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How BESS can support sustainable buildings for facilities and energy managers.

Bridging the capacity gap: How battery energy storage systems can support sustainable buildings.


When it comes to the grid, energy is a finite resource. It’s easy to forget that power is limited when we are so accustomed to throwing a switch and our device or appliance turns on

But for businesses, energy consumption is capped – go over your agreed limit and your distribution network operator (DNO) will hit you with surcharges. This is because most public and commercial buildings share a grid connection with their neighbours, and the DNO needs to ensure each building gets its fair share.

Your building’s share is set out in your contract, as your maximum import capacity (MIC). This is the upper limit on the total electrical demand you can place on the network. It is usually set to ensure that it meets the requirements of peak demand, with a little headroom for exceptional circumstances. Breach your MIC and you will incur excess capacity charges.

Growing importance

You might ask, why do facilities managers need to know about MIC? Most energy initiatives around buildings are focused on reducing consumption, not increasing it. However, there are trends underway that could dramatically affect power usage on your premises and building managers need to understand how to deal with them.

UK energy usage is forecast to double by 2050 from a 2018 baseline, according to the Climate Change Committee’s sixth carbon budget. This represents a dual challenge for facilities managers as they look to implement energy efficiency against a backdrop of increasing energy use. But where is this additional energy demand coming from? Here are two trends happening now:

1. Electric vehicles

We are entering the first phase of mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), and this will require higher levels of workplace and visitor charging infrastructure. The days of a building getting by with only one or two charging points could soon be behind us – and those extra EV chargers will place high demands on the grid.

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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.

2. Heat pumps

Heat pumps are a highly efficient way to heat buildings and also deliver carbon savings compared to gas boilers. They are a popular method of meeting sustainability goals by reducing a company’s environmental impact.

However, like EV chargers, heat pumps are high load items. Installing them at your site can increase electricity demand and often take you over your MIC.

DNO upgrades

Another factor to consider is that you are not operating in a vacuum. All around you, other facilities managers are looking to boost their MICs for the same reasons. But there is only so much power available from the existing grid connection. Therefore, building managers are increasingly faced with having to pay to enhance the grid’s capabilities, known as a DNO upgrade.

However, a DNO upgrade can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and take months to implement – operators have long waiting lists at present. In some cases, this is now leading to organisations having to postpone or abandon plans for EVs or heat pumps, often core elements of their sustainability strategies. But there is a solution.

Battery Energy Storage Systems

Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) can deliver the additional energy needed to manage periods of peak demand to avoid both MIC surcharges or expensive local infrastructure upgrades.

BESS can store power to provide it as and when it is needed. For facilities management, BESS can deliver the additional energy needed to manage periods of peak demand or avoid the need for expensive local infrastructure upgrades. A heat pump or EV charging hub can increase a site’s peak electricity demand. A BESS can help overcome spikes in demand by discharging energy during peak periods and providing responsive power that can be dispatched quickly.

But when is it cost-effective to install a BESS vs a capacity upgrade? If a site requires an electrical capacity upgrade which is over £250,000 then it’s worth scoping battery storage as a cost-effective alternative.

Talk to the experts

Connected Energy are experts in BESS – and have the greenest solution on the market. We reuse batteries from end-of-life EVs, saving them from landfill and giving them a second life for up to 10 years, after which they can be recycled.

Connected Energy has projects operational in the UK and Europe where our second life battery systems are helping to manage load on constrained connections.

We’ve distilled our expertise on BESS for buildings into a new white paper outlining just how battery energy storage can support buildings towards their sustainability goals. You can download it here . And if you’d like to find out more about how a BESS could be right for your building, talk to us.

Connect with us

Get in touch with our team to discuss whether battery energy storage can work for your business.