Carlsberg exploring energy storage to supplement onsite generation

EXCLUSIVE: Carlsberg’s director of environment and utilities, Adam Pawelas, has revealed that the global brewer is in the “early stages” of exploring integration methods for energy storage to support onsite generation.

Carlsberg's Sverige brewery in Falkenberg is the firm's first carbon-neutral site

Carlsberg's Sverige brewery in Falkenberg is the firm's first carbon-neutral site

With the energy storage market set to double six times by 2030, industry experts from global brewer Carlsberg, energy solutions advisor Centrica Business Solutions and conservation charity the National Trust discussed the role of energy storage to optimise onsite renewables generation during edie’s Powering Ahead webinar last week.

During the webinar, Carlsberg’s director of environment and utilities, Adam Pawelas, noted that storage solutions are being explored by the brewer, but only as one part of the energy matrix.

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“At the moment, we consider battery storage a supplementary solution. We are at the early stages and will not be focusing solely on batteries,” Pawelas said. “In some markets, power-load management is a feasible option to be an active player either by us or by a third party.

“We have some locations where we would like to grow our solar projects where our base load will not be able to consume the installed capacity of those solar PV systems, and there, we will consider the extension of battery storage.”

Carlsberg, which is one of only three major companies to have set and approved a science-based target to reach a 1.5C ambition in line with the Paris Agreement, currently sources 45% of its electricity onsite, but storage solutions aren’t as advanced as onsite renewables for the firm.

The company has vowed to source 100% renewable electricity and eliminate coal as a source of energy by 2022 and the timing couldn't be better. The business community is in the midst of a renewables revolution, with a record amount of installations coming online in 2017. Tumbling installation costs, combined with a plethora of technology solutions, have created an optimal environment to invest in onsite generation.

In fact, more than 100 not-for-profit organisations, including the National Trust, RSPB and Oxfam, have collectively saved almost £7m on energy procurement costs, after generating more than 48GWh on renewable energy to power estates in 2017.

The National Trust has installed more than 100 renewables arrays on its estate in the past five years and currently generates 12% of its heat damned onsite.

During the webinar, the Trust’s lead project manager for renewable energy investment, Adrian Fox, noted the charity would look at alternative options such as sleeving and hydro-schemes before installing battery storage facilities at any of its sites.

“Our organisation is probably a little bit more risk-adverse, so we are waiting a little bit longer for [storage] developments in terms of cost and security to be established, but it is something we do and will continue to consider on a case-by-case basis,” Fox added.

Battery benefits

Despite the accelerated growth of renewables deployment, concerns are rightly still in place about the intermittency of power from sources like solar and wind, leading many to believe that energy storage could be a “silver bullet” to harness clean energy.

In light of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) report predicting that more than $100bn will be invested into storage solutions during the next 15 years, the webinar turned to a discussion of the environmental and financial payback businesses can expect from investing in storage.

Centrica Business Solutions’ head of distributed energy solutions sales, Tim Wynn-Jones, explained that while a “correctly-sized battery in the right environment and location can drive a very attractive payback,” it should not be considered “the holy grail that many people proclaim it to be”.

He noted that businesses were likely to install storage systems for one of three reasons: stabilising private wire networks in the local area, enabling energy arbitrage or supporting the rollout of EV infrastructure – noting that payback would be “very different” for each.

“If you build in the cost of loss that you would experience from power interruptions and how long it would take you to become fully operational again in that instance, this clearly makes the business case more attractive,” Wynn-Jones said

“If you are purely focusing on using a battery to generate revenues in isolation, I think many speculative investors are going there now but more prudent investors are waiting until the technology costs fall further.”

To find out more about the business benefits of commercial battery systems, you can download the edie guide to energy storage by clicking here.

Sarah George


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| energy storage | national trust | renewables

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