Archive for October, 2016

The advent of commercial-scale energy storage is set to be a key theme in the energy world for the next few years.

Storing renewable (and other) energy generated during periods of low demand to then release during peak demand periods offers huge potential while also limiting the need for new power stations.

To put that in context, National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios predicts that by 2040 up to 18GW of batteries could be installed at commercial and domestic sites, five times the capacity of the £18 billion Hinckley Point C Nuclear power plant (raising further questions about the need and viability of new nuclear).

Production booming

Battery efficiency is improving and costs falling, which, coupled with incentives, are making battery storage a realistic option for many businesses, meaning they can avoid using peak price electricity from the grid, while selling excess capacity.

The main factor in the increasing uptake is the dramatic fall in the cost of lithium batteries (down 80% in last five years according to some estimates), with further falls expected. Tesla is the best known battery company, while China is ramping up production as only they can. Tesla’s planned gigafactory plans to produce 35GW of batteries a year from 2017, pushing costs down by 30%.

Storage contracts and incentives

National Grid announced the first 1GW of storage projects recently, potentially saving up to £200 million by balancing the system more efficiently. As storage capacity increases so flexible demand and response schemes become more viable and generate greater benefits, along with stronger business case for businesses investing in storage.

While mass uptake of battery technology may be a little while off, storage is set to be one of the main energy themes of the next few years, creating opportunities for businesses to reduce peak energy costs while profiting from excess capacity.

Advertisements

Eight years after water deregulation was introduced in Scotland, April 2017 marks the opening of the English water market to competition. From next year businesses in England can choose their water supplier, opening up opportunities for price cuts and service improvements.

Experience from Scotland shows that savings of up to 25% may be possible, while competition should stimulate water companies to improve their service, billing systems and value added offers (eg around water efficiency). At a minimum, consolidating multiple supplies with a single provider should simplify things.

From October this year businesses will be able to give notice to their incumbent water company that they intend to switch supplier (or at least look at alternatives).

This means now’s the time to audit your water supplies, consumption and cost data to firstly ensure you’re paying the correct rates and haven’t been overcharged, and secondly to ensure you’re best placed to switch supplier next April.

For Thames Water customers change is definitely coming, after the supplier announced it would be transferring all business customers to a new supplier, Scotland-based Castle Water, and withdrawing from the commercial market. Thames will remain a domestic supplier and run the water infrastructure, but from the end of 2016 Castle will take over billing and customer service.

Do get in touch to discuss how E&CM can help.