Storelectric secures £125,000 angel investment

Preston-based Storelectric has secured £125,000 funding from three business angels to help develop renewable energy storage plants, thanks to Access to Finance.

StorelectricStorelectric uses an innovative form of Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES), to store electric energy on a grid scale.

Its angel funding will be used to develop initial designs for a 40MW pilot plant in salt caverns that will be able to store national grid energy safely and efficiently by 2016, and to secure its intellectual property.

Storelectric has already identified six to eight fields of salt caverns which it feels are suited to developing CAES in Britain and many overseas. If the pilot plant proves successful, Storelectric is then planning to develop a £300m full sized 500MW plant.

Compressed air energy storage is vital because renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and tidal powers are intermittent and their peaks and troughs of production are unrelated to demand.

Mark Howitt, Storelectric director said: “The idea of storing energy in compressed air has been around for a long time, and it has been used around the world in many systems. Most renewable power is intermittent, generating when nature wants to, rather than when we want it to. Therefore it needs back-up power, which is currently provided by fossil fuel power stations.

"But power stations are very inefficient when used in this way, and this inefficiency cancels out most of the environmental benefits of the renewable power. For this reason, power stations used as back-up to renewable power are increasingly unprofitable. Not only is this driving their owners towards bankruptcy, but the owners are being forced to shut them down in order to survive. This means that the amount of back-up available is reducing, which could soon lead to black-outs. Truly grid-scale electricity storage solves this by providing this environmentally friendly back-up power for peaks, enabling renewable energy to operate efficiently, cost effectively and profitably with few or no subsidies.

“Securing this funding from the three North West business angels has set us securely on the path to developing our first CAES plant in the North West. This initial round of funding and the support we received from A2F will play a critical role in changing the way energy is stored in this country and in making it more efficient and safer.”

Access to Finance advisor Akshay Bhatnagar said: “The North West is home to many ambitious companies who may be in need of an injection of funding to help accelerate their growth plans and Storelectric is a great example of how A2F can help businesses. Energy use and storage is a major issue for government and CAES offers a genuine solution for the future. There is also huge potential worldwide where demand is 10-100 times that of the UK, depending on suitably located salt basins. “Angel investment in businesses has never been more popular as banks remain cautious and investors also look elsewhere for a return on their money. Having introduced them at a recent North West business angels pitch event, we are delighted that Storelectric and their investors are now working closely together to make the pilot plant a reality.”