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Can a BESS only work if it’s coupled with solar or wind turbines?

A common misconception is that a battery energy storage system (BESS) is only applicable for businesses that our generating their own renewable energy on site.

05/10/2023

The reality is that a BESS can be a stand-alone solution that can help your organisation to reduce energy bills, reduce the carbon intensity of the energy you buy, and even help balance your local grid.

Here are three ways in which a BESS can benefit your business, even if you don’t have your own microgrid:

01. Cheaper energy

The function of a BESS is to act as an energy reservoir. You can use the BESS to buy and store energy during quieter periods when you are paying off-peak rates instead of peak tariffs. The BESS can then provide that energy to your business during peak periods.

This can prove very useful to businesses that rely on peak shaving to manage their energy costs. Peak shaving – also called load shifting – is the process of reducing your energy consumption from the grid during peak periods.

The way portions of your energy bills are calculated has changed, making peak shaving more important than ever. Using a BESS to provide additional energy also means less load shifting, which is when a business will cut certain energy-intensive activities during peak periods to reduce its bills. You can read our recent blog on peak shaving here.

02. Cutting carbon

You can also set up a BESS to buy energy when the grid is at its greenest – when renewable energy is abundant. This cuts the carbon intensity of your energy consumption, which can help you meet decarbonisation targets or corporate ESG goals. For companies that have to report their emissions, using more green energy from the grid reduces your Scope 2 emissions.

If cutting carbon is your primary goal, then make sure you invest in a BESS that uses second life batteries like Connected Energy’s E-STOR. We take batteries from end-of-life electric vehicles and give them a useful second life in stationary energy storage. Independent research we commissioned found that our systems can provide a positive carbon benefit of 450tCO2e for every 1MWh installed, compared with a BESS fitted with brand new batteries.

03. Grid balancing

A battery energy storage system (BESS) can also help balance your local grid, improve energy resilience, and provide you with a revenue stream.

As the amount of renewable energy in our power generation mix increases, the reliability of energy generation decreases. This is because renewables generation is intermittent, as the turbines only turn when the wind blows, and solar relies on the sun shining.

BESS can help to smooth out the peaks and troughs in renewable energy generation by storing energy then discharging it when it is needed. National Grid values those organisations that can provide grid balancing services and is happy to pay for it.

National Grid ESO buys energy by the megawatt (MW). If your BESS provides less than 1MW – our E-STOR systems are 300kW – you won’t be able to sign a contract to directly supply the grid. However, there are companies out there called aggregators. As the name suggests they aggregate smaller providers to create those 1MW blocks to sell to the grid. You can read more about the aggregator model in our recent blog.

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