Gravitricity aims to make its US debut after linking with a major American construction group.

The Edinburgh firm will partner with US infrastructure conglomerate IEA Infrastructure Construction as the American government provides $millions in funding for energy projects at former mines.

Gravitricity has signed an agreement with the Illinois-based construction heavyweight to seek funds jointly for renewable energy schemes, including those at disused mines.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration made $450 million available for clean energy projects at the site of current or former coal mines as part of his efforts to combat climate change.

Gravitricity is an energy storage company developing below-ground gravity energy storage systems in the UK and mainland Europe.

They are already advancing proposals for a mine project in the Czech Republic. They plan to store energy by lowering and raising a single massive weight suspended in the former Darkov mine.

The storage specialists have already demonstrated a scale version of their technology in Edinburgh – built in partnership with Dutch winch specialists Huisman – and now plan to build full-scale schemes in the UK and worldwide. Future systems could have a capacity of 25MWh or more.

Up to five clean energy projects will be funded at current and former US mines, through the $1 trillion 2021 infrastructure law, with demonstration projects expected to “… provide knowledge and experience that catalyse the next generation of clean energy on mine land projects,” the Energy Department said.

The White House also said it would allow developers of clean energy projects to take advantage of billions of dollars in new bonuses being offered in addition to investment and production tax credits available through the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The bonuses will “incentivise more clean energy investment in energy communities, particularly coal communities,” that have been hurt by a decade-plus decline in US coal production, the White House said.

“The timing could not be better,” says Gravitricity Commercial Director Robin Lane.

“Governments worldwide recognise the need for energy storage and also the requirement to find new futures for mining communities seeking alternatives.

“This mine-specific US initiative, on top of the already generous IRA provisions, make the States a particularly attractive destination for first-of-a-kind projects.

“IEA Infrastructure Construction has proven expertise in heavy civil, energy and infrastructure schemes and are the ideal partner for us to seek opportunities in this fast-evolving market,” Lane says.

Applications are due by the end of August, with grant decisions expected by early next year.

Earlier this year, Gravitricity unveiled plans to transform the former Darkov deep mine in the Czech Republic into a massive gravity energy store.

In February, Gravitricity signed a memorandum with DIAMO, the Czech state enterprise charged with mitigating the consequences of coal mining in the republic, where the two parties committed to work in tandem to seek EU funds to turn the decommissioned mine into a 4MW / 2MWh energy store – equivalent to the power needs of 16,000 homes.

Worldwide, Gravitricity estimates there are around 14,000 mines which could be suitable for gravity energy storage.

Image source: Courtesy of Gravitricity

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