Government funding awarded to innovative projects that will capture and store renewable energy for later use.

£30 million boost for new renewable energy storage technologies
  • UK projects awarded £30 million government funding to develop new technologies to capture and store energy for longer
  • storing energy will be crucial as the UK transitions towards cheap, clean, domestically-produced renewable energy
  • maximising the potential of renewables will help lower energy costs and boost the UK’s energy security and independence

Cutting edge businesses, in locations including Scotland and Nottingham, are set to benefit from a share of £30 million to be at the forefront of designing and testing innovative technology of the future that will modernise our energy system and store renewable energy for later use.

Capturing and storing energy for use when and where it is needed will play an essential role in powering more of Britain from Britain and increasing the country’s energy security. The funding announced today will support these businesses testing and preparing their technologies to be ready for the energy market, encouraging private investment and creating new jobs across the UK.

The nature of renewables means that on windy, sunny days sometimes more renewable electricity is generated than is needed, such as during extended periods of the sun shining or high winds. Energy storage technology will soak up this excess energy for later use, maximising the use of renewable energy, all while boosting energy security and supplying energy to consumers at a lower cost.

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 National Grid can balance the grid by activating storage systems instead of asking certain power generation technologies to switch off, further reducing costs to the taxpayer.

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.

The winning projects will now go on to fully deploy and demonstrate their technology; they are:

  • Synchrostor, Cumbernauld, Scotland, which will receive £9.4 million to build a Pumped Thermal Energy Storage (PTES) grid-connected demonstration plant operating at 1MW, with the ability to charge and discharge for a period of 10 hours, longer than current battery technology
  • Invinity Energy (UK) Limited, Scotland, which will receive £11 million to develop and manufacture their 7MW, 30MWh 4-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. The location of the plant will be confirmed in due course; and
  • Cheesecake Energy Ltd, Nottingham, which will receive £9.4 million 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.

This announcement follows the £32.8 million funding awarded to five UK energy storage projects across the country in November 2022 to create first-of-a-kind prototypes of their technology. A total of £69 million of funding has been awarded so far through this programme, helping to drive innovative technologies such as energy storage.

Today’s announcement follows the launch of the government’s Powering Up Britain plan, showing 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.

Notes to editors

The £69 million Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration competition is funded through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes through the 2020s and 2030s.

See the full list of the projects receiving funding under Phase 2.

This competition was conducted in 2 phases, and across 2 streams.

The 2 competition streams were designed to support technologies at different stages of development, with Stream 1 supporting actual demonstrations of the technologies, and Stream 2 supporting prototype demonstrations.

Funding for Stream 1 Phase 1 (a feasibility study phase) was in the form of Capital Grants and the projects were required to secure additional private investment. Funding for Phase 2 involves building and commissioning demonstrators in operational environments.

Funding for Stream 2 Phase 1 (feasibility phase) was the form of Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) contracts, requiring risk-sharing. Funding for Phase 2 involves building and commissioning prototypes to demonstrate the technologies.

Constraint payments remain the most efficient option for National Grid to keep Britain’s lights on and are only used when there is excess supply.

Grid constraints are a natural part of operating an efficient electricity system, but the necessary grid infrastructure improvements are being made to ensure the UK’s homes can be powered by clean, green energy.

Published 12 April 2023