Using Energy Storage To Reduce Carbon Footprint

Hands holding a globe “Switching to renewable energy is no longer just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. Energy storage forms a vital link in the transition to net zero, increasing a building’s access to renewably sourced energy, reducing carbon emissions and delivering on ESG.” Says Carlton Cummins, co-founder and CTO of clean technology firm Aceleron.

Energy is one of the key ingredients that determines the very survival of our existence and, over time, we have become accustomed to using increasing amounts of it. We are currently at a highly critical point as we transition from using fossil fuels to cleaner and more abundant renewable energy. With the soaring energy prices we are currently facing, there is a mounting pressure to speed up this transition, making better use of cleaner, greener energy.

As a result, there is a rapidly emerging new energy infrastructure, a key component of which is undoubtedly battery energy storage systems (BESS), which are integral in helping to stretch solar energy into the night and capturing wind energy for when we need to use it. In other words, matching the natural supply with our human demand.

In the Facilities Management industry - as with all of us, improving on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance is proving to go beyond compliance to improving an organisation’s competitive edge; attracting investment, new customers and a talented workforce. BESS has a contributing role to play in improving a building’s ESG performance by providing a reliable, sustainable and cost effective power source.

Expanding Operational Capacity

There are times when a building will need to draw a lot of power at once - for running high power machinery or recharging a fleet of electric vehicles for instance - and this can result in requiring extra grid capacity which may not be readily available.

Battery storage allows power to be unlocked faster than a typical grid can deploy, meaning that electric vehicles can recharge and go quickly and efficiently - or using high power machinery will not mean compromising on power use in other areas.

Providing Cleaner Backup Power

Traditionally, backup power is supplied by diesel generators - harmful to the environment and costly to run, repair and replace. Battery technology has advanced to the point where diesel generators will soon become a thing of the past, providing a reliable, clean power source. Most BESS products have the added advantage of being monitored and controlled remotely, making them smart as well as more sustainable.

Renewable And Grid-Tied BESS - Keeping Costs Down

Connecting a BESS to renewable technology such as solar as well as to the grid creates a super flexible system that guarantees plenty of power. Any excess stored renewable energy can be sold back onto the grid, recouping costs for the running of the building and helping to decarbonise the grid at the same time - and contributing to ESG.

Additionally, when using a general - or green tariff, charging the batteries during off-peak hours (usually between 10pm and 8am) and using battery power during peak hours will result in a huge reduction in a building’s electricity bills.

Taking A Circular Economy Approach

I firmly believe that battery storage needs to be built to last, using materials that can be easily and efficiently repurposed for second, third and hopefully fourth life applications. Taking a circular economy approach to BESS, where the individual components can be removed for repair and/or repurposing is critical to reducing the wastage of materials.

These pieces of equipment are expensive, so finding a serviceable, repairable BESS that will last has the added benefit of keeping long term costs down.

Using solar and wind power requires vast storage capacity, which can be generated through various arrangements, from pumped hydro to compressed air, yet no technology is as exemplary or reliable as batteries.

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Using Energy Storage To Reduce Carbon Footprint