The Viability of All Renewable Grids with Battery Storage Support

12 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2018

Date Written: April 5, 2018


This paper quantifies the practical deliverability of the strategic engineering options proposed to power a future national grid, when fossil fuel use for generation, heating and transport is reducing to zero. The main contenders are the naturally variable renewables with their essential storage for times of low output, and an all base-load nuclear grid, including load balancing use for off-peak surpluses. The measures used are the objectives of government policy - most affordable, adequate, sustainable, with lowest CO2 emissions per unit energy of grid supply, including the effects of subsidies awarded to the available options. The results clearly demonstrate that low-density renewable energy is an inadequate primary energy source to meet UK grid demand. In particular when the true cost of renewable intermittency is considered, in terms of provisioning essential battery backup, or other low-density storage, that naturally variable renewables require to match demand 24/7 without fossil backup. Finally how the approximate cost of 4 years of battery support for an all renewable grid, at today's demand level, would fund a surplus of nuclear plant adequate to power the UK grid at triple today's supply for 60 years, using fuel that is sustainable for the foreseeable future.

Keywords: renewable, nuclear, fossil, energy, storage, pumped, battery

Suggested Citation

Catt, Brian, The Viability of All Renewable Grids with Battery Storage Support (April 5, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Brian Catt (Contact Author)

Eurochannel ( email )

United Kingdom

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