Major investment in UK’s first commercial liquid air energy storage plant

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Highview Power has secured a £300 million investment to build the UK’s first commercial-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant.

This funding comes from the UK Infrastructure Bank, Centrica and a consortium of investors including Rio Tinto, Goldman Sachs, KIRKBI and Mosaic Capital.

The new facility will be located in Carrington, Manchester and will become one of the largest long duration energy storage (LDES) plants globally.

With a storage capacity of 300MWh and an output of 50MW per hour for six hours, construction will commence immediately, aiming for the facility to be operational by early 2026.

The project is expected to support over 700 jobs during construction and in the supply chain.

Centrica is investing £70 million to support the Carrington project and accelerate the deployment of the technology across the UK.

Following this initial project, Highview Power plans to develop four larger 2.5GWh facilities throughout the UK, with a projected total investment of £3 billion.

These facilities will align with the UK’s LDES support mechanisms and the National Grid‘s future energy scenario plans.

Highview Power’s LAES technology, developed over 17 years, can store renewable energy for several weeks, which is longer than battery technologies.

The storage system will help capture and store excess renewable energy, reducing curtailment costs and ensuring a steady supply of renewable energy.

Richard Butland, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer 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 LDES programme to capture excess wind and support the grids transformation.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “My vision is for Greater Manchester to be a leader in the green transition – and Highview Power’s decision to build one of the world’s largest LDES facilities at Carrington is a huge boost for the region.”

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.”

Julian Leslie, Director and Chief Engineer National Grid ESO said: “Integrating LDES into the grid is going to be vital to delivering the UK’s long term energy strategy.

“Our recent Future Energy Scenarios report shows that 4GW of liquid air storage will be required over the coming decades.”

Nigel Steward, Chief Scientist, Rio Tinto said: “We believe long duration energy storage can play a critical role in firming renewable energy sources.”

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