Energy and Utilities

The Energy Transition | Funding for renewable energy storage and heat pumps

Published on 28th Feb 2022

This week, we look at nearly £7 million in funding for renewable energy storage technologies, the Scottish government's £300 million heat pump fund, the world's largest consumer-owned wind farm, and more.

Nearly £7 million awarded to innovative energy storage technologies

The UK government has announced £6.7 million in funding to support projects across the UK in developing new energy storage technologies. The supported projects will look to develop innovative technologies that can utilise stored energy as heat, electricity or a low-carbon carrier such as hydrogen.

Energy storage is a key component in the drive to decarbonise the UK's energy supply as renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind power, are often intermittent. Sometimes, this means that energy is generated in excess of what is needed, for example in periods of very high wind. At other times, such as in winter where there is little sun, insufficient energy is captured to meet demand. The development of new technologies will mean that energy can be stored for longer, helping to manage these generation fluctuations and ensure that demand is met consistently throughout varying generating conditions.

The funding is awarded under Phase 1 of the Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration competition, which forms part of the government's £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. The competition is worth £68 million in total and Phase 2 will see the remaining funds  awarded to the Phase 1 projects with the greatest potential, to support those projects to full build and demonstration stages.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said, "Driving forward energy storage technologies will be vital in our transition towards cheap, clean and secure renewable energy. It will allow us to extract the full benefit from our home-grown renewable energy sources, drive down costs and end our reliance on volatile and expensive fossil fuels."

Scottish government establishes £300 million heat pump fund

The Scottish government has unveiled £300 million in funding to support the development and roll-out of zero emission heat networks. The Heat Network Fund will be open to all public and private sector applicants looking to power their buildings from a communal source.

A heat network is a distribution system of insulated pipes that transports heat from a central source to a number of domestic or non-domestic buildings. The heat source can take a number of forms, such as a combined heat or power plant; heat recovered from industry, urban infrastructure or canals and rivers; or an energy from waste plant. They can deliver huge reductions in carbon emissions compared to traditional gas boilers, and are considered to be one of the most cost-effective ways of carbon-saving.

It is hoped that the Heat Network Fund will go some way towards accelerating the development of heat networks across Scotland, helping it to achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its homes and buildings by more than two thirds by 2030. The roll-out of heat networks may also help to tackle fuel poverty by supplying affordable heating to consumers; an objective of increasing importance given the recent rises in gas prices (reported on in a previous edition of the Energy Transition).

In the same announcement, the Scottish government also revealed the opening of applications for the Social Housing Net Zero Heat Development fund. This fund of up to £500,000 is targeted at registered social landlords who have indicated that they require additional support with the roll-out of zero emissions heating within their housing stock.

Shares offered for ‘world’s largest’ consumer-owned wind farm

Ripple Energy has opened membership for what is claimed to be the 'world's largest' consumer-owned wind farm. Located in South West Scotland, the Kirk Hill windfarm will be comprised of eight turbines and is said to have the potential to power over 20,000 households and businesses whilst saving 12,740 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Ripple Energy has made it possible for consumers to purchase shares in this project, with minimum purchases set at  £25 and the maximum being 120% of an owner's annual electricity consumption.

Share offers will close in March 2022, with the wind farm expected to start operating in late 2023. To benefit from this scheme, consumers will need to be supplied by one of Ripple Energy's partner suppliers (who will supply electricity from the wind farm to the consumers' homes) by the time the wind farm is in operation. Ripple Energy claims that it will help with this switch if necessary, and that savings to electricity bills will be seen the month after the wind farm is in operation.

The first wind farm operated by Ripple Energy was the Graig Fatha wind farm, located near Coedely in South Wales, which is owned by over 900 members after all of the shares in the project sold out.

Government announces £67 million to support those most vulnerable to fuel poverty

The government has announced £67 million towards upgrading insulation in homes and the installation of low-cost clean heating. This funding is part of the government's £950 million Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) scheme announced last year and highlighted in both the Heat and Buildings Strategy and Net Zero Strategy, as reported in a previous Energy Transition update. The HUG scheme is set to run until 2025. The £67 million is intended to help up to 4,300 low-income households in England through energy efficiency upgrades that will see fuel costs decreasing by up to £200 a year. The government hopes that this funding will benefit those who are the most vulnerable to fuel poverty, who are on low incomes and living off gas grid privately-owned homes.

Energy efficiency measures will consist of wall and roof insulation, as well as new low-carbon heating systems, thermostats and room heating controls – this is all expected to be delivered before the end of March 2023. The £67 million is set to be spread across England; amongst other areas, the South East will receive £18,836,741, the South-West will receive £12,698,436 and Greater London will receive £9,573,062. Speaking about the funding, Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan said, "It will keep more money in people’s pockets, at the same time as making homes warmer, more comfortable and greener."


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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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