The UK government’s UK Infrastructure Bank announced plans to invest up to £200 million ($264 million) in energy storage.
It will put up to £75 million on a match funding basis into asset manager Gresham House’s Secure Income Renewable Energy & Storage LP. It goes alongside a £65 million private-sector investment from energy company Centrica.
The bank will also invest £125 million on a match-funding basis into asset manager Equitix’s UK Electricity Storage Fund.
It is the first time that the bank is investing in the electricity storage sector. It reckons it will unlock at least a further £200 million in match-funded private sector capital.
The bank said securing enough storage capacity for the UK electricity network “is vital to ensure the transition away from fossil fuels is affordable, secure and delivers the emissions reductions required to achieve net zero across the UK by 2050.”
National Grid forecasts show that up to 29 GW of total storage could be needed by 2030 and up to 51 GW by 2050. This is a huge increase on the 5 GW currently available.
Gresham House’s fund will focus on developing the collocation of renewable generation and short duration electricity storage facilities to help maximise grid connections.
Centrica’s £65 million investment will fund the construction of a collocated solar and battery energy storage project in Hartlepool, County Durham, with 50 MWp solar capacity and 75 MWh of battery energy storage.
The Equitix fund will focus on a combination both short and long duration storage. Short duration strategies may include installation in households and at underutilised commercial premises, as well as co-location. The fund will also aim to deploy a range of long duration storage technologies, such as pumped hydro.
Energy security plan under fire
The UK government announced a much-awaited energy security plan today. Critics pointed to ongoing support for fossil fuel oil and gas through new licensing rounds, and carbon capture usage and storage.
Alan Hollis, CEO of battery cell manufacturer AMTE Power, said: “We’ve had pages and pages of government announcements but unfortunately we’re still lacking the leadership needed to accelerate the growth of a homegrown British battery industry.
“We urgently need an end-to-end industrial strategy for batteries that will allow the UK to compete on the world stage, attract inward investment for gigafactories and create jobs.
“We’re being promised an advanced manufacturing plan in the autumn but that could be too late. Businesses like ours are proud to be building on the great British legacy of battery innovation, but C-suite teams will no doubt be having their heads turned by generous packages of support in the US and Europe.”
Policy framework by 2024 large-scale long-duration electricity storage
The government said it will put in place an appropriate policy framework by 2024 to enable investment in large-scale long-duration electricity storage.
The energy security plan, in 1,000+ pages, outlines support for:
- carbon capture usage and storage
- floating offshore wind
- green hydrogen production
- new nuclear power
- insulating homes
- boosting EV charging points and infrastructure
Criticism was swift, from industry and environmental campaigners. They said the plan did not go far enough and did not come up with enough cash.