New venture offers UK businesses free battery storage installations
Medium and large energy users in the UK private sector have been offered access to battery storage installations, at no extra cost, under a new joint venture.
Eligible businesses will gain access to battery storage facilities jointly installed and operated by investment firm Thrive Renewables and renewable project developer Aura Power, in exchange for a share of their revenues, under a new initiative announced today (14 June).
The project is targeting businesses that are likely spending £500,000 or more on electricity annually, of which the firms estimate there are more than 8,000 nationwide.
“Increasing flexibility in the UK’s electricity system is key to the continued transition to a cleaner, smarter energy network,” Thrive Renewables’ managing director Matthew Clayton said.
“We are offering businesses a straightforward solution; we take the investment risk, manage the development and operate the battery to maximise mutual returns.”
The batteries, which have a minimum capacity of 0.5MW, will be installed either within the businesses’ existing buildings or outside in shipping containers, and will be fitted behind the meter.
Thrive and Aura cited manufacturers, water utilities, pharmaceuticals businesses, cold storage facilities, hotels and large office buildings as potential clients, claiming that a mid-range 2MW battery could save each end-user more than £1m over a 15-year standard contract.
The initiative has been launched at a time when several big-name corporations have indicated their willingness to explore onsite energy storage facilities, provided that the cost of battery technologies decreases. Firms such as Carlsberg, Landsec and Marks and Spencer (M&S), are all exploring options to increase energy resilience and create cost benefits by providing services to the grid.
In fact, home improvement retail giant Kingfisher has unveiled its first UK net-zero energy store this week, which brings together solar panels, battery storage and air source heat pumps to power operations.
Indeed, a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report predicted that the energy storage market will double six times by 2030. Early signs suggest this trajectory could well be accurate. Earlier this week, UK Power Reserve and energy storage firm Fluence, owned by Siemens and AES, claimed to have introduced the UK’s largest storage portfolio deal orchestrated by one technology provider.
Installations will take place across the Midlands and North West England and it will create up to 120MW of extra capacity for the UK grid. The first 60MW phase is set to come online in winter 2018.
Meanwhile, recent research suggests that energy buyers in UK organisations are still struggling to convince leadership teams to let them invest in new energy technology such as onsite renewable arrays and battery technology.
In an annual poll of more than 100 private and public-sector organisations, Centrica Business Solutions found that a third saw leadership buy-in as their biggest challenge, with less than half (49%) set to spend more than £1m on energy technologies over the next two years.
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