The UK Government has awarded £30m for a series of innovative projects to develop new technologies for renewable energy storage and capture.
A number of cutting-edge businesses are set to benefit from a share of the funding to be at the forefront of designing and testing future renewable energy storage technology that will modernise our energy system and store renewables for later use.
The funding announced today will support these businesses in testing and preparing their technologies to be ready for the energy market, encouraging private investment and creating new jobs across the UK.
How can energy storage maximise the use of renewables?
Renewable energy is crucial for the UK’s transition to net zero, offering cheap, clean, domestically-produced energy. Moreover, maximising the potential of renewable sources will help lower energy costs and boost the UK’s energy security and independence.
However, the nature of renewables means that on windy, sunny days, more renewable electricity than is sometimes needed is generated, such as during extended periods of the sun shining or high winds. The new innovations in renewable energy storage will enable any excess to be soaked up for later use, therefore maximising the potential of renewable sources.
Flexibility from technologies such as electricity storage and the smart charging of electric vehicles could save up to £10bn per year by 2050 by reducing the amount of energy and network needed to create a secure, home-grown energy system. Accelerating the uptake of renewable energy storage technology will also mean the National Grid can balance the grid by activating storage systems rather than asking certain power generation technologies to switch off, further reducing costs to the taxpayer.
Which businesses will receive the funding?
Graham Stuart, Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero, commented: “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.”
He added: “Today we’re backing three UK businesses to make their renewable energy storage projects a reality, which will go on to play a role in our country’s energy security.”
The winning projects, which will now progress to being fully deployed and demonstrated, are:
- Synchrostor, Cumbernauld, Scotland, will receive £9.4m to build a Pumped Thermal Energy Storage (PTES) grid-connected demonstration plant operating at 1 MW, with the ability to charge and discharge for a period of ten hours, longer than the current battery technology;
- Invinity Energy (UK) Limited, Scotland, will receive £11m to develop and manufacture their 7 MW, 30MWh four-hour Vanadium Flow Battery (VFB), the largest in the UK. Invinity will manufacture the 30 MWh VFB at the Company’s factory in West Lothian, Scotland; and
- Cheesecake Energy Ltd, Nottingham, will receive £9.4m to test their FlexiTanker technology which stores electricity using a combination of thermal and compressed air energy storage and uses a reversible air compression/expansion train to charge and discharge. They will then install pilot units at two sites within a microgrid development in Colchester.
Levelling up renewable energy storage
This announcement follows the £32.8m funding awarded to five UK energy storage projects nationwide in November 2022 to create first-of-a-kind prototypes of their technology. A total of £69m of funding has been awarded so far through this programme, helping to drive innovative technologies such as renewable energy storage.
Moreover, today’s announcement follows the launch of the Government’s ‘Powering up Britain’ plan, which showcases how the UK will boost the country’s energy security and independence, create green British jobs, and stay at the forefront of the transition to net zero.