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£20M competition for energy storage launched

Power light bulb energy

A £20M competition for large scale energy storage solutions has been launched by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

The “Storage at Scale” competition is searching for “innovative, replicable solutions” that act as competitive alternatives to conventional forms of energy storage such as pump storage hydro-electric schemes or batteries. 

The £20M fund will support up to three projects between 2019 and 2021. 

Submissions must be different to what is already commercially available and applicants must show that they can provide a solution with a minimum output power of 30MW or minimum capacity of 50MWh. 

Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry said cleaner energy was a intergral part of the smart energy future for the UK. 

“We are moving to a cleaner, greener economy with renewable generation set to play an integral part of our smarter energy future,” she said. ”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 £20M to commercialise novel energy storage technology which can provide the right infrastructure for our growing renewables industry.”

Technology that transforms electrical energy into storable gases such as hydrogen and biomethane is also eligible. Energy-to-gas systems provide ”significant opportunity” to the energy sector the government says in the supporting information. 

The purpose behind the competition is to “reduce the UK’s carbon emissions and the cost of decarbonisation by accelerating the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes into the mid-2020s.”  

A 2016 Carbon Trust report said that integrating energy storage into the wider energy system could bring up to £7bn of savings a year by 2030.

The window for applications is open until the end of April. The wining projects will begin in July.  

Seven key aims set by BEIS:

1. Encourage private sector investment in the UK and develop export opportunities in new large-scale energy storage facilities 

2. Encourage collaboration and bring new supply chain partners into this area of technology 

3. Demonstrate the potential for economies of scale for non-conventional energy storage technologies by significantly improving performance and/or reducing cost 

4. Demonstrate the commercial viability of the technology and create a case study that supports further commercialisation of similar projects

5. Secure robust, detailed data about the likely extent of and potential for deployment of large-scale energy storage technologies in the UK and data about the savings which could be secured from energy storage in the UK

6. Improved access to potential new markets and investment in the UK and internationally

7. Secure increased training/employment in innovative large-scale energy storage technologies 

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