UK utility to add storage at water treatment sites

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Northumbria Water (NWL) plans to install nine battery storage systems at its sites across England, in the North East, Essex and Suffolk. They are expected to help the company reduce its high electricity bills, and provide grid services and uninterrupted power supply (UPS).

The U.K. water utility is working together with Agronaut Power, a C&I battery supplier. Agronaut’s offering is characterized by revenue sharing with clients, meaning they have no capital expenditure costs.

“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 a statement issued by NWL, the relevant contracts are expected to be signed by the end of this year, while the systems are set to be fully operational by the end of summer 2019. While all batteries will be in the MW-scale, the exact size for each site is still subject to assessment, it said.

They will be supplied by Connect Energy, which uses Renault’s second-life EV batteries for its storage applications. It controls each battery pack individually, using the battery packs’ own management systems. 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 able to demonstrate how companies installing energy storage behind the meter can generate new revenue streams as well as bolstering their sustainability credentials,” said Connected Energy CEO Matthew Lumsden.

NWL said the plans are in line with is 2020-2025 business plan, which contains ambitious goals to “deliver improvement to the environment” and slash customers’ bills. In this vein, NWL said it has signed a four-year deal with Orsted to deliver renewable energy to all of its 1,858 sites in England, and has similar ambitions to build 10 new solar farms with Lightsource BP.