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UK Infrastructure Bank, Centrica and partners invest £300 million in Highview Power clean energy storage programme to boost UK’s energy security

17 Jun 2024

Photo - see caption

Highview Power kickstarts its multi-billion pound renewable energy programme to accelerate the UK’s transition to net zero in Carrington, Manchester.

Highview Power has secured the backing of the UK Infrastructure Bank and the energy industry leader Centrica with a £300 million investment for the first commercial-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant in the UK.

The £300 million funding round was led by the UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) and the British multinational energy and services company Centrica, alongside a syndicate of investors including Rio Tinto, Goldman Sachs, KIRKBI and Mosaic Capital.

The investment will enable the construction of one of the world’s largest long duration energy storage (LDES) facilities in Carrington, Manchester, using Highview Power’s proprietary LAES technology. Once complete, it will have a storage capacity of 300 MWh and an output power of 50 MWs per hour for six hours. Construction will begin on the site immediately, with the facility operational in early 2026, supporting over 700 jobs in construction and the supply chain.

UKIB’s investment demonstrates the Bank’s role in mobilising private finance to help first-of-a-kind technologies – which are critical for the transition to net zero – to reach commercial scale, whilst driving regional, local and economic growth.

Energy leader Centrica comes on board as Highview Power’s strategic partner and a key player in the UK’s energy transition, supporting Carrington and the accelerated roll-out of the technology in the UK through a £70 million investment. The programme will set the bar for storage energy systems around the world, positioning the UK as the global leader in energy storage and flexibility.

Highview Power will now also commence planning on the next four larger scale 2.5 GWh facilities (with a total anticipated investment of £3 billion). Located at strategic sites across the UK, these will ensure a fast roll-out of the technology to align with UK LDES support mechanisms and enable the ESO’s Future Energy Scenario Plans.

Highview Power has developed its LAES technology in the UK over the last 17 years. The technology can store renewable energy for up to several weeks, longer than battery technologies, and is ready to be deployed across key grid locations at scale today. Highview Power’s technology will also provide stability services to the National Grid, which will allow for the long-term replacement of fossil fuel-based power plants for system support.

This storage will help reduce curtailment costs – which is significant as Britain spent £800m in 2023 to turn off wind farms.

Highview Power aims to accelerate the roll-out of its larger facilities across the UK by 2035 in line with one of National Grid’s target scenario forecasts of a 2 GW requirement from LAES, which would represent nearly 20% of the UK’s long duration energy storage needs. By capturing and storing excess renewable energy, which is now the cheapest form of electricity, storage can help keep energy costs from spiralling, and power Britain’s homes with 24/7 renewable clean energy.

Beyond contributing to the UK’s energy security by reducing the intermittency of renewables, Highview Power’s infrastructure programme will make a major contribution to the UK economy, requiring in excess of £9 billion investment in energy storage infrastructure over the next 10 years – with the potential to support over 6,000 jobs and generate billions of pounds in value add to the economy. It will also contribute materially to increasing utilisation of green energy generation, reducing energy bills for consumers and providing significantly improved energy stability and security.

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Richard Butland, Co-Founder & CEO of Highview Power said: 'There is no energy transition without storage. The UK’s investment in world-leading offshore wind and renewables requires a national long duration energy storage programme to capture excess wind and support the grids transformation.

'UKIB and Centrica and our partners have today backed our ambitious plan to bring renewable energy storage into the UK economy at scale, liberating the potential of what is both the greenest and by far the cheapest energy source for the UK economy and provide energy security. Our first project in Carrington will be the foundation for our full scale roll-out in the UK and expansion with partners to share this British technology internationally.'

Chris O’Shea, Group Chief Executive, Centrica said: 'The energy transition is an opportunity that could transform lives across the UK. But with a changing energy mix, and more intermittency from renewables, we have to explore new, innovative ways to store energy so our customers have electricity available when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Low carbon storage is an essential part of the solution when looking at how we manage peaks in demand.

'That’s why I’m delighted that Centrica is investing in Highview Power. Not only are we bringing capital to the table to support rollout and expansion, but we’ll be also sharing our expertise on the energy transition and power storage. Through partnerships like this we can manage the challenges net zero might present while providing cleaner, greener power to customers.'

Click here for full announcement

Source: Highview Power

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