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How battery energy storage can help facilities management meet their net zero goals

Find out how battery energy storage can help facilities management meet their net zero goals…

10/05/2023

For many years, facilities managers have focused on reducing energy consumption by deploying a raft of efficiency measures. 

You have probably installed LED lighting and maybe even a building management system – great ways to cut both carbon emissions and energy bills. You might even have a rooftop solar PV array.

However, the next phase in the road to Net Zero is much more complicated, because it is going to significantly increase every building’s energy load. That’s right – your electricity usage is about to go back up.

Why is energy consumption going to increase?

One word: electrification. The next raft of decarbonisation measures you are likely to be asked to implement are installing heat pumps and more electric vehicle (EV) chargers – both high-load items in terms of their pull on the grid.

This can cause problems as your energy supply contract includes something called your maximum import capacity (MIC), which is the upper limit on how much power your building or site can draw down from the grid.

Crucially, most sites experience peak demand spikes, meaning that you might only be exceeding your grid connection capacity for short periods each day. In this instance, paying for a grid upgrade would not make commercial sense.

What if there was a solution available that could not only help you to power these new technologies, and avoid a DNO upgrade but could also integrate with both your BMS and your solar array? The answer could be battery energy storage.

How battery energy storage works

Battery energy storage systems use batteries to store and provide power as and when it is needed. This helps to balance the grid both on a local level, as well as helping companies to get the most from energy generated by renewables such as wind and solar.

Connected Energy has projects operational in the UK and Europe where our second life battery systems are helping to manage the load on constrained connections as well as optimising solar PV generation. In addition, we offer the most sustainable solution possible. This is because we take batteries from end-of-life EVs and give them a second life in BESS, a unique proposition that is far more environmentally friendly than using a BESS with new batteries.

Download our free whitepaper now

Packed full of information to help drive your business into the future, download our guide on battery energy storage to support facilities management in creating the buildings of the future.

How BESS can help facilities managers

BESS can solve many of the challenges facing facilities managers around these next steps for Net Zero:

Avoid a DNO upgrade

A great deal of UK businesses are experiencing capacity issues as they expand their sites or introduce new technology such as EV charging and heat pumps. If your DNO quotes you higher than £200,000 for your capacity upgrade then it’s worth looking at battery storage as a cost-effective alternative.

Manage energy prices

If your energy prices are high during peak periods, it could be more cost-effective to use BESS. Our systems automatically buy and store energy during periods with lower tariffs, enabling your buildings to use it during peak tariff periods. BESS can also give you the ability to sell energy back to the grid, providing an additional revenue stream and helping improve local grid resilience.

Integrate with solar

Solar power is now a tool for reducing costs as much as cutting carbon emissions. A recent study by PowerMarket found that using just 5% of UK commercial buildings’ rooftop space could save £12.6 billion per year on energy bills. BESS can help optimise the value of rooftop renewables by storing surplus ‘green’ energy to make it available as and when it is required. This also boosts the return on investment from renewables.

Crucially, if there is a large cost differential between the cost of energy export and import, then BESS can provide a real return on investment here.

Improve viability

Maximising on-site renewable energy can reduce the cost of supplying electricity to infrastructure such as heat pumps and EV chargers. This can be make or break when it comes to the business case for heat pumps, which is often marginal in the UK due to gas having a lower cost than electricity. Put simply, if you’re looking to implement solar PV arrays or install heat pumps, BESS can reduce the payback period of this infrastructure investment.

BESS in an energy ecosystem

A battery energy storage system is integrated with a site’s existing energy infrastructure, sitting on the same meter points or substation as other assets on site. In addition to managing the peak loads of EV chargers or heat pumps, a BESS can also track other loads on site as well as the total site load. In this way, a BESS helps to ensure that your combination of site loads does not exceed your capacity limit.

Does a building need solar to benefit from a battery energy storage system?

Not every building or site will have renewables installed – but these buildings can still benefit from BESS. Our systems can link directly to the grid, charging when a site’s power demand is at its lowest and then providing that buffer when power usage is at its peak. This could have the benefit of reducing energy bills. A smart BESS can respond to changing electricity tariffs in real time, charging the batteries on low-cost, off-peak tariffs, and then discharging that energy for use when tariffs are at their peak.

Let's connect!

We’ve poured all our expertise on BESS for buildings into a new white paper – you can download it here. And if you’d like to find out more about how a BESS could be right for your premises, talk to us.