The UK government should consider targeted support for small-scale battery storage if it wants households to participate in a smarter, lower carbon energy system, according to Brian Davis, vice president, Energy Solutions at Shell International.

Shell New Energies acquired German battery storage firm Sonnen in February. The company has deployed hundreds of megawatts of storage into households and small businesses in its home market, where domestic storage penetration, roughly 600MW, is greater than industrial storage (around 380MW, according to Bloomberg).

Sonnen and others use domestic battery to help balance the German grid. While there are companies in the UK providing grid balancing services via domestic batteries, the market is small in comparison.

Tanjent's PowerBanx X battery storage, in pale grey enclosure (Image: Tanjent)

Tanjent’s PowerBanx X battery storage, in pale grey enclosure (Image: Tanjent)

Speaking at Aurora’s Summer Renewables Summit, Davis said storage, both short-term and seasonal, “is critical to get the system to balance” in a decarbonised power system.

Yet while renewable generation creates an “increasingly intermittent supply picture, the demand picture is becoming increasingly controllable,” said Davis. Technologies such as electric vehicles, heat pumps and batteries “all internet connected” can help “balance what can’t be controlled on supply”.

Asked if there was a policy impediment to unleashing storage, Davis replied “some form of focused subsidy” for domestic batteries would help provide that flexibility faster and deliver lasting benefits.

“Our batteries last 10,000 cycles, they are a long-term asset,” said Davis. “They can be aggregated to provide grid resource and services over what a household needs.”

Read more: The Energyst