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Science operator park aims to become an "energy island"

It includes the installation of a Tesla Powerpack system along with two new charging points for electric vehicles

Powerpack system resides outside the Manchester Science Park's Bright Building HQ
Powerpack system resides outside the Manchester Science Park's Bright Building HQ

Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) has invested more than £400,000 in an advanced energy strategy as it seeks to become a self-sufficient “energy island”.


This investment by the science and technology park operator includes installation of a Tesla Powerpack system outside its flagship HQ, the Bright Building at Manchester Science Park, along with two new charging points for electric vehicles.


MSP’s move, understood to be an industry first, will help insulate it from shifting commercial tariffs and escalating non-commodity prices, while also allowing it to substantially reduce its carbon footprint through wider use of renewable energy.


With buildings accounting for more than a third of total UK greenhouse gas emissions, MSP said this latest investment, along with its majority shareholder Bruntwood, is further evidence of their commitment to operating sustainably and addressing the world’s environmental challenges head-on.


Crucially, the Tesla Powerpack also allows MSP to offer customers operating in R&D-heavy sectors unrivalled assurances in resilience and business continuity.


It can kick-in in less than a second should primary power fail, a marked improvement on previous industry norms of up to 30 minutes.


The system at the Bright Building has been installed with four Powerpacks and one inverter. It is a flexible, scalable battery system, with, in this case, the ability to have up to sixteen additional Powerpacks added to it if the requirements for the building increase on a power and/or energy level.


This ability to expand, as future requirements and the energy markets change, provides another level of resilience and reassurance, with the potential for the building to run all day on its energy storage system, if required.


“MSP and Bruntwood are committed to investing in our buildings, utilising cutting-edge technology to both improve the experience of our customers and reduce our carbon footprint,” said Tom Renn, managing director, MSP.


“This pilot installation marks a key milestone in our advanced energy strategy. We have bold plans to harness the opportunities provided by advanced energy. We envisage that within 12 months, the Bright Building will be an energy island – self-sufficient and operating without reliance on the National Grid.”


The project has received grant funding from CityVerve – Innovate UK’s smart city demonstrator project in which MSP is a lead partner.


Earlier this year MSP agreed a three-year finance package with Lloyds Bank in line with the lender’s commercial real estate’s green lending initiative.


Under the terms of its loan, which is the first of its kind to be completed by the bank in the North West of England, MSP has agreed to a series of ‘green covenants’.


This includes committing to spend more than £600,000 investment in sustainable improvements to its existing campuses, reducing annual energy intensity of all its assets by 3.5 per cent a year and increasing the amount of energy its buildings use from renewable sources by a further 10 per cent.


“The cost and feasibility of implementing lithium-ion batteries has changed markedly in recent years, making commercial energy storage viable,” added Bev Taylor, head of energy at Bruntwood.


“We’ll be monitoring the cost savings and CO2 reduction in the coming months, with a view to installing further units at other Bruntwood buildings and developments, such as Circle Square, Alderley Park and Innovation Birmingham.”


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