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INCREASING UK BUSINESS INVESTMENT IN ENERGY STORAGE

With the progression of the energy transition in the UK, businesses are continuously looking for updates into the changing energy market and the role in which technologies can play to provide a robust strategy for not only adapting to the changing landscape, but maximising on it, this is particularly true when businesses consider energy storage solutions. In this latest industry insight, Powerstar examines a report by Haven Power that highlights the appetite for industrial and commercial businesses across the UK to implement energy storage solutions and delves into the key factors behind this decision. Lastly, it explores the Governmental and Investment in energy storageenvironmental catalysts increasing pressure on businesses to adopt such technologies. This Industry Insight will summarise:

  • Boosting site resilience through energy storage
  • The journey to carbon neutrality
  • In Conclusion

Boosting site resilience through energy storage

The development of energy storage in the private sector has been outlined in a recent UK-wide survey of 1,000 utility managers, commissioned by Haven Power, which led to the discovery that a third of UK-based businesses have installed onsite battery storage at a minimum of one of their sites. The survey also pinpointed specific areas of expertise regarding energy storage with 75% of London-based respondents claiming that they understand how to sell excess energy generated from onsite renewables back to the grid

This demonstrates an appetite for energy storage from commercial and industrial organisations that is likely to grow even further as energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind, which are intermittent by nature, account for a larger portion of the UK’s energy mix; exemplified by renewables reaching a record generation of 27.9 TWh in the first quarter of 2018[1]. This expected growth is underpinned by forecasts that the global market for energy storage will grow significantly over the next decade, with Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasting that the global energy storage market will rise to a total of 125 GW by 2030[2].

The reasons behind the projected growth are numerous. However, the survey commissioned by Haven Power discovered that a further 37% of energy managers, in addition to those which currently have onsite battery storage installed, would be keen to explore using battery storage technology to improve their energy security and ultimately site resilience in the coming months. The growing desire to increase resilience is a clear response to the significant financial and reputational implications that are commonly reported in the news as a result of energy-related failures, such as those witnessed across the leisure industry this summer. Costs as a result of energy-related failures can total as much as 17% of annual costs, equating to £2.8M each year in damages and lost opportunities to average sized UK businesses[3], whilst any disruption to the customer experience or even the supply chain due to an energy failure can be damaging in the highly competitive landscapes in which most companies operate.

The costs of energy-related failures are further exacerbated by the increasing likelihood of occurrence due to the aforementioned greater integration of intermittent energy sources onto the grid. This is illustrated by the growth in the total estimated unsupplied energy – the deficit between energy required and energy that was delivered – on the Great British network from 20.02 MWh in 2015-2016 to 105.01MWh in 2016-2017[4].

The combination of costly failures and the higher likelihood of these failures occurring has heightened the importance of resilience and therefore the attractiveness of energy storage technology for many businesses. This is especially applicable to energy storage solutions that can offer Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), such as Powerstar VIRTUE. Powerstar VIRTUE provides a greater level of resilience due to its full, even seamless UPS capabilities, providing support to the load in the event of an energy failure within as little as 9 milliseconds. In addition, it can provide site-wide support in contrast to traditional UPS solutions which offer a system specific solution (such as those implemented on IT systems) as well as negating the need for additional backup generators, therefore further boosting an organisation’s energy resilience.

The journey to carbon neutrality

Another major factor for the increase in the uptake of energy storage is the journey to carbon neutrality which many organisations are undertaking as a response to the global governmental objectives to decarbonise economies, highlighted by the commitment in the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels[5].Carbon neutral

Energy storage is a pivotal technology in decarbonising economies as it allows for the uptake of renewable generation, however it is by nature intermittent. Renewable generation, such as solar and wind, are currently constrained due to their necessity to be used at the time of generation and lack of availability when weather conditions are not suitable. When co-located with storage, instead the energy generated can be stored and used as required, when most beneficial to the end user, whilst eliminating issues of over- or under-generation caused by fluctuating weather conditions.

The UK Government last year set out plans in its Clean Growth Strategy for the nation to be a global low carbon leader in the wake of Brexit and has already made notable strides towards this with the announcement of a road to zero emissions strategy which includes the proposal to ban sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040[6], as well as launching the Powering Past Coal Alliance to lead nations towards cleaner energy[7]. Due to this, it is expected that the Government will develop policy to sanction those organisations which do not gravitate towards cleaner energy and will seek to incentivise the uptake of clean energy policies in organisations, with energy storage being a major technology which can aid the transition to cleaner energy.

The report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was released on DATE, is set to add further pressure towards the need for organisations and Governments to adopt cleaner energy methods such as energy storage. The report states that “Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure, and industrial systems[8].”

This statement is emphasised by the suggestion that the Paris Climate Agreement’s commitment to limit global warming to below 2°C should be readjusted as “going past 1.5°C is dicing with the planet’s liveability[9].” The UK Government has already shown a commitment to act upon the findings of the report with Claire Perry, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, commenting with the below on Twitter.

In conclusion

It is clear that the need to store cleaner energy sources, combined with the business case of cost-avoidance, revenue generation and enhanced energy resilience, is set to maintain the growth in energy storage adoption for UK businesses. It is predicted to continue in the coming years as the energy transition gathers momentum, as long as organisations are presented with the full business case for energy storage, including possibilities to procure it through structured .

Powerstar’s upcoming free online energy storage webinar aims to present exactly this by exploring the importance of energy storage technology in the future energy landscape to secure the supply and protect business operations.

[1] Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy – Energy Trends June 2018

[2] https://about.bnef.com/blog/global-storage-market-double-six-times-2030/

[3] https://www.centrica.com/news/uk-resilience-report

[4] National Grid – National Electricity Transmission System Performance Report 2016-2017

[5] https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

[6] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-road-to-zero-strategy-to-lead-the-world-in-zero-emission-vehicle-technology

[7] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-road-to-zero-strategy-to-lead-the-world-in-zero-emission-vehicle-technology

[8] https://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_headline_statements.pdf

[9] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45775309

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