Why the Public Sector Must Not Ignore Battery Storage

If you think that battery storage is too expensive or an immature and unproven technology, think again, says Ian Hopkins, Director of Centrica Business Solutions.

Falling costs and rapid advances in battery storage technologies are creating new opportunities to increase energy resilience, improve sustainability, reduce costs and generate revenue from your onsite energy assets.

The public sector faces relentless pressures to cut costs and meet tougher sustainability targets, while also improving services. Finding new ways of reducing energy costs and improving environmental compliance are becoming more critical. The growing risk of energy supply disruption means that organisations also need to focus on energy security.

Multi-purpose battery storage is helping to tackle these significant energy challenges by enhancing the benefits of on-site generation, such as solar, Combined Heat and Power (CHP), or wind.

There are 4 key benefits of implementing battery storage

1. Improve energy resilience

In the face of the growing risk of energy-related failure and the potential damage this can cause to public services, battery storage provides a dependable solution.

The split-second response time of modern batteries means that they can switch on an ultra-fast and zero emissions uninterruptable power supply (UPS) at the first sign of problems. As such, you can protect key services and operations to ensure a continuous and reliable power supply.

You can also use battery storage as a faster-acting and more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional standby generators, such as high carbon emitting diesel systems. Batteries can also offer extra protection for critical sites, such as hospitals, emergency response or data centres. In these environments they can support existing emergency generators and UPS systems to bolster resilience.

2. Lower energy costs

Third-party, non-commodity energy costs now make up nearly 60% of an average electricity bill. Together with rising wholesale energy prices, this is increasing energy costs for all consumers. By using stored power when non-commodity charges inflate grid prices e.g. during Triad events or red-band DUos periods, huge energy cost savings can be made. You can recharge your battery at a time when you have an abundance of solar or other self-generated power, or at times when grid electricity is cheapest. In this way, massive cost savings can be made.

Solar and battery storage work so well together that you can improve the financial performance of your solar PV system by an average of 30 to 40%. This leads to faster investment payback for both technologies. This financially viable hybrid solution also shields organisations from highly volatile wholesale energy markets.

3. Improve your sustainability

Batteries emit zero emissions so provide the most environmentally friendly standby power solution. This will help you to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to sustainability targets and environmental compliance. It can also reduce green energy taxes and enhance your reputation as a ‘green’ organisation.

By using battery storage alongside solar you can dramatically increase the utilisation of available solar to maximise your usage of renewable power and reduce dependence on higher carbon grid supplied electricity.

For those organisations that are seeking to reach new levels of sustainability and work towards a carbon-neutral future, battery storage is an important component of the most advanced energy strategies. The role of batteries in supporting grid stability further improves sustainability. That’s because this enables more wind and solar power to be safely integrated into the power network.

4. Maximise revenue from your energy assets

The ultra-fast response time of modern batteries means that they can be monetised via premium Demand Side Response (DSR) programmes, such as dynamic Firm Frequency Response (dFFR), which offer the best financial returns. There are also further opportunities to participate in other DSR schemes and to generate income from the Imbalance Market and Balancing Mechanism, as well as other real-time trading opportunities.

We are pioneering the use of batteries within virtual power plants, where we can combine a mixed portfolio of assets, including slow responding loads and battery storage from multiple sites, to create a fast and agile portfolio.

Battery storage at Gateshead Council

Centrica Business Solutions is helping Gateshead Council to improve energy resilience and generate revenue after installing one of the UK’s largest commercial battery storage schemes. The 3MW/3.33MWh system ensures that the Gateshead District Energy Centre can respond to any fluctuations in demand in under a second. It is capable of storing enough energy from the 4MW CHP system to meet the needs of 3,000 homes for one hour. This ensures that the local businesses and residents benefit from stable and reliable power, without being exposed to any fluctuations. We’re managing the project under a 10-year contract, providing various optimisation services and commercialising the battery in a number of DSR flexibility services. This enables the Council to earn an income to support its public services, while securing the reliability of its site operations and also contributing towards balancing and stabilising the Grid.

Further information: https://www.centricabusinesssolutions.com