Waning grid supply emphasises need for decentralised energy

This week, National Grid explained that unplanned power outages and unusually low wind speeds have been major contributors in low levels of electricity. It is the second warning of its kind in the last month in the UK, highlighting the growing risk industry faces when relying on the local grid infrastructure. Following a warning of short supplies of electricity over the next few days from National Grid, Aggreko is advising industry still reliant on grid supply to look towards decentralised energy solutions.

Decentralised energy solutions may offer an answer, according to Aggreko. Enabling users to generate energy on-site and lessen overreliance on the national grid, technologies such as solar power, combined heat and power (CHP) and battery storage, offer security of supply while lowering overall carbon emissions.

Chris Rason, Managing Director, Aggreko Northern Europe, says: “We understand the challenges facing the industry when it comes to reliance on grid supply. As recently as August 2020, we found that grid limitations were a key cause of power outages in the data centres. Last year, in our report on decentralised energy, 82% of key energy decision makers told us that power continuity was a major or significant concern to their business.

“Decentralised energy solutions offer a solution to remove reliance on the grid, freeing up the stretched energy supply. However, one challenge to overcome is the cost. We would encourage UK industry to consider long-term hire as a solution, ensuring that any plans to implement on-site generation are both successful and cost-effective.”

The latest news follows the government’s pledge for a clean-energy revolution, which aims to power every UK home by wind within 10 years. According to Aggreko, the latest electricity shortages highlight the need for more ‘bridging gap’ solutions, as Rason explains: “October appears to be the month for wind power: highlighting both the benefits and risk of overreliance. If the UK is to successfully implement a wind energy strategy to its national electricity supply, bridging gap solutions will be critical.

“One example could be battery technology. While it is not a new concept, it is still costly for many companies to purchase on an industrial scale. However, the good news is that it is more accessible now, when compared to three years ago, thanks to progress made in the rental space.”

Battery solutions can help alleviate technical difficulties associated with early-stage decentralised energy schemes, mitigating issues such as low and transient loads, alongside voltage and frequency fluctuations.

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