Edinburgh hotel becomes first in UK to run off battery power in green energy drive

A Premier Inn in Edinburgh will be the first hotel in Britain to run on battery power, its owners have claimed.

The hotel, which sits on the outskirts of the Scottish capital close to the airport, has installed a five-tonne lithium ion battery.

The battery will charge up from the national grid during cheaper off-peak hours. Then, the 200-room hotel will switch to using the battery alone for up to three hours at a time. 

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Whitbread, the company which runs Premier Inn, said the trial battery storage technology could save the Edinburgh Park hotel about £20,000 a year.

Cian Hatton, the firm’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.”

Whitbread said the test would help them meet their commitment to halve its carbon emissions by 2025.

The battery – which is three cubic metres in size – was installed by energy company E.ON. Their customer accounts director, Richard Oakley, said E.ON would remotely monitor and control the battery storage at the Premier Inn.

“By adding the flexibility of battery storage we can also help Whitbread to upgrade to the full-board option of drawing electricity from the grid when prices are low, storing that energy for use at peak times and having the ability to sell it back to the grid to help balance supply and demand on the network.”

The Edinburgh hotel was chosen to trial the new technology because Scotland produces large amounts of renewable electricity, which is volatile and fluctuates in availability throughout the day.

An array of companies and countries are investing in battery storage as one way of smoothing out electricity supply from wind and solar power.

Teenage activist inspires school strikes to protest climate change

Tesla, the electric car maker led by eccentric billionaire Elon Musk, has used the technology which powers its vehicles to build battery storage across the world, including a 100 megawatt facility to help the state of South Australia avoid blackouts.

The firm is also one of many, including Swedish flat-pack furniture giant Ikea, which now offer smaller battery packs to install at home.

These allow people with solar panels to store any excess power generated, which can then be used later when the sun goes down. 

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18/50 27 December 2018

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20/50 25 December 2018

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21/50 24 December 2018

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PA

22/50 23 December 2018

Team Dash and Splash swimmers, some in fancy dress, getting into the Irish Sea at Bangor beach in Northern Ireland

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Getty

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36/50 9 December 2018

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40/50 5 December 2018

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AFP/Getty

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AFP/Getty

49/50 26 November 2018

Artist Joseph Hillier and his sculpture – Messenger, depicting “a young powerful woman”, which will be unveiled next year for Theatre Royal Plymouth. The sculpture, spanning seven metres high and nine metres wide, is too large to be put together at Castle Fine Arts foundry, near Oswestry, so it’s being made in sections with 30 master craftsmen to weld them together

PA

50/50 25 November 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May gives a press conference at the end of the European Council meeting in Brussels. The leaders of the 27 remaining EU member countries (EU27) have endorsed the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement and approved the draft political declaration on future EU-UK relations in a special meeting of the European Council on Britain leaving the EU under Article 50

EPA

Battery storage is thought by many to be an essential part of shifting to a greener energy grid, as they allow operators to balance supply and demand in the grid despite using renewable sources like the wind and the sun which cannot be turned on and off.

Bridgit Hartland-Johnson, from the Danish energy company Orsted, said: “Our electricity consumption pattern is changing and is becoming less predictable as we use more electronic devices and electrify our transport system.”

Orsted completed its first standalone battery storage site in the UK this week, a 20 megawatt facility located in Liverpool. 

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Matthew Wright, the firm’s UK managing director, said: “Climate change is a real and pressing threat to our planet and, in order to minimise its effects, we urgently need to decarbonize our electricity system.

“Batteries, and other innovative storage technologies, will form a critical part of an integrated green energy system required to ensure we keep the lights on without harming our planet.”

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