Flexible energy specialists Mercia Power Response are teaming up with power storage innovators RheEnergise to put a number on the deployment potential of the latter’s long-duration hydro-energy storage.
Known as High-Density Hydro®, the innovation could offer 100MW in commercial operation this decade, the pair believe, through use of Mercia PR’s existing grid connections.
Mercia’s 40 sites worldwide already have a capacity of 263MW; other are in development. Such scale offers an opportunity, the pair believe, to offer RheEnergise’s HD Hydro technology as a complementary, low carbon solution to its operating portfolio.
Expertise already possessed by Mercia PR’s industry partners in energy trading and forecasting could be an added benefit, helping RheEnergise optimise further forays into grid-connected storage.
In November, RheEnergise UK won a £8.25m small business research initiative (SBRI) contract from the government’s ££1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio to construct a first-in-kind demonstrator rig near Plymouth.
At times of low energy demand from its clients, High-Density Hydro® works by pumping its proprietary High-Density Fluid R-19™ uphill between interconnected underground tanks.
When power prices rise during the working day, the harmless fluid is released to power turbines for grid supply of electricity.
Working on height differences of 100m or less – see diagram- , a RheEnergise HD Hydro system requires only 40% of the vertical elevation needed for conventional hydro reserve, thus opening up far more of Britain’s – and of the world’s – hills and ridges for exploitation.
Operating thus under hills instead of under mountains, the system can provide power on tap where demand peaks at between 5MW to 100MW.
RheEnergise’s analysis of likely landscapes counts around 6,500 site opportunities in the UK, 115,000 in Europe, 345,000 in North America and 500,000 across Africa and the Middle East.
Mercia PR boss Graham White said: “It is very exciting to explore how we can engage with RheEnergise’s HD Hydro technology, applying our expertise in finding the right locations, developing sites, getting grid connections and operating within the Capacity Market.
“We see enormous potential for HD Hydro deployment as a future low-carbon alternative to our existing gas-powered assets.”
Stephen Crosher, White’s counterpart at RheEnergise said: “Mercia PR’s experience in flexible power response and its deep knowledge of the UK energy system will be hugely beneficial to the RheEnergise team.
“Our HD Hydro technology can provide medium and long duration energy storage, which is becoming increasingly important as the UK moves towards Net Zero and with a UK energy system that is increasingly reliant on intermittent renewables.
“We are delighted that Mercia PR has chosen to work with us.”