Angels back energy storage firm

A PRESTON firm that specialises in electricity storage technology has secured an angel investment worth £125,000 to pursue a pioneering project.

Storelectric uses a form of Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) and is working on a 40MW pilot plant in salt caverns that will be able to store national grid energy.

It also wants to use some of the money to secure intellectual property.

The business has already identified eight caverns that would be suitable. If the pilot is successful, Storelectric is planning to develop a £300m full-sized 500MW plant.

It says compressed air energy storage is vital because renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and tidal powers are intermittent and their peaks and troughs of production are unrelated to demand.

Director Mark Howitt said: “The idea of storing energy in compressed air has been around for a long time, and it has been used around the world in many systems. Most renewable power is intermittent, generating when nature wants to, rather than when we want it to. Therefore it needs back-up power, which is currently provided by fossil fuel power stations. But power stations are very inefficient when used in this way, and this inefficiency cancels out most of the environmental benefits of the renewable power. 

“For this reason, power stations used as back-up to renewable power are increasingly unprofitable. Not only is this driving their owners towards bankruptcy, but the owners are being forced to shut them down in order to survive. This means that the amount of back-up available is reducing, which could soon lead to black-outs. Truly grid-scale electricity storage solves this by providing this environmentally friendly back-up power for peaks, enabling renewable energy to operate efficiently, cost effectively and profitably with few or no subsidies.”

The investment was made through the Access to Finance (A2F) service from North West Business Angels.