There can be no net zero without energy storage, CEO tells Glasgow conference

Mark Wilson is CEO of Intelligent Land Investments, a firm focused on pumped storage hydro and utility-scale battery storage.

Mark Wilson, CEO of Intelligent Land Investments, told a conference of the British Hydropower Association in Glasgow on 24 November that while the current energy crisis offers “a great opportunity for renewables”, long-term energy storage will also be required to fulfil that potential.

Mr Wilson’s company aims to develop 2.5GW of Pump Storage Hydro in Scotland and holds planning consent for the first of three projects, Red John on Loch Ness-side.  ILI has also built a portfolio of battery storage sites, mainly in Scotland, which can contribute a further 2GW utility scale projects with green hydrogen to follow.

He said the market recognises the inevitability of energy storage as part of a transition to renewables, mainly wind and solar which are intermittent. “We are inundated with investor interest from at home and abroad both for Pumped Storage Hydro and our battery sites. 

“However, the policy makers have to keep up. National Grid have said that the UK will need 50GW of storage by 2050 but where is it going to come from?  Our company’s potential contribution is already pretty significant and we are one of the UK’s leaders but there is plenty room in the market for others”.

Mr Wilson pointed out that 95 per cent of the world’s long duration storage comes from Pumped Storage Hydro and added: “We have a hydro history in Scotland. Unlike other renewables aspirations, we can promise to deliver large numbers of well-paid jobs in construction.

“I frankly do not understand why governments have been so slow to recognise that it is largely meaningless to talk about transitioning to intermittent renewables without also prioritising the inescapable corollary, which is storage.

“Quite simply, without storage we will not reach our net zero targets.”.