£30 million UK Government boost to renewable energy capture and storage

Businesses in Scotland and Nottingham are set to benefit from a share of £30 million of UK Government money. This will enable them to be at the forefront of designing and testing storage solutions for renewable energy.

The nature of renewables means that, on especially windy or sunny days, more electricity can be  generated than is needed. Energy-storage technology will capture these surpluses for later use, boosting energy security and supplying energy to consumers at a lower cost.

In the UK, flexibility from technologies such as electricity storage and smart charging of electric vehicles could save up to £10 billion 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 energy-storage technology will also mean that National Grid can balance the grid by activating storage systems instead of asking for some generating capacity to be switched off. This further reduces costs to the taxpayer.

The winning projects will go on to fully deploy and demonstrate their technologies.

Edinburgh-based Synchrostor will receive £9.4 million to build a Pumped Thermal Energy Storage (PTES) grid-connected demonstration plant. This will operate at 1MW, with the ability to charge and discharge for a period of 10 hours — longer than current battery technology.

Invinity Energy (UK) Ltd will receive £11 million to develop and manufacture its 7MW, 30MWh 4-hour Vanadium Flow Battery (VFB), the largest in the UK. Invinity will manufacture the VFB at a factory in West Lothian.

Nottingham’s Cheesecake Energy Ltd will receive £9.4 million to test its FlexiTanker technology. This stores electricity using a combination of thermal and compressed air energy storage, and a reversible air compression/expansion train to charge and discharge. Cheesecake will then install pilot units at two sites within a microgrid development in Colchester.

This announcement follows the November 2022 awarding of £32.8 million of funding to five UK energy-storage projects. This enabled them to create first-of-a-kind technology prototypes. A total of £69 million of funding has been awarded so far through the Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration competition, which is funded through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

It also follows the launch of the UK Government’s Powering Up Britain plan, showing how the UK will boost its energy security and independence, create green jobs and stay at the forefront of the transition to net zero.