Powering Net Zero with Battery Energy Storage Systems

Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are one of the pivotal components in powering Net Zero, one application of BESS is allowing the power generated from renewables such as wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) to be stored until it’s needed.

This helps to minimise the amount of renewable energy generated in favourable conditions going to waste due to a lack of storage capacity – aiding the transition from non-renewable energy sources.

The intermittency of renewable energy means energy generation can fluctuate significantly – particularly during periods of low wind or high cloud. By storing the renewable energy generated during favourable conditions, BESS can help to counteract these periods of intermittency.

Benefits of battery energy storage systems in a hybrid setup
Additionally, BESS can offer benefits in hybrid setups (a lithium-ion BESS working in synergy with a generator), where non-renewable energy sources are the primary source of power generation. They can help to reduce CO2. and noise emissions by acting as a supplementary power source on sites where diesel generators are present. With less carbon emitted into the atmosphere, the environmental impact of operation is lessened.

The quiet run state of BESS makes them practical for sites that need to adhere to strict noise regulations, while lessened emissions make the technology ideal for ultra-low emission zones. The systems can help organisations remain regulatory compliant and make operational steps towards Net Zero. Reduced generator runtime also means lower fuel consumption – which can positively impact OpEx in the long term.

For applications that require high power demands on start-up, such as a motor start, BESS can be used to provide this additional power alongside a correctly-sized generator – rather than an over-sized generator, which leads to inefficiencies and unnecessary emissions.

Climate concerns expected to drive BESS market growth
The increasing focus on combatting the impact of climate change means it’s an industry forecast to grow over the next five years – rising from an estimated $5.4 billion in 2023 to $17.5 billion in 2028.

Naturally, with this forecasted increase in adoption and investment, there’s an expectation capacity will increase too. Independent energy research and business intelligence company, Rystad Energy, expects global BESS capacity to increase ten-fold by 2030.

What are the barriers to scaling battery energy storage technology?
BESS is still a relatively new technology, and as with many emerging technologies, there are some barriers. Understandably, they can be off-putting to potential adopters – particularly from a commercial standpoint.

Integrating BESS into existing operations, especially for large-scale manufacturing or industrial organisations, is likely to require significant timeframes for both planning and implementation phases.

CapEx for BESS is currently high. However, cost is likely to fall as demand ticks up. The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has prices marked to fall as we enter 2030 – by 47%, 32% and 16% in its low, mid and high price projections, respectively (3).

There’s a skills gap when it comes to BESS. They’re complex systems that consist of hardware components, as well as the software needed to operate them. With these devices not being widely used across industries, people just don’t have the experience of how to utilise them – to achieve environmental targets, reduce fuel costs and hit the same operational output.

Breaking the barriers to BESS and pushing forward with Net Zero strategies
The hire of battery energy storage solutions provides a practical entry point to this emerging technology, as well a solution to help organisations achieve environmental goals.

  • Hire doesn’t require the high CapEx commitment purchasing does. Instead, it’s a considerably lower OpEx, enabling a phased transitional approach to the technology that will play a pivotal part in powering Net Zero. It also makes the infrastructure easier to scale.
  • There’s no commitment to maintenance costs, or finding and employing people with the highly specialist and, at this point in time, niche skills needed to carry out this work.
  • Organisations face less pressure and investment in getting employees immediately upskilled to maximise the potential of the technology. Here, at Aggreko, for example, we have specialists with the installation and operational insight needed to implement BESS in the most practical and efficient ways.

How have some companies benefitted from battery energy storage technology?
Here are some examples where the environmental impact of a project has been reduced as a result of running a hybrid system, or where BESS has helped to harness the power of renewable energy in the UK.

Sir Robert McAlpine, Construction Tower Crane Application: ‘Swapped a 320kVA generator for a 200kVA battery hybrid systems (BESS paired with a generator running hydrotreated vegetable oil) to power a tower crane hoisting and slewing 12.5t weights. From this switch, Sir Robert McAlpine saw a 45% decrease in emissions – from 26,426kg to 14,554kg of CO2e across the course of the project. Fuel usage also decreased by 45% – from 96,096 litres to 52,926 litres.

Keltbray, Clean and Quiet Hybrid Power for Construction Site: installed space saving, off-grid power units – 16kW of useable lithium-ion phosphate battery storage. This enabled silent operation periods, as well as reducing emissions. By the end of the project, 1.1 litres of fuel had been saved every hour – 1,531 litres in total across a runtime of 1,392 hours. It also resulted in carbon emissions being reduced by 4.1 tonnes.

2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham, Renewable Power Supply: A Battery Energy Storage Systems was integrated seamlessly with solar panels to deliver around 10.8 MWh of clean solar energy at Victoria Park in Leamington Spa – host of the Lawn Bowls event. The rest of the energy was produced at optimal efficiency due to battery optimisations. Through this implementation, the event organisers were able to reduce fuel consumption by approximately 1,711 litres per week, while CO2 emissions were cut by 5,571kg per week.

Lexi Green is Product Marketing Lead at Aggreko


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top