Government funnels £30m into innovative energy storage projects

The Government has unveiled the projects that will receive a share of £30m to modernise the energy system through innovative energy storage systems that will help store renewable energy for later use.

Government funnels £30m into innovative energy storage projects

The funding will be used to test and trial solutions

The Government has confirmed that projects across the UK will receive multi-million-pound support to test and deploy energy storage solutions.

Up to £30m will be shared by recipients to help grow the energy storage market and overcome the challenges of intermittent renewables generation.

Energy storage is regarded as key to the energy transition, as it helps maintain energy security as more intermittent renewable generation comes online and as electricity demand increases. It also limits the need for expensive upgrades to the network.

The funding announced today will support businesses testing and preparing technologies to be ready for the energy market.

Companies receiving support include Synchrostor, in Cumbernauld, Scotland, which will receive £9.4m to build a Pumped Thermal Energy Storage (PTES) grid-connected demonstration plant operating at 1MW. The project has the ability to charge and discharge for a period of 10 hours.

Additionally, Invinity Energy has been awarded £11m to develop a 7MW, 30MWh 4-hour Vanadium Flow Battery (VFB), the largest in the UK, to be located in Scotland. More than £9m will be given to Cheesecake Energy to test a “FlexiTanker” solution that stores electricity using a combination of thermal and compressed air energy storage. The project also uses a reversible air compression and expansion system to charge and discharge.

Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero Graham Stuart said: “Storing energy for longer periods is vital to build a robust and secure energy system and ensure that renewable energy is used efficiently. Fortunately, the UK has a wealth of pioneering businesses that are making their mark on this industry.

“Today we’re backing three UK businesses to make their projects a reality, which will go on to play a role in our country’s energy security.”

Flexibility focus

The Government claims that flexibility technologies, including storage and smart charging of electric vehicles, could reduce the amount of energy demand on the network to the tune of £10bn annually by 2050.

Figures published by RenewableUK in April last year confirmed that the UK’s energy storage pipeline had surpassed 32GW for the first time, doubling year-on-year. A doubling of the pipeline year-on-year was partly attributed by RenewableUK to a decision to relax planning rules, first announced in summer 2020 and enacted in December 2020.

The change enabled local planning authorities to make decisions on larger projects, lifting the previous 50MW cap for England and the previous 250MW cap for Wales, after which point Government intervention was previously needed.

Last year, the Government reiterated its commitment to “ensure” adequate scaling up of the nation’s long-duration energy storage by 2024.

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