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Boost your site's energy resilience with Battery Storage

Improving your business energy security strategy with battery power.

New developments in battery storage technology and falling costs are empowering this technology as an affordable, highly reliable and sustainable solution to the business risks posed by energy-related failures.

The threat to businesses of power supply disruption is growing. Our recent business energy resilience report showed that 81% of the 300 UK and Ireland business leaders we surveyed had experienced at least one energy-related failure in the last 12 months. 51% thought it would happen again in the next year, with 27% expecting more frequent occurrences over the next five years. While our newly released energy advantage report highlights the benefits of tackling these challenges, with the most energy advanced businesses 2.5 time as likely to be achieving strong financial performance and 2/5th of organisations have seen significant cost reductions from implementing energy solutions, including those supporting site resilience.

Increasing threat of energy-related failures

Power supply reliability is increasingly being compromised by factors such as renewable power injections, severe weather, cybercrime, and Grid congestion. Without doubt, the biggest challenge to the system’s energy resilience is the growing share of renewable generation in the energy supply mix. Intermittent wind and solar energy is rapidly displacing fossil-fuelled power generators, which provide steady 'base load' generation and contribute towards the system’s inertia. Power network stability is, therefore, compromised – creating operational challenges for network operators in keeping the lights on and delivering affordable, secure and stable energy to consumers.

Securing on-site supply

Businesses can protect themselves against supply failures by using batteries to store surplus power from on-site generation, such as solar, wind and combined heat and power (CHP). This stored power can be instantly switched on in the event of energy supply disruptions – providing a carbon free uninterruptable power supply (UPS) within a split second. For the majority of time, stored power can be used when the sun isn't shining, or the wind isn't blowing – to avoid consuming energy from the grid when costs are peaking.

In a virtuous circle, the stored power can contribute towards making the network more resilient by exporting energy to the Grid at times of system stress via Demand Side Response (DSR) schemes. This supports the continued deployment of renewables, while providing an attractive additional revenue stream for businesses.  

Dire consequences of power failures

The potential negative impact of energy-related failures is huge. It's not just a case of the lights going out. Even a brief power interruption can trip IT systems and other critical equipment, which can take hours to restore. Prolonged outages can, of course, cause more serious damage.

Among our survey respondents who had experienced energy disruption:

  • 39% had experienced unscheduled downtime
  • 30% had lost revenue
  •  23% reported equipment damage
  • 14% had lost inventory
  • 11% said their energy-related failure had threatened safety and lives
  • 19% said it had increased energy costs
  • 9% reported a fall in company value
     

Our research shows that UK businesses without an energy resilience strategy could be risking 17% of their revenue, equating to approximately £2.8m annual financial loss due to damages and lost opportunities.

Advances in battery storage technology

The urgent need to strengthen energy security is leading more organisations to explore battery storage technology as part of their carbon-free resilient energy strategy. Modern Litihium-Ion batteries are capable of providing a stable and reliable energy supply to sites or vehicles during times of system stress or high prices. They can then be recharged using distributed energy sources during low-cost, low demand periods. Excess battery charge can be sold to the Grid, which attracts much higher revenues during DSR events. In this way, batteries provide greater control over energy costs, operational risk and carbon emissions.

Adding an extra tier of resilience for critical sites

For sites with critical power requirements, such as data centres, hospitals, transport hubs and manufacturing operations, battery storage adds another tier of emergency power to support existing emergency generators and UPS systems. At other less critical sites it may offer a replacement to traditional carbon-intense standby systems, such as diesel generators.

By using battery power to participate in DSR programme, energy security is further strengthened by the ability to 'live' test standby generators 'on load', ensuring that all emergency power technologies are operating reliably and efficiently.

An extra layer of resilience is added during the battery installation and site preparation phases, when all existing generation assets will be examined. This can highlight potential weaknesses and provide an opportunity to implement improvements before problems arise. Once operational, businesses can gain real-time visibility of all their energy assets by connecting the battery storage to an energy control centre, offering further opportunities for proactive operation and maintenance.

Battery storage in action

We're helping Gateshead Council to improve energy resilience after installing one of the UK's largest commercial battery storage schemes. The 3MW/3.33MWh system ensures that the Gateshead District Energy Centre can respond to any fluctuations in demand in under a second. It is capable of storing enough energy from the 4MW CHP system to meet the needs of 3,000 homes for one hour. This ensures that the local businesses and residents benefit from stable and reliable power, without being exposed to any fluctuations. We're managing the project under a 10-year O&M contract, providing various optimisation services and commercialising the battery in a number of DSR flexibility services. This enables the Council to earn an income to support its public services, while securing the reliability of its site operations and also contributing towards balancing and stabilising the Grid.

The advent of lower cost, longer life battery storage products and falling materials costs are increasing the financial viability of this fast-growing technology. As well as securing continuity of operations by ensuring that businesses can operate off-grid during any Grid supply disruption, it offers many other benefits.

Business Benefits of battery storage

  • Ensures your business is 'always on', even during prolonged Grid failures.
  • Stores surplus energy, which can power operations when energy prices spike.
  • Reduces costs by recharging during low-demand, low-cost periods.
  • Maximises your use of renewable power, while contributing towards the integration of more renewables onto the Grid.
  • Generates revenue via DSR, with sufficient agility to participate in lucrative short-term power markets.
  • Generate long-term and stable revenue in the Capacity Market.

Find out more about Battery Storage from Centrica Business Solutions.