The UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) is “on the verge” of announcing the winners of the £17m (US$27.4m) Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competition, according to people familiar with matter.
The winner had been expected to be revealed at an energy storage industry event in London on 26 September, yet more than a month later, participants are still yet to be formally notified of the outcome. However, the process has been delayed by a problem with finalising the commercial contract of one of the winning projects.
BEST understands one of the winners is REDT, which proposed developing a 1.2 MWh vanadium redox flow battery in the island of Gigha off the western coast of Scotland. A further two projects are expected to scoop around £5m funding.
The person responsible for the competition, Ian Ellerington, Head of Innovation at DECC, told BEST an announcement was imminent.
“We are on the verge of being able to announce the winners,” he said. “We want to be able to finalise all contracts before announcing the winners rather than making two or three separate announcements.”
The delays had caused some industry observers to fear the competition was being canned. Ellerington denied DECC had been delayed due to the red-hot political argument raging over ‘green levies’ for low-carbon investment on British energy bills.
“This is absolutely not the case,” he said. “I had expected an announcement to be made in October, but we hadn’t anticipated it would take so long to resolve the commercial arrangements.”
Anthony Price, Director of the UK Electricity Storage Network said: “Ed Miliband’s policy of an energy bill freeze has put prices at the top of the political agenda. The last thing government wants to announce it is spending another £15m on low-carbon energy technology.
“Having said that, DECC is not blessed with resources and they took a long time to make the announcement about the feasibility studies. They missed their original timetable by several months.”
The competition aims to encourage the development of innovative, pre-commercial energy storage technologies that can address grid-scale storage and balancing needs in the UK electricity network.