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Why Batteries are Key to Your Business’ Energy Security






The energy crisis has brought the issue of energy costs into sharp relief, with many businesses focusing their attention when it comes to energy management on ways that they can mitigate some of the price rises they are experiencing. However, this means that another major, energy-related risk can be overlooked; the threat of energy disruption.  

Tight supply margins and the stress placed on the UK’s grid by the rapid transition to a renewable-based generation mix means it continues to increase the risk of grid instability. For businesses that experience it, that don’t have the proper measures in place to protect themselves, lost time, productivity, stock, and raw materials can quickly add up to a significant financial impact. What contingencies your business have in place to mitigate power disruption should be one of the first issues addressed when devising an effective energy management strategy. 

Why is the Risk of Disruption Increasing? 

Headlines during Autumn 2022 repeatedly warned of the possibility of major energy disruption this winter. While margins were tight during December, National Grid was able to stave off any major outages, before an unseasonably warm January alleviated some of the pressure. However, the risk of power disruption hasn’t gone away. 

Overall generation capacity is just one aspect of energy security. Plans for electrification to replace fossil fuels across much of the UK, including transport and heating, is expected to increase demand for electricity by a further 50% by 2035. While National Grid has committed to infrastructure upgrades that total nearly £1 billion annually, this huge increase in electricity demand will put significant strain on both transmission and distribution networks.  

For businesses located in areas where the distribution network is already constrained, the significant additional stress of some technologies, such as EV charging, risks overloading the network and resulting in power outages. Some of our customers are already experiencing this, particularly manufacturers or other energy-intensive businesses located in out-of-town industrial estates that don’t have the sufficient network infrastructure to support large power demands.  

What is Energy Security? 

Energy security refers to uninterrupted availability of sufficient energy. For businesses that could be impacted by disruption to their grid supply, which is effectively all businesses in some form or another, taking energy security into your own hands is increasingly vital. Many British businesses have historically enjoyed a very reliable grid, and energy security has rarely been an issue for consideration. That picture is slowly changing and could change further as the UK grapples with the practicalities of the energy transition. 

While some energy security issues can stem from within a site, such as the failure of old or poorly maintained infrastructure, much of it stems from grid issues, outside of the control of an individual business. Instead, good energy security focuses on the ability of a site to operate independently of grid supply, whether that is for a few seconds, a few hours or even indefinitely. There are a range of established technologies used to achieve this, such as Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) in the event of a momentary disruption, or generator backups for a longer outage. 

Why are Batteries so Important? 

Many of the established methods of bolstering the security of the site overlook the third primary objective of an effective energy management strategy; sustainability. Progressing towards net zero should be a priority for any business, and many existing energy security technologies risk actively working against that aim. Diesel generators are an obvious example, but even UPS significantly increases energy consumption and associated carbon emissions. 

Battery energy storage systems (BESS) are invaluable when it comes to balancing energy security with progressing your sustainability ambitions. With far lower losses than traditional UPS, BESS doesn’t compromise a site’s energy efficiency and emissions. Further, rather than protecting only a specific area of infrastructure or critical equipment, BESS can offer site-wide protection from disruption, something that is increasingly important as greater digitisation means that disruption anywhere on a site can risk outages and lost data. 

Building an effective energy security strategy is challenging and requires specialist knowledge to ensure that an overlooked vulnerability doesn’t compromise a site. The all-important first step is to review how secure your current energy is, and what factors could influence that both now and in the future. The next step is then to find the solutions that can mitigate or eliminate those risks, ensuring that your site has reliable power at all times. 

Find out how Powerstar can help ensure reliable power for your site here

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