Cryogenic energy storage facility, Highview Power, c Highview Power

The liquid air energy storage plant at Carrington is set to be operational in early 2026. Credit: Highview Power

£300m secured for Trafford cryogenic energy storage

UK Infrastructure Bank and British Gas-owner Centrica are the primary funders for Highview Power’s proposed liquid air energy storage plant next to the former Carrington Power Station off Manchester Road.

This would be the first commercial-scale liquid air energy storage plant in the UK, according to Highview. Constructing the facility will support more than 700 jobs both directly and in the supply chain, the company added.

The cryogenic energy storage plans have already received approval from Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

“My vision is for Greater Manchester to be a leader in the green transition – and Highview Power’s decision to build one of the world’s largest long-duration energy storage facilities at Carrington is a huge boost for the region,” Burnham said.

“This new plant will deliver renewable energy to homes and businesses across our region and bring world-leading technology, jobs, skills, and investment to Greater Manchester.”

With the £300m secured, work is set to start “imminently” on the plant, according to a press release. When operational in early 2026, the facility should be able to store 300MWh of energy and distribute 50MWs per hour every for six hours.

Highview’s cryogenic energy storage facility would compress excess energy from solar and wind farms into air. This would then be liquified and frozen so that it can be stored for several weeks. When the energy is needed again, the liquid air is warmed up so it becomes a gas once more and, in the process, drives a generator-connected turbine – thus making the energy usable by the grid.

The plant would have an operational lifespan of at least 30 years, according to a planning statement from RSK in 2022 – which is when Trafford Council gave the project the go-ahead. You can view that planning application by searching reference number 108006/FUL/22 on the local authority’s planning portal.

Highview has spent the past 17 years creating the technology that makes the cryogenic energy storage plant possible. The company said that its energy storage programme is now capable of being deployed across the country at scale.

It is already planning four facilities that will be even larger than the one at Carrington. These would be capable of storing 2.5Gwh of energy. Building them would require an investment of £3bn.

Julian Leslie, director and chief engineer at the National Grid ESO, said that long-duration energy storage, like what is promised by cryogenic energy storage facilities, will be “vital to delivering the UK’s long-term energy strategy”.

Leslie continued: “Our recent Future Energy Scenarios report shows that 4GW of liquid air storage will be required over the coming decades. Highview’s plans are welcomed to support this target and help us on the journey to a 100% zero-carbon electricity system.”

Highview Power chief executive Richard Butland leaned into the importance of energy storage.

“There is no energy transition without storage,” he said.

“The UK’s investment in world-leading offshore wind and renewables requires a national long-duration energy storage programme to capture excess wind and support the grid’s transformation.”

Reflecting on the £300m investment, Butland continued: “UKIB and Centrica and our partners have today backed our ambitious plan to bring renewable energy storage into the UK economy at scale, liberating the potential of what is both the greenest and by far the cheapest energy source for the UK economy and provide energy security.

“Our first project in Carrington will be the foundation for our full-scale roll-out in the UK and expansion with partners to share this British technology internationally.”

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

This is great news indeed; exactly the kind of news we need.

By Proud Nerd

How much excess wind and solar do we have in the NW? How does this business stake stack up?

By Anon

This misguided project is the result of a completee and fundamental misunderstanding of how our national grid works and what it requires.
What is essential is an increase in reliable generation capacity, not some minor storage project.

By Iain Reid

I want someone to tell me how ANY form of storage is going to effectively offset the 30% CF of wind and solar supply. Have the proponernts forgotten that ALL stiorage has to be re-charged, and the operating grid will need to have over twice the normal load capacity to do so, ASSUMING the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, what happens on cloudy days with no wind?? They are dreaming!!

By John McBratney

The costs will far outstrip any benifit.

By Anonymous

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