UK announces £90m for energy storage, floating wind and biomass production

It has launched three new innovation challenges across those areas to help the UK transition to clean and green energy and tackle climate change

The Big Zero report

The UK Government has announced more than £90 million of funding to drive forward the next generation of green technologies that supports the net zero transition.

It has launched three new innovation challenges across key areas, including energy storage technology, floating offshore wind and biomass production, to help the UK transition to clean and green energy and tackle climate change.

The challenges will support the development of innovative technologies that will reduce the costs of deployment across the energy sector, support thousands of jobs and deliver on the government’s Ten Point Plan.

A total of £68 million will further the development of energy storage technologies, helping accelerate the commercialisation of a “first-of-a-kind storage” that can hold energy from wind turbines and solar panels, as well as heat, over long periods of time, including months and years, until it is needed by consumers.

Around £20 million will support innovation that helps unlock the full potential of floating offshore wind technology, allowing turbines to be situated in areas where it is too deep for them to be embedded on the sea floor.

These tend to be locations where wind strengths are stronger and more consistent as they are further out to sea and support the government’s commitment to power every home in the country with wind by 2030.

Innovative technologies could include advancing vital components such as dynamic high voltage cable systems, moorings for challenging seabed conditions and foundations.

An investment of £4 million will be aimed at increasing the production of sustainably-sourced biomass in the UK, with new innovations helping scale up sustainable feedstocks and the production of energy crops as well as helping achieve improvements in yields, cost reductions and profitability.

Biomass is an organic matter that can be used for fuel in green energy production or to substitute for fossil fuel-derived products – the Climate Change Committee previously suggested sustainable biomass can play a significant role in meeting long term climate targets.

The £92 million funding is being made available from the government’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The UK’s energy innovators have been vital to us becoming a world-leader in clean green technology, helping us to go further and faster as we tackle climate change.

“This funding will allow us to develop new ways of unlocking the potential for green energy as we continue making big strides towards our goal of eradicating our contribution to climate change by 2050.”

The biomass feedstocks innovation competition is now open for applications while the energy storage and floating offshore wind competitions will formally open to bids in Spring 2021 but expressions of interest can be submitted now for both.

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