Premier Inn installs battery storage, eyes more


Premier Inn has installed a 100kW/200kWh lithium ion battery at an Edinburgh hotel in a bid to work out how battery storage could help cut costs and optimise its load profile.

The Whitbread-owned chain is working with Eon on the trial at the Gyle Hotel, which will also include providing balancing services to National Grid. Eon said it will not immediately use the battery to arbitrage wholesale market prices, but may do so in the future.

Meanwhile, although Premier Inn has installed megawatts of solar across hotel rooftops in recent years, the trial is not integrating storage with onsite generation.

Nevertheless, Eon said using the battery to shift loads out of peak times for at least 2-3 hours a day should save the hotel £20,000 a year.

If the trial works well, the hotel chain is “likely” to rollout storage across more of its estate, especially in areas suffering from power network quality issues. However, it will need to carefully weigh up risk and reward in a constantly changing market.

Cian Hatton, Whitbread’s head of energy and environment, offered the following observations via email Q&A:

What do you hope to learn from the trial? 

“Experience the physical elements; How to integrate with our on-site electrical services, what site considerations are needed for installation and operation of batteries. i.e space, fire safety, ventilation, optimum sizing, location, etc.

“Test the financial benefits of peak avoidance and work through the process to generate revenue from other mechanisms such as frequency response, balancing mechanism, etc.

“Gain an understanding of how to optimise the operation of the battery, balancing site operation with cost avoidance and revenue generation.”

What are the challenges and opportunities posed by storage?

“Challenges; costs savings and revenue generation elements are all out of our control. This makes investing over the long term higher risk than other cost saving measures such as energy efficiency projects.

“Opportunities; reduced business/customer disruption at sites with frequent power outages, cost saving by avoidance of peak charges, revenue generation from providing grid services.”

If it goes well, would you replicate and scale?

“This depends on our view of the risk associated with the business case i.e. certainty on financial incentives to provide flexibility and energy tariff structures. It is likely we will replicate and scale up the use of storage in some capacity but it may be part of a more integrated energy system for sites. In this trial the battery only is being tested. Integration with on-site generation is not being trialled.”

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