UK Infrastructure Bank partners with Centrica to invest up to £265 million in energy storage

UK Infrastructure Bank partners with Centrica to invest up to £265 million in energy storage

A Centrica customer with his residential battery energy storage asset. Image: Centrica.

The UK Infrastructure Bank plans to invest up to £265 million in energy storage development in partnership with British Gas owner Centrica Plc.

In a statement, Centrica said: “The Bank will invest £75 million on a match funding basis into the Gresham House Secure Income Renewable Energy & Storage LP (SIRES) alongside a £65 million investment from Centrica.”

Another part of the deal will see the UK Infrastructure Bank invest £125 million of match funding into Equitix UK Electricity Storage Fund.

Centrica said it was the Bank’s first investment in electricity storage, and “could facilitate around 1300 jobs and will unlock at least a further £200 million in match-funded private sector capital.”

In 2020 the UK Government said it planned to “relax planning legislation to make it easier to construct large batteries to store renewable energy from solar and wind farms across the UK.” It added that there were “4 GW of storage projects in planning which could power a combined 6 million homes, in addition to the 1 GW of battery storage already in operation.”

The Equitix UK Electricity Storage Fund is a UK-based, infrastructure specialist asset manager, which will “focus on a combination of innovative business models across both short and long duration storage”, according to the UK Infrastructure Bank.

The Bank said that the fund would aim to deploy both short duration solutions like household and commercial battery storage systems, as well as long duration technologies like “pumped-hydro, a type of energy storage that uses water reservoirs at different elevations to generate and store electricity. The fund is expected to facilitate 900 jobs across the UK.”

John Flint, CEO of UK Infrastructure Bank said that increasing battery storage was crucial to achieving Net Zero targets, and that the investment “will help break down the barriers to greater, long-term investment across a range of storage sector and renewable energy opportunities.”

Chris O’Shea, CEO of Centrica, said that “we expect hundreds of millions of pounds to be invested through this fund in renewable energy generation and storage assets in the UK.”

The UK added the most battery storage of any European nation in 2022 according to consultancy LCP Delta, including Europe’s largest battery storage system in Yorkshire, owned by Harmony Energy, which can power 300,000 houses for up to two hours.

National Grid data shows that 12GW of battery storage has been consented or is awaiting consent for deployment by 2035. More will be needed, however, with the National Grid forecasting that up to 29GW of total storage may be needed by 2030 and up to 51GW by 2050.

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