The UK government’s business department has launched a competition to find new sustainable, large scale energy storage options.
The Storage at Scale competition, spearheaded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will make up to £20 million (€22.87 million) available for up to three projects offering alternative storage solutions for either a minimum output of 30 megawatts or minimum capacity of 50 megawatt hours. Entrants must submit their project proposal to BEIS by 26 April, with winners announced in July; successful projects are then to be built and tested by December 2021. A statement by BEIS said: “Projects should be at a technology readiness level of six or above, which could result in lower capital or operating costs to the traditional storage technologies, or improved capacity, sustainability and response rates at a comparable cost.”
Long term green energy storage has become an increasingly pressing issue, with lithium-ion batteries considered better suited to short term storage; while pumped hydropower technology is restricted by geography. By integrating green energy storage into its power infrastructure, the UK could save up to £7 billion (€8 billion) by 2030; but while a number of new and emerging technologies – such as compressed air power, power-to-gas and fly wheels – hold a degree of potential to deliver the necessary storage capacity, few projects currently in operation can offer the requisite energy storage at a commercial level.
Claire Perry, the UK’s Energy and Clean Growth Minister, said: “We are moving to a cleaner, greener economy with renewable generation set to play an integral part of our smarter energy future. Energy storage, which helps store electricity when the wind isn’t blowing or sun isn’t shining, can help us change the way we power the world for the better. This is why, as part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we’re committing £20 million to commercialise novel energy storage technology which can provide the right infrastructure for our growing renewables industry.”