November 29, 2023: The UK government pledged £2.5 billion ($3 billion) of fresh investments in the auto sector on November 22 including support for EV and battery manufacturing — but industry observers claimed that total included cash already pledged to attract projects such as Tata Sons’ planned 40GW battery cell factory in the country.
Business minister Kemi Badenoch acknowledged on November 26 that aid pledged for the new battery strategy, unveiled in the country’s autumn financial statement, “builds on recent investment wins” including the Tata deal and Nissan’s £2 billion investment in its Sunderland EV battery factory.
Developers behind a public-private 60GWh gigafactory venture in the English Midlands welcomed plans to include the project’s site as part of a new investment zone — which would qualify for additional tax breaks and other financial incentives.
Ken McMeikan, CEO of British motorway service stations operator Moto Hospitality, welcomed plans in the battery strategy to support an expansion of EV charging hubs across the country.
However, McMeikan said the plans had to include major travel hubs such as motorway service areas as a national priority and expand charging points “as quickly and effectively as possible”.
Prime minister Rishi Sunak said the battery sector alone could create 100,000 highly paid and skilled jobs in the UK as it builds a “globally competitive battery supply chain” by 2030.
Research published in July 2022 by liquid air energy storage company Highview Power claimed the UK had “wasted” more than 1TWh of wind power since September 2021 because it lacked sufficient long duration energy storage (LDES) capacity.
Highview said the estimate of lost wind generation, which emerged in research from consultancy Stonehaven, was based on bid volumes in balancing markets auctions published by Elexon, managers of Britain’s Balancing and Settlement Code — the rules and governance arrangements for electricity balancing and settlement of LDES capacity.