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Highview Power Secures £300 Million for Pioneering Long-Duration Energy Storage Project in Manchester

Image Credit: Highview Power

Highview Power has announced a significant £300 million funding boost for constructing the UK's first commercial-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) facility in Manchester. This substantial investment is spearheaded by the UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) and energy powerhouse Centrica, with additional backing from a consortium of investors, including mining giant Rio Tinto, financial leader Goldman Sachs, Danish investment firm Kirkbi, and US-based Mosaic Capital Partners.

This financial infusion is set to support the creation of one of the world's most extensive long-duration energy storage facilities, utilizing Highview Power's pioneering LAES technology. This technology, which has been under development for the past 17 years, boasts the capability to store energy for several weeks—significantly outperforming traditional large-scale battery systems. It is anticipated to play a crucial role in balancing the fluctuations in electricity generation as the grid increasingly integrates intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

Highview Power's technology also promises to offer stabilization services to the National Grid. It could be a sustainable long-term substitute for fossil-fuel power plants currently used for backup power. Moreover, the technology could potentially cut costs associated with curtailment—expenses that arise when wind farms are paid to shut down during high wind events to prevent grid overload. In 2023, Britain allocated £800 million to wind farms for curtailment.

Once completed, the Manchester facility is expected to feature a storage capacity of 300MWh and deliver 50MW of power per hour over six hours. Construction is poised to commence immediately at the site in Carrington, Manchester, with the plant projected to be fully operational by early 2026. The project is anticipated to generate over 700 jobs during its construction phase and throughout its supply chain.

"There is no energy transition without storage," said Richard Butland, co-founder and chief executive of Highview Power. "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."

Additionally, the fundraising round featured a £70 million investment from British Gas owner Centrica, positioning it as a strategic partner poised to facilitate the nationwide deployment of Highview Power's LAES technology.

Highview Power is not stopping at Manchester; the company has ambitious plans to construct four more large-scale facilities, each with a capacity of 2.5 GWh, at strategic locations throughout the UK. This expansion aligns with National Grid projections, which estimate that the UK could require approximately 2GW of long-duration energy storage capacity in the future. Like those developed by Highview Power, liquid air energy storage systems are expected to provide up to 20% of this capacity, reflecting a significant contribution to the UK's energy storage solutions.

Chris O'Shea, group chief executive at Centrica, said the energy transition "an opportunity that could transform lives across the UK", and that LAES had a potentially vital role to play.

"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," he said. "Low carbon storage is an essential part of the solution when looking at how we manage peaks in demand."


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