Ecotricity logotype
/Our news/2024/Ecotricity Explains – What is battery storage?

Our news

Article tags
Article tags
  • Green energy
  • energy
  • news
Browse archives
Our news

Ecotricity Explains – What is battery storage?

Press enquiries

If you are a journalist with a media enquiry, please contact our Press Office by email at

For all other general enquiries, please call 01453 756 111 or email

21 Feb 2024

Founded in 1995, Ecotricity was the world’s first green energy company. Throughout our history we’ve been Britain’s green energy pioneers, and today still we stand apart from the rest as the country’s greenest energy company.

We’re constantly building and innovating, to do whatever it takes to end fossil fuels in Britain – using the money from our customers’ bills. Our work on biomethane is now making sustainable gas out of grass cuttings on an industrial scale, thanks to the country’s first truly green gasmill.

Getting to 100% renewables isn’t only about building more windmills, sun mills and gasmills. Our existing National Grid infrastructure is designed and built for fossil fuel power stations, and needs to be upgraded for the 21st century so that it can make full use of green energy.

That’s why we’re also building and innovating in the field of energy storage, a key factor in increasing the amount of renewable energy that the National Grid can handle.

Why do we need battery storage?

The National Grid needs to match energy production to consumption – every second – so that the electricity is balanced and to prevent voltage anomalies, overloading and drops in availability. With fuel-dependent power stations, more generation can be brought online quickly to match peaks in demand such as people cooking dinner in the early evening. This is harder with renewables, where the energy they create is more intermittent; for example, depending on the time of day and what the wind is doing. It’s not just that generation drops sometimes, there are also issues when green energy sources produce more electricity than the transmission lines can handle in a local area, meaning clean energy production has to be capped. To make the most of renewables, we need to smooth out the energy output so that we’re not wasting power – and we need to be able to supply extra electricity at the drop of a hat, to match any sudden increase in demand from homes and businesses. This is where battery storage comes in, capturing and storing green energy that isn’t needed at the time of generation and saving it until it’s called upon. It’s an important part of a modern National Grid and a network of grid-scale batteries is essential for Britain to end its reliance on fossil fuels.

How does battery storage work?

Battery energy storage systems are far bigger and far more advanced than the rechargeable batteries we use in our smartphones and laptops. Nonetheless, when it comes to the fundamentals, they’re very similar indeed. Power goes in, it’s stored in the battery, then flows out again when needed. Grid-scale batteries use energy management systems to coordinate energy storage with energy production, deciding when to increase the reserve or release energy to the National Grid. In this way, green energy generated at times of low consumption is stored for use when demand peaks. Up until now, these peaks have been filled in by firing up extra generation capacity in a fossil fuel. As more battery storage is installed to match continued increases in green generation, there will be less and less need for fossil power. Batteries can also react at a speed that no rotating mechanical machine can match – making them a really efficient answer to power and voltage needs.

alveston battery thumb
Ecotricity's first grid-scale battery storage project

Our first battery project is currently underway at Alveston in Gloucestershire, a 10 megawatt 24 MWh project. When it comes to size, grid-scale batteries are chunky beasts. A standard shipping container can hold a 1-3 megawatt battery (Alveston is in 6), and a 50 megawatt battery would need a site around the size of a quarter of a football pitch. However, compared to other grid-scale infrastructure, they don’t make too many demands in terms of space and they’re not intrusive – batteries are silent in operation. Innovations in energy storage are crucial in the fight against the climate crisis. But we don’t actually need to wait – today, we have proven technology that can generate and store enough green electricity to supply the entire country from renewables. All we have to do is get on and build the wind and sun parks, along with the batteries to help manage the flow of electricity.

Ecotricity is a not-for-dividend company and we use all our profits to fund the building of new green-energy projects. Thanks to our customers, we’re able to get a step closer to a green Britain every day.

To start making a difference with your energy bills switch to Ecotricity today!

Similar articles

Ecotricity Explains: Smart meters

Smart meters aren’t just good for helping you budget - they also have a key part to play in the path to net zero. Smart meters are free, so they’re a simple change you can make to green up your house.

Manifesto book with long shadow

Get the book!

Manifesto out now

Dale Vince portrait with bandana

Our founder Dale Vince shares his thoughts on the green revolution

Explore the site

Don’t just take our word for it…

Ecotricity is recommended by
Ethical Consumer Best Buy logo
  • Our story
  • Our mission
  • Our manifesto
  • 29 years of Ecotricity
  • Ecotricity innovation
  • Walking the talk
  • Our partners
  • Our news
Ecotricity logotype

Climate Clock

The Climate Clock is a version of the Doomsday clock that has been running since 1947 - this tracks the risk of global man-made disaster, through man made technology (like nuclear weapons) - displaying the minutes and seconds left before midnight, when disaster strikes. The climate crisis is a small part of the calculations made.
The climate clock uses a similar approach, but, focuses only on the climate crisis - which is the biggest and most urgent existential threat we face.
"The Climate Clock is a countdown to the biggest man-made disaster we face - but also a measure by which we can track our progress - moving from fossil to renewable energy. It shows we have no time to lose - the clock is ticking…" Dale Vince, OBE.