RENEWABLE TECHNOLOGY FEATURE Finding extra capacity for sustainability

The global movement for more sustainable means of operation has seen businesses work hard to cut their emissions and embrace greener working practices, writes Paul Sheffield, chief operating officer at Haven Power. In addition, the public has recently piled further pressure on to the government, with protests bringing Central London to a standstill


espite all their efforts towards achieving a sustainable future, the

manufacturing and engineering sectors could become subject to heightened demands from the government around sustainable practices, as a reaction to the intensified public outcry. Yet it can be challenging to determine which areas to focus on, and how to prioritise budgets, in order to gain the best returns when it comes to increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon output. Battery storage technology is one

potential area manufacturing and engineering businesses can explore. Planning applications for battery storage capacity in the UK rose from just 2MW in 2012 to a cumulative total of 6,874MW in 2018, according to renewableUK. And demand isn’t just driven by sustainability; battery storage technology has been making businesses more resilient in the face of fluctuating energy prices by reducing carbon emissions, improving energy efficiency and reducing reliance on the grid. Recent research conducted by Haven

Power found that 33 per cent of UK businesses have already installed battery storage facilities onsite, while a further 36 per cent said they had considered it. For sectors like manufacturing and engineering, building resilience is business-critical, as unstable or even failing energy supplies can affect production.

TECHNOLOGY CHARGING AHEAD Batteries were once deemed expensive but costs have dropped significantly in recent years, thanks to the increasing scale of the electric vehicle industry. The Guardian reports that prices have fallen by more

than €1,000 per kilowatt of energy capacity from 2010, to about €150-200 per kWh today. Lithium-ion batteries have also undergone significant improvements, now promising maximised charge speed and energy capacity. But electric vehicles aren’t the only

application where the benefits of battery storage can be yielded. Buildings and facilities generating renewable energy can utilise batteries to store low-carbon electricity for later use. Battery storage also benefits

businesses that don’t generate their own energy. For those solely relying on the grid, battery storage can reduce day-to-day operational costs. The issue with relying on grid electricity is the peaks and troughs that can impact energy costs. The weekday peak, between 4pm and 7pm, drives up the cost of usage during that period. The flexibility of battery storage means those peaks and troughs can be ironed out, reducing the higher costs.

REAPING THE REWARDS Another big advantage to implementing battery technology is the rewards businesses can reap through demand side response (DSR). This is an initiative in which the government offers financial rewards to businesses that change the way they use power at certain times. DSR rewards can increase depending on how readily a business can reduce emissions by switching its electricity use to an alternative source. Some businesses are benefiting from

DSR by using automated systems to switch at less than a second’s notice. There are simpler approaches available that unlock the same financial benefits.


The rewards increase further for businesses that can sell excess electricity back to the grid. Other National Grid schemes such as firm frequency response (FFR) also offer businesses incentives to react quickly to system frequency changes. The increasing dependency on

imported energies, such as gas and oil, could result in higher wholesale prices for business in the UK. When used together, alternative energy sources such as solar power and battery storage technology can increase cost savings and mitigate market fluctuations. By making their stored energy available to the UK network, businesses can also open new revenue streams.

OPTIMISING EFFICIENCY Choosing an energy supplier that can optimise battery technology by carrying out in-day trading and provide day-ahead pricing, will help maximise savings and revenue. This will also help inform businesses when to buy and when to rely on battery-stored electricity. Suppliers should also report renewable energy usage to inform the total emissions report of the business. An estimated $620bn will be invested

over the next 22 years, Bloomberg reports. Battery technology is no longer confined to just large-scale energy users and late adopters will risk having to play catch-up on emissions reductions, while paying higher energy costs and diminished competitive advantage. It is hard to ignore the potential that battery technology holds for manufacturing and engineering businesses.


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