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What are battery energy storage systems and how do they work?

Introducing the concept of battery energy storage on both a commercial and utility scale with our E-STOR and M-STOR systems.

08/01/2024

Storing energy is not a new concept, you may have used small-scale rechargeable batteries for years in your home or workplace. Interest in batteries as an energy store on a commercial scale has increased in recent years. We often get asked to explain exactly what battery energy storage systems are, how they work, and what benefits they can bring to a business. 

To answer these questions we discussed the topic with our Head of Sales, Nigel Dent.

Nigel said: “Battery energy storage systems (or BESS as they are sometimes known) are systems that can capture and store energy – either from the grid or from renewables such as solar and wind power – and then use that power when it is needed.”

Their use on a commercial scale has grown over the last few years, primarily due to two key reasons: the proliferation of solar PV for commercial premises and the growth of electric vehicles which has led to an increased electricity demand needed for charging.

Solar PV generation in the UK has increased substantially in recent years however some of that energy generated can be wasted if the energy is not stored. This is where battery storage comes in. As the world moves to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, renewable energy generation working alongside battery energy storage is key.

Another key driver in the rise of battery energy storage is the increase in the number of electric vehicles on the roads. Lithium-ion, which is used in EV batteries, are ideal for the use of energy storage. Multiple batteries, combined into one system, operated through control systems and software are revolutionary.

Battery energy storage systems may be a relatively new concept however, they are an important component of the new energy mix. Providing multiple benefits to a site, they will become a critical part of energy management systems in the future.

Nigel Dent, Head of Sales, Connected Energy

What are the benefits of battery energy storage?

They can store energy for periods and can then decide when to discharge and use that energy. They can respond to requests to charge and discharge within milliseconds, becoming a critical addition on a busy site with changing requirements.

This could be to manage peak demands or capacity constraints, to reduce costs by using energy from the battery when electricity tariffs are at peak as well as making the most of renewable energy.

Making the most of renewable energy

Both solar PV and wind production are known for their variability. The battery can be charged directly when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, with the ability to then use that energy when it’s not.

Managing peak loads or capacity constraints

For sites with limited power or where they need to bring in additional energy-intensive equipment, battery storage can provide the buffer a site needs.

Supporting EV charging

As the demand for electric vehicles increases, so does the power needed to charge them. Battery energy storage can support this by providing additional power on-site to avoid capacity issues.

Reducing energy costs

By charging the battery when energy costs are lower and using that energy when tariffs are at their peak.

Revenue generation

Battery storage can also provide grid balancing services which is something that the National Grid pays customers for.

E-STOR commercial battery energy storage

At Connected Energy, we have been providing commercial energy storage through our E-STOR systems for several years, with recent case studies including Dundee City Council, the University of Bristol, and the UPDC. The E-STOR system is backed by intelligent software, exceptional service, and lifetime support.

The 300kW/360kWh E-STOR battery storage system is a commercially viable option powered by 24 second life Renault EV batteries within a 20ft container placed on your site. It is flexible in its design to be scaled up to meet your needs and to drive your goals. We can provide a full turnkey solution from feasibility to installation, and maintenance, with finance and funding options in place too.

We recommend that anybody interested in the E-STOR system contacts our team for a feasibility study to ensure we can meet your business objectives, whether about peak shaving, energy trading, improving your carbon output, or reducing your long-term energy costs.

M-STOR utility scale battery energy storage

We’ve discussed the benefits of commercial battery energy storage systems in a commercial setting. But another key application, that we’re expecting to become more prevalent over the next few years, is the development of utility scale energy storage sites.

As the world shifts to more renewable sources of energy, large-scale energy storage will be required to support the renewable generation of solar and wind farm sites. These developments will typically have a high capacity, from several MWh up to GWh, and will be designed to store and discharge large amounts of electricity to play a crucial role in stabilizing the grid and ensuring a reliable power supply of renewables.

Systems of this size will be integrated into the electricity grid and will be used to provide services such as grid stabilization, load balancing and back-up power for large areas. They will also play an important role in energy trading services.

Connected Energy is currently working with a range of partners to develop our first M-STOR, utility scale storage site during 2024.

The future of second life powered energy systems

2024 is going to be a big year for battery energy storage with the energy trilemma, energy crisis, and a push towards net zero, all driving interest and investment in energy storage.

By powering our Connected Energy systems with second life EV batteries we extract additional value from the finite resources embedded in them, essentially doubling a battery’s working life.

We work with a number of OEMs to develop these systems, not least Volvo Energy who signed a letter of intent in 2023 to work with Connected Energy on developing a system together.

Who are Connected Energy?

Connected Energy is a world leader in battery energy storage. Our commercial systems are being used by businesses to store energy – either from renewable sources or direct from the grid. By repurposing electric vehicle batteries, we have created a solution that solves many of the power challenges businesses are facing.

Let's connect!

Get in touch with our team to discuss whether battery energy storage can work for your business, and how we can offer a free feasibility study.