In 2014 Sustaining Dunbar, along with Community Energy Scotland, formed a local consortium to explore innovative solutions to local energy issues.
With over 100 wind turbines installed in the Dunbar area (and more planned), high levels of wind generation have taken up all the capacity at many grid supply points. Overcapacity means that readily available renewable electricity supplies have to be curtailed.
Energy storage would help resolve this problem. One of the more promising and versatile technologies is hydrogen storage.
Sustaining Dunbar appointed Element Energy to assess the technical and economic feasibility of installing and operating a storage facility in the Dunbar area.
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- to expand the potential to meet local energy needs from local resources;
- facilitate deployment of renewable generators / reduce dependence on fossil fuels (e.g. heating oil);
- explore the potential for a community stake in energy storage.
The research found that equipment costs are currently fairly high, hence a positive economic case requires running at full load year round, which is not compatible with the demand-side response solution being investigated. Promising commercial opportunities for hydrogen-based energy storage systems are most likely to occur in communities with high (imported) fuel costs, severe network constraints (and very low cost electricity), and direct access to power so that network charges are avoided. Currently an economic case can be made only for the highest value uses or where the capital expenditure is written off (or grant aided) or alternative revenue streams found.
Sustaining Dunbar wishes to acknowledge the support of Local Energy Scotland via its Infrastructure & Innovation FundRead the Final Report