UK to build one of the world’s largest LDES and the country’s first commercial-scale LAES plant

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Carrington, a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, Greater Manchester, is set to be home to the UK’s first commercial-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant and one of the world’s largest long-duration energy storage (LDES) facilities.

Recently, Highview Power, a UK-based long-duration energy storage pioneer, specializing in cryogenic energy storage announced that it had secured £300 million for the construction of the facility. The funding came mainly from the UK Infrastructure Bank and Centrica plc.

UK Infrastructure Bank is a British state-owned development bank whose goal is to help the UK Government’s plan to reach net-zero carbon by 2050. In addition, the bank is meant to support economic growth in regional and local sectors across the United Kingdom.

Its investment in the construction of the UK’s first commercial-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant highlights the bank’s role in mobilizing private finance in a bid to help first-of-a-kind technologies – which are essential for the transition to net zero – to reach commercial scale while also driving regional, local, and economic growth.

Centrica, on the other hand, is a British multinational energy and services company.  Its main activity is the supply of electricity and gas to consumers in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The company comes on board as Highview Power’s strategic partner supporting the accelerated roll-out of the LAES technology in the UK through a £70 million investment.

Rio Tinto, Goldman Sachs, KIRKBI, and Mosaic Capital are also financially supporting the construction of one of the world’s largest long-duration energy storage (LDES) facilities in Carrington.

Start of construction of UK’s first commercial-scale LAES plant, expectations and future plans

Reportedly, the construction of the UK’s first commercial-scale LAES plant is set to begin immediately and be completed and operational in early 2026.

Upon completion, the facility will have a storage capacity of 300 MWh and an output power of 50 MW per hour for six hours. It is expected to set the bar for storage energy systems around the world, positioning the UK as the global leader in energy storage and flexibility.

According to reports Highview Power plans to construct four more larger-scale 2.5 GWh facilities by 2035 at an investment of about £3 billion. The construction of these facilities at strategic sites across the UK will ensure a fast roll-out of the Highview Power technology which can store renewable energy for up to several weeks, longer than battery technologies.

This initiative falls in line with one of National Grid’s target scenario forecasts of a 2 GW requirement from LAES, which would represent nearly 20% of the UK’s long-duration energy storage needs.

By capturing/storing excess renewable energy, this technology can help keep energy costs from spiralling and power Britain’s homes with 24/7 renewable clean energy.

Beyond contributing to the UK’s energy security through reducing the intermittency of renewables, Highview Power’s technology will also make a major contribution to the UK economy. The installation of the technology will reportedly pump more than £9 billion into the country’s economy in terms of investment over the next 10 years.

The initiative also has the potential to support over 6,000 jobs and generate billions of pounds in value added to the economy. It will also contribute materially to increasing the utilization of green energy generation, reducing energy bills for consumers, and providing significantly improved energy stability and security.

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