As the UK’s electricity grid becomes more complicated, with increased amounts of embedded renewable energy generation, managing it to maintain the balance between electricity supply and demand becomes increasingly complex. In order to do this, new technologies such as battery storage are being developed, but can growers utilise them to save money or generate extra income?
That was one of the main questions posed by a recent GrowSave event held at Kenilworth ahead of the 2017 Tomato Growers Association Conference. Tim Pratt of FEC Energy gave a comprehensive overview of the various mechanisms used to supply and balance the grid, together with the potential incomes and challenges associated with each, while Jon Swain looked at the particular issues associated with battery storage for short-term frequency balancing. For growers with access to a grid connection, hosting one of these facilities may be attractive, but the economics are marginal at best and it is important that any growers considering this look carefully at the costs and contract details.
Oli Coe explained that heat storage is more likely to be of immediate benefit to greenhouse growers. Heat storage systems based around water tanks are frequently included as part of greenhouse heating systems, particularly where biomass boilers or CO2 generation is involved, where they allow optimal boiler efficiency. However, FEC Energy has found that many systems operate below optimum efficiency, and that simple steps can be taken to improve this.
With additional presentations from Priva and Certhon, the GrowSave Energy Storage workshop provided growers with plenty of food for thought, as well as some take-home practical messages to ensure the efficiency of their own heating systems.
Image credit: GrowSave.
Read the original article at GrowSave.