Liquid air energy storage plant to create 700 jobs

Image showing digital rendering of the liquid air storage facilityImage source, Highview
Image caption,

Highview Power has plans to roll out the new technology across the UK

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Work has begun on a £300m energy plant which will store surplus electricity from wind and solar farms in the form of liquid air.

The facility at Carrington near Manchester, designed by Highview Power, will create more than 700 jobs in the north-west of England, the firm said.

The energy stored at the site, which is expected to be operational by 2026, will then be put back into the grid at times of high demand.

Highview Power's co-founder Richard Butland said this kind of long-term clean energy storage was "huge for Britain and huge globally".

Image source, Highview Power
Image caption,

Work has started on the plant at the Trafford Energy Park in Carrington

The facility has been described as the UK's first commercial scale liquid air energy storage plant, and could have the capacity to power 480,000 homes.

Energy compressed into air, liquified and then cryogenically frozen can be held at the plant for several weeks, which is longer than battery storage.

"Done at large-scale makes this cost effective", Mr Butland told BBC Radio Manchester.

'Perfect area'

The technology has been developed by Highview Power over a number of years with financial support from the government and other energy firms.

A group including energy giant Centrica, the owners of British Gas, and the state-owned UK Infrastructure Bank have invested £300m to get the project off the ground.

Mr Butland, who is also Highview Power's chief executive, said there were times when the UK grid had "lots of excess when there is no demand".

The plant will be the "largest facility of its kind globally" that could store this energy over a longer period, he added.

Carrington was a "perfect area" for the facility as it was close to the windfarms in the Irish Sea and Scotland, he added.

Mr Butland said the jobs created would include construction, supply chain and staff.

Highview Power also wants to develop a delivery hub in Manchester as part of aims to roll out the technology across the UK.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham welcomed the plans and said the storage facility would be a "huge boost for the region" in terms of jobs, investment and renewable energy.

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