Storelectric is developing electricity storage at a scale and duration to enable renewables to power the world affordably, reliably and resiliently.
I believe that with us, all this can be achieved; without us, it can’t – because without us the investment and operational costs required would be excessive. These excessive costs would be in grids, massive over-build of renewable generation, and plants to deliver the balancing, ancillary, stability and other services which we offer.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
A colleague was working on a tidal energy project and realised that it would only be viable if it were to generate electricity when needed rather than when the tides determined. This would require storage on a scale of hundreds of megawatts of power, and multiple gigawatt-hours of energy.
As pumped hydro (e.g. Dinorwig) is too costly, remote and limited in suitable locations, he realised that Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) was the only suitably scaled and -priced technology. When he brought it to me, as an innovation consultant, I realised that its efficiency and emissions needed improving dramatically to be viable, and proceeded to develop a solution to achieve this. We formed Storelectric when I’d solved that challenge.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
We are pre-revenue, seeking strategic investors and partners. Therefore when the lockdowns came, we suspended our operational activities and continued seeking these strategic developments. We are now ready and raring to go.
What can we hope to see from Storelectric in the future?
We are exploring a number of opportunities in parallel. We have substantial interest from cavern owners and other partners in Britain to build a first, small, plant. When I say “small”, this is 40-80 megawatts, enough to power a town of 50-100,000 people together with its infrastructure and industry, for 5 hours at peak demand.
We also have interest in a plant big enough to power Birmingham for 8 hours, to take the output of an offshore wind farm onto the grid without a single megawatt of grid reinforcement – compare that with National Grid’s NOA report in March which said that they need £16bn of grid reinforcement by 2025 to accommodate 17GW of renewable energy, not to mention their balancing and stability services: the potential savings for consumers are enormous and can be replicated elsewhere easily, if only the grid and government will deliver the necessary contracts and regulations.
Beyond that, we’ve had expressions of interest in funding follow-on plants worldwide, so we could easily become a real-world unicorn (and those in the real world are the rarest species of unicorn), first and best movers in a global multi-trillion dollar industry. That would provide enormous economic gain for the country, as well as more beneficial for reducing climate change globally than any other technology of which I am aware.