Highview Power secures £300m investment for UK liquid-air energy storage plant

June 13, 2024

Long-duration energy storage company Highview Power has secured a £300 million investment – from UK Infrastructure Bank, Centrica and a syndicate of additional investors – for the first commercial-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant in the UK.

The investor syndicate includes Rio Tinto, Goldman Sachs, KIRKBI and Mosaic Capital.

The investment will facilitate the construction of one of the world’s largest long duration energy storage (LDES) facilities in Carrington, Manchester, using Highview Power’s LAES technology. Once complete, it will have a storage capacity of 300 MWh and an output power of 50 MWs per hour for six hours. Construction will begin on the site immediately, with the facility operational in early 2026. The project will support more than 700 jobs in construction and the supply chain.

“UKIB’s investment demonstrates the bank’s role in mobilising private finance to help first-of-a-kind technologies – which are critical for the transition to net zero – to reach commercial scale, whilst driving regional, local and economic growth,” a statement said.

Centrica is involved as Highview Power’s strategic partner, supporting Carrington and the “accelerated roll-out of the technology in the UK” through a £70 million investment. “The programme will set the bar for storage energy systems around the world, positioning the UK as the global leader in energy storage and flexibility,” the statement added.

Highview Power will now also start planning for the next four larger scale 2.5 GWh facilities, which will have a total anticipated investment of £3 billion).

Highview Power says its LAES technology can store renewable energy for up to several weeks, longer than battery technologies. “This storage will help reduce curtailment costs – which is significant as Britain spent £800m in 2023 to turn off wind farms,” the statement said.

Richard Butland, co-founder & CEO 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 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.”

Chris O’Shea, group chief executive, Centrica added:“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.”

Richard Gnodde, CEO of Goldman Sachs International said: “We are proud to partner with clients to drive the energy transition, by helping to scale the commercialisation of cutting edge energy storage technologies with financing and trading services”.