Power grid boost as two Scottish firms net £14m to work on energy storage systems

More than £14 million of funding has been awarded to two Scottish projects developing energy storage technologies that should help bolster the resilience of the UK’s electricity grid.

Edinburgh-headquartered StorTera and Sunamp, which is based in East Lothian, will receive UK government backing to develop their technologies. They are both benefiting from a share of more than £32m in the second phase of the Longer Duration Energy Storage (LODES) competition.

StorTera will receive just over £5m to help develop a long-lasting megawatt scale battery that can operate for up to eight hours. The firm’s “single liquid flow” battery will offer flexibility to the grid by storing electricity that can then be released at peak times when weather dependent technologies such as wind turbines and solar panels have periods of decreased energy generation. The battery is scheduled to be installed at the Midlothian Innovation Centre (MIC) in 2024.

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Gavin Park, chief executive at StorTera, said: “This is a really significant piece of funding for StorTera and we are excited that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy shares our ambition and believes we can lead the way in developing sustainable long duration batteries. As Scotland produces more and more renewable energy it is clear that long duration energy storage will be crucial in supporting the flow of energy to the grid at peak times. If Scotland wants to meet its net-zero targets, it is vital that when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining that energy can be stored and released to the grid.”

Meanwhile, Sunamp will receive £9.25m for a project that will trial its advanced thermal storage system in 100 homes across the UK. The firm will extend its existing heat battery to provide increased storage duration and capacity and pair it with household energy systems to tackle periods of low renewables generation on the grid.

Chief executive Andrew Bissell said: “We are thrilled to have received this very significant funding award, which is the result of outstanding work from our own and our partners’ product, materials and engineering teams. The money will be used to develop and test in 100 homes a first-of-a-kind thermal energy storage technology aimed at replacing fossil fuels and bringing forward the electrification of heat.”

The variable nature of renewables such as solar and wind power means that energy can be produced when it is not needed, such as during extended periods of high wind. However, new energy storage technologies can store excess energy to be used at a later point, so the energy can be used rather than wasted.

UK minister for climate Graham Stuart said: “Accelerating renewables is key to boosting our energy resilience. Energy storage helps us get the full benefit of these renewables, improving efficiency and helping drive down costs in the long term. This £14m UK government backing will support Scottish innovation to further develop this technology, helping create new jobs and encouraging private investment, while also safeguarding the UK’s energy security.”

The funding follows the first phase of the LODES competition, which saw £2.7m awarded to 19 projects.

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