LONDON Feb 21 Britain needs a more flexible
electricity system if it is to make intermittent renewable
sources as wind and solar cost-effective, an independent
research report said on Tuesday, as the government tries to hit
The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) reports comes as the
government is under pressure to act on rising energy costs after
three of Britain's "Big Six" suppliers announced price rises
over the last few months.
Britain has a legally binding target to cut emissions of
harmful greenhouse gases by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050,
and hopes to achieve this partly by increasing its renewable
generation and closing coal-fired power plants.
"Without investing in greater flexibility you could end up
with a system where (renewable) integration costs are almost as
much as generation costs," Robert Gross, one of the report's
authors and UKERC Co-Director, said during a media briefing.
If the country generated 50 percent of its electricity from
intermittent renewables, the costs associated with connecting
them to power grid and providing back up power when they do not
run, would range between 15 and 45 pounds ($19-56) per megawatt
hour (MWh), the report said.
For the cheapest figure to be realized the country would
need to develop a flexible electricity system, using tools such
as more power links with other countries and battery storage to
better manage supply and demand, it said.
The cost of renewable electricity generation has fallen
rapidly over the past few years, with offshore wind costs below
100 pounds/MWh and expected to continue falling.
As much as 20 percent of Britain's electricity can be
generated by wind farms at present.
($1 = 0.8019 pounds)
(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Alexander Smith)