A third of UK utility firms have invested in onsite battery storage, survey reveals

One in three UK-based businesses have installed onsite battery storage facilities at one or more of their sites, a new survey of 1,000 utility managers has revealed.

A third of survey respondents had already installed onsite batteries, while a further third said they would be keen to explore the feasibility of the technology for their business

A third of survey respondents had already installed onsite batteries, while a further third said they would be keen to explore the feasibility of the technology for their business

The survey, conducted by electricity supplier Haven Power, highlighted that a third of utility firms are already implementing sustainable solutions, with 33% revealing they have onsite batteries installed.

It also found that a further third (37%) of energy managers would be keen to explore using battery storage technology to bolster their energy security in the coming months.

While survey respondents were sourced from across the UK, Haven Power found that London-based businesses were the most likely to be investing in sustainable and flexible energy technologies. Of London-based respondents, around three-quarters (75%) said they understood how to sell excess energy generated from onsite renewable arrays back to the grid, for example, compared to 11% of those in Wales.

“It’s positive to see that businesses are very open to implementing sustainable changes, especially if they’re not already doing so,” Haven Power’s chief operating officer Paul Sheffield said.

“It’s clear that even small switches to renewable energy could help the nation achieve the Government’s emissions targets, therefore it’s imperative that businesses of all sizes work towards this shared goal.”

The survey results, published on Wednesday (3 October), reveal that more than half (51%) of British businesses consider energy usage as one of their top three priorities, alongside employment (55%) and cyber security (42%).

The data follows on from a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Bloomberg NEF) study predicting that the global lithium-ion battery market for energy storage will reach at least $239bn by 2040. According to Bloomberg NEF, batteries will compete with natural gas to provide grid and systems flexibility.

Similarly, a recent report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that storage installations could experience a 17-fold growth by 2030 due to the rapidly falling price of batteries.

More recently, The World Bank has launched a first-of-its-kind $1bn funding programme to fast-track deployment of battery storage projects in developing countries.

Microgrids for motorcars

In related news, luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce this week revealed that it is investing in a German company which produces innovative energy storage systems.

The firm said in a statement on Monday (1 October) that it has purchased an unspecified stake in Qinous, which describes itself as a “system integrator of smart plug-and-play energy storage solutions”.

Rolls-Royce said in a statement that it had made the investment in a bid to support grid stability as more and more renewable energy projects come online. The microgrids which Qinous produce combine co-generation plants, diesel and gas generation and renewable sources with batteries and a control system to promote energy security, the statement claims.

“We have identified our customers’ needs in terms of autonomous energy supply systems that are efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly,” Rolls-Royce Power Systems’ chief executive Andreas Schell said.

“For this reason, we are now adding turnkey microgrids to our current portfolio. This strengthens our position as a provider of innovative power solutions able to supply our customers with microgrid systems tailored to their specific requirements.”

Rolls-Royce first revealed that it was “actively exploring” flexible energy generation led by battery storage last year, as it strives to meet a 2025 target of halving its CO2 emissions against a 2014 baseline. In 2016, the company ring-fenced around £11m to invest in energy and carbon reduction initiatives, including the installation of a giant rooftop solar system at one of its largest UK factories.

You can find out more about microgrids in edie's newly launched edie Explains guide. To download and read the guide in full, click here

Sarah George


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energy storage | technology

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Technology & innovation | Renewables
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