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Northumbrian Water agrees 'second life' energy storage deal

Northumbrian Water is planning to pilot the use of large-scale battery storage at a number of sites across the North East, Essex and Suffolk.

Northumbrian will be partnering with Argonaut Power, Ingenious’ flexible energy platform, which will be covering the investment costs. Argonaut will also manage the operation of the battery array and benefit by taking a share of the savings and income achieved.

The aim of the pilot is to prove the process' ability to reduce Northumbrian Water's energy costs.

Argonaut offers Behind the Meter (‘BtM’) storage, which can help manage energy loads and reduce electricity spend. Batteries can be charged at low cost during the night to then power the company’s sites during high-cost evening peak times, and can also help National Grid to balance supply and demand as well as grid frequency across the UK.

The batteries themselves are ‘second life’ li-ion units recovered from Renault electric vehicles, with energy storage engineers Connected Energy providing the technology. Strategic advisor Ikigai Capital was fundamental in creating a bankable structure for the project.

A contract with Northumbrian is expected to be signed by the end of the year with the batteries in full operation by the end of summer 2019.

The agreement comes following the announcement in spring 2018 of a four-year deal between the Northumbrian Water and Danish energy supplier Orsted for all 1,858 of the water company's sites to use renewable electricity, and the unveiling of plans to work with Lightsource BP to create 10 new solar farms.

Anthony Browne, energy development manager at Northumbrian Water, said: "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. We expect that having batteries on site can also help us get more value from any renewable energy we generate on our sites. Again, we expect this to become more important in the future as we develop more and more renewables, so this early learning is important."

Argonaut Power managing director Roberto Castigliano said: "We are excited to enter into an exclusive partnership with NWL to install and manage BtM storage on some of their critical sites. NWL has been very collaborative and supportive in structuring the projects. We believe we have created something unique and innovative through a combination of technical and financial engineering. As far as we know, we're the only fully-funded solution offering 30-year storage installations to C&I customers under a revenue sharing agreement, boosting site profitability."

Connected Energy CEO Matthew Lumsden added: "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. 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."

Author: Robin Hackett, editor, WWT
Topic: Energy/Water Nexus , Innovation , Sustainability & social value
Tags: renewables , electricity , Innovation , Northumbrian Water , energy , technology


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