UK Government boosts renewable energy storage technologies

2 mins read

The UK Government has awarded almost £7m to UK projects that are developing innovative energy storage technologies, in the first round of Government-backed competition.

Due to the intermittent nature of renewables, like solar and wind power, there is a need to be able to store energy in order to better manage electricity generation variations and increase resilience, while also maximising value for money.

24 projects based across the UK have been awarded the first round of funding through the ‘Longer Duration Energy Storage competition’, which is worth £68m in total.

These projects will benefit from a share of over £6.7m to develop new energy storage technologies that can utilise stored energy as heat, electricity or as a low-carbon energy carrier like hydrogen. Ranging from the development of thermal batteries to converting energy to hydrogen, they have been selected because of their potential to improve technology performance and reduce the cost of meeting net zero.

Successful projects could benefit from a greater tranche of funding from a second phase of the competition, which will support these projects towards commercialisation, encouraging private investment and creating new jobs.

Commenting Energy & Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said, “Driving forward energy storage technologies will be vital in our transition towards cheap, clean and secure renewable energy.

“It will allow us to extract the full benefit from our home-grown renewable energy sources, drive down costs and end our reliance on volatile and expensive fossil fuels. Through this competition we are making sure the country’s most innovative scientists and thinkers have our backing to make this ambition a reality.”

The funding awarded comes under Phase 1 of the Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration competition (LODES), part of the government’s £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. Phase 1 will be followed by Phase 2, which will see the remainder of the £68m funding awarded to several of the most promising Phase 1 projects, to proceed to build and demonstrate their technology fully.

Selecting projects for the next stage will take place upon the completion of Phase 1, when projects will be assessed based on their potential to commercialise their technologies.    

The energy storage projects receiving funding include:

Sunamp’s EXTEND project, East Lothian, Scotland – will receive £149,893 for a feasibility study to further develop the storage duration of their thermal batteries. They will look to pair their heat batteries with household energy systems to tackle periods of low renewables generation on the grid.

Cheesecake Energy’s FlexiTanker project, Nottingham, England – will receive £139,411 to develop their thermal and compressed air energy storage technology to integrate more renewables into the grid, helping to fast-track the decarbonisation of the UK electricity system.

B9 Energy Storage’s Ballylumford Power-to-X project, Larne, Northern Ireland – will receive £986,082 to mobilise an innovative 20MW Power-to-X project at Ballylumford. Green hydrogen produced by electrolysers will be stored in underground salt caverns and used for transport and to displace natural gas in fuel blending trials. This project paves the way for future large-scale deployments connected to offshore windfarms.

The funding is seen as a key step towards supporting the development and commercialisation of innovative energy storage technologies and will help to support the UK’s transition to relying on renewables, while also encouraging private investment and new green jobs.