UK water firm to employ battery systems across British sites

U.K. water utility Northumbria Water (NWL) announced plans to install nine battery storage systems at its sites across England, in the North East, Essex, and Suffolk.

Reportedly, the battery systems will help the company to reduce high electricity bills, due to increased consumption, as well as providing grid services and uninterrupted power supply.

To this end the water utility is working together with Agronaut Power, a C&I battery supplier, specializing in this type of battery planning. Agronaut Power’s offering is characterized by revenue sharing with the client, which does not cause any CAPEX for NWL.

“Large scale battery storage is going to be a major feature of the electricity industry going forward, and this is a great chance for us to learn how we can benefit from it.” Anthony Browne, Energy Development Manager at Northumbrian Water, said.” We expect that having batteries on site can also help us get more value from any renewable energy we generate on our sites.”

According to the statement issued by NWL, the relevant contracts are expected to be signed by the end of the year, and the batteries will be in full operation by the end of summer 2019. Furthermore, all batteries will be in the MW-scale, though exact sizes for each site are still subject to assessment to maximize benefits from each site.

Another feature of the project is that the batteries will be supplied by Connect Energy, which uses Renault’s second-life EV batteries for its storage applications. Connected Energy’s system is characterized by the fact that it controls each battery pack individually, using the battery packs own management system. Through that, parameters like health status, charge and heat can be monitored and steered accordingly to optimize the utilization of each battery.

“It′s great to be working with Argonaut and Northumbrian Water on this project. This is a project with innovation and sustainability in its DNA, from our second life battery energy storage systems through to new operating and financing models,” said Connected Energy CEO Matthew Lumsden. “It′s great to be able to demonstrate how companies installing energy storage behind the meter can generate new revenue streams as well as bolstering their sustainability credentials.”

NWL stresses that these plans are in line with is business plan 2020-2025, which reportedly sets ambitious goals to ‘deliver improvement to the environment’ and seeks to slash customer’s bills. In this vein, NWL says that it had signed a four-year deal with Orsted to deliver renewable energy to all of its 1,858 sites in England and similar ambitions to build 10 new solar farms with Lightsource BP.

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