Swedish consortium gets funding to commercialize grid-scale energy storage concept

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An international consortium led by Swedish grid-scale energy storage company Mine Storage has been granted Vinnova funding to finalize the blueprint for what could be the world’s first commercial underground mine storage facility, indicating increased interest in the potential of using abandoned mines for energy storage.

The consortium consists of mining companies Boliden and Lovisagruvan, energy company Mälarenergi, hydropower equipment manufacturer Voith Hydro and engineering and design company AFRY. Under direction of Mine Storage, the consortium will join forces to compile a complete blueprint for setting up a commercial mine storage facility in the historical mining area of Bergslagen in Sweden, including all the steps in the process from initial landowner and authority approval, to a grid-connected energy storage and supply facility.

Global trends such as the rapidly growing share of sustainable but intermittent power sources such as wind and solar, the rapid electrification and the volatile energy price situation all point to the need to store produced energy and control the energy supply to a much greater extent than today, the company said, adding that the most efficient way is pumped storage hydropower, but pointing out that most countries lack the height differences required in the landscape for storage facilities above ground.

“I am very pleased that we have been able to team up with such competent partners to create a blueprint for what could be the first commercial underground mine storage facility in the world, and it feels natural to do it in an energy and mining nation such as Sweden,” Thomas Johansson, CEO of Mine Storage said in the media release.

“The grant from Vinnova/Swedish Mining Innovation is a clear indication of the increased interest in the global potential of using abandoned mines for energy storage.”

Stefan Sädbom, senior exploration geologist and mining and metals industry and advisor to Mine Storage said many countries have thousands of abandoned underground mines, meaning mine storage facilities can fill a big gap in solving the energy storage and distribution dilemma.

“In other words, the mining industry could become an important player in the energy field, creating cross-sectional projects such as this is a great opportunity for all parties, including society as a whole.”