Battery demand on the rise in public sector

The electricity expenditure in the public sector has increased fivefold in 2021: – The pressure to cut energy costs and meet tougher emission targets sparks the interest in batteries, says Hagal´s William Braathen.

William Braathen, CCO in Hagal

2/8/2022

Public enterprises such as schools and hospitals need a lot of electricity to maintain sound operations and provide services to the community. With record-high electricity prices, public electricity expenditure in 2021 ended at a staggering NOK 5.7 billion, up from NOK 1.1 billion in 2020. The huge sums that go into financing public energy consumption are the responsibility of the taxpayers.

 

This intensifies the search for more cost-effective solutions that can balance energy consumption and provide a more stable and predictable power supply. Interest in batteries is growing, something the Norwegian battery technology company, Hagal, notices.

 

– Public administration is under great pressure to streamline energy consumption and choose environmentally friendly solutions. Batteries are a flexible technology that enables stable green energy, via solar panels for instance, and reduces electricity costs, says William Braathen, the Chief Commercial Officer at Hagal.

 

– We are experiencing demand from public enterprises that want to explore the possibilities that lie in batteries. 2022 will be the year where batteries and energy storage are finally put on the agenda in the public sector, he says.

 

An enormous potential

Norwegian buildings use around 80 TWh a year. In 2020, comparatively, 212 TWh of energy was used throughout Norway, of which 46 TWh was in Norwegian households. The adopted goal is to save 10 TWh in existing buildings by 2030, but so far the energy consumption in buildings has only stabilized, not decreased.

 

– There is a great potential for energy savings in Norwegian buildings with the use of batteries, especially in combination with solar cells. Solar cells are the only way we can create local electric energy production, an important climate measure in the transition to a zero-emission society, Braathen emphasizes.

 

– The power grid is already heavily loaded in certain periods of the day, especially morning and afternoon. Batteries make it possible to balance the power consumption throughout the day so that we can store or discharge power exactly when we need it. The electricity suppliers try to solve this challenge with power-based grid tariffs where the price depends on how much electricity is used at one time. Hagal, for its part, solves this with batteries and an intelligent energy management system, the battery expert explains.

 

This reduces price fluctuations, while at the same time solving an increasing need for power from the car fleet in the public sector. It may come in handy now that requirements for zero-emission vehicles in the public sector come into force and the need for charging infrastructure grows.

 

Norway has set itself ambitious climate goals under the Paris Agreement, and the public sector will lead the way when it comes to sustainable consumption and production. Green public procurement is an important tool for achieving the goal of a 50 to 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030.

 

Control over energy consumption

– Battery technology enables energy management in a new way. With access to tomorrow’s weather forecast (sunny or cloudy), electricity prices, and activity (weekdays or public holidays), the company gets the correct forecasts of consumption. When combined with power purchases from the grid, the degree of intelligence in the system, or the total efficiency of the control system, will determine how much money has been saved. Only then do you know if it is worth the investment, Braathen explains.

 

Batteries provide great flexibility and help businesses avoid large additional costs that may incur as a result of the newly introduced power-based tariffs. By cutting the power peaks, better economic operation in public administration is ensured.

 

– When price variations between day and night increase, energy storage in batteries provides major savings, better financial predictability, and control of power consumption. For the public sector, this saves a lot of money that can be used to optimize community services and provide increased value to taxpayers, he says.

 

Since 2018, Hagal has worked on the development of battery storage systems. They now collaborate with SINTEF in a program for the safe operation of battery storage systems. The company is a driving force in the green shift with technology that utilizes all the cells in old car batteries until their last charge, giving batteries longer life. For the time being, Hagal only delivers new battery cells for the building´s interior, because they believe that it is currently safer with slightly different battery chemistry for this purpose.

 

5 reasons why batteries are the future of the public sector

  1. To achieve a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030, large amounts of fossil fuels must be replaced with renewable energy sources. Electrification requires local energy storage with batteries, a critical contribution to tomorrow’s power grid.
  1. With large price fluctuations, energy storage in batteries provides great savings. This means more money to optimize public services and added value to the taxpayers.
  1. By integrating batteries in the energy system, it is possible to balance energy consumption, cut peak loads and regulate frequency. Batteries support solar and wind power for local energy production, provide stable access to electricity and backup in the event of a power failure.
  1. Batteries provide important load balance for charging infrastructure. With increased electrification, the grid will struggle to handle the peak load. It is often faster and cheaper to use batteries as an energy source than to upgrade the grid.
  1. Battery management systems are becoming more advanced. It is possible to control power consumption and load, build surplus power, and with good algorithms, use data to optimize the energy pattern.

Contact

Mona Øverby

Mona Øverby

Head of Marketing, Communications and Sustainability

+ 47 408 57 887