intermittent generation from renewables? Industry insiders speak out

In 2012, when wind supplied just 5% of our total electricity supply, British taxpayers paid wind turbine operators £34m in compensation when they were ordered to turn off their turbines because parts of the grid were congested and in danger of becoming overloaded with energy.

This problem isn’t new; we’ve been making similar payments to conventional energy companies for years. It’s a symptom of the national grid being out of sync with where power is being generated and used. Sometimes demand or supply peaks in one part of the country and drops in another. A warm spell in Manchester means a gas plant is turned down to avoid overloading the grid – and the generator is compensated. A windy spell in Scotland will have the same effect.

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