The Gyle Premier Inn in Edinburgh claims to be the first hotel in the country to run on battery power, after announcing the installation of a five-tonne battery on site.
The new arrival checks in with 100kw of storage space. It will charge up during off-peak hours electricity is slightly cheaper and discharge through the day and night, powering the 200-room hotel and its on-site restaurant for up to three hours after a two-hour charge.
It is estimated that the three-metre lithium-ion battery will save the hotel around £20,000 on electricity each year.
Premier Inn parent company Whitbread said that the technology would help its commitment to halve its carbon emissions by 2025.
Cian Hatton, Whitbread’s head of energy and environment, said: “Batteries are of course everyday items, more commonly associated with powering small household goods like the TV remote control, so it’s incredibly exciting to launch the UK’s first battery-powered hotel – an innovation which will save money, ensure security of supply and support the transition to a more flexible grid.”
Scotland is the perfect place to trial this kind of large-scale battery technology in the UK because Scotland has high volumes of renewable power.
Renewable energy generation reached a record high in the UK in 2018, but the technology is still limited by natural wind and sun patterns. No electricity is generated when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.
Using battery technology allows the hotel and other businesses with storage capacity to buy power on particularly windy or sunny days, when electricity is cheap and abundant.
As well as being cheaper, this also allows the National Grid to better match supply and demand – eliminating some of the inefficiencies associated with bringing power stations online and offline.
Other companies made use of battery technology in 2018. In July, B&Q installed large batteries at the company’s Swindon distribution centre to store more of the energy generated by 552 rooftop solar panels.
Electricity stored in the batteries could be released back into the building to provide power during periods of peak pricing and to support overnight operations.
Global resources management company Veolia also uses advanced energy storage technology to improve the performance of the country’s biggest High Temperature Incinerator.
Some technology evangelists predict that battery power is the missing piece in the energy equation. Tesla boss Elon Musk predicted that the expansion of this kind of technology will transform global energy infrastructure, revolutionising not just commercial and domestic energy markets but also the car industry and other markets too.
Commercial energy supplier E.ON installed the battery at the hotel in Edinburgh and will remotely manage the battery’s workload and efficiency from its energy management centre in Glasgow.
Richard Oakley, customer accounts director at E.ON, said: “Premier Inn is showing how hotel chains and large power users can further save money, reduce their carbon footprint and support the development of a lower-carbon, smarter energy grid in the UK.”