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UK local authority works with second life battery pioneer to install energy storage system

West Suffolk Council and Connected Energy’s Mildenhall Hub project will also include a new school, leisure facilities, health centre, community services and office space for public sector partners.

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Connected Energy's 300kW/360kWh E-Stor system with the roof removed
Connected Energy's 300kW/360kWh E-Stor system with the roof removed

West Suffolk Council is working with second life battery company Connected Energy to install a new generation energy storage system to capitalise on locally generated electricity and minimise electricity drawn from the grid.

 

The Mildenhall Hub E-Stor will be the second installation of such a system for Connected Energy, following on from the announcement of its first unit for Suffolk County Council in July this year.

 

24 second life batteries

 

As well as the E-Stor system, which features 24 second life Renault Kangoo batteries, it will include a 160kWp solar array, an 85kW natural gas-powered combined heat and power (CHP) unit, and a 300kWth ground source heat system (GSHP). There is potential for more solar panels to be installed at the hub over the coming years. The project is due for completion in 2021.

 

The council is working with several partners in education, leisure, health, community and public services on the multi-million-pound Mildenhall Hub project will include a new school, leisure facilities, health centre, advice centre, library, community services and office space for public sector partners.

 

The site’s GSHP will naturally warm its swimming pools. Collectively, the greenhouse gas emissions savings across the site are estimated to amount to 200 tonnes in 2021 and 2,300 tonnes over the 20-year lifetime for the plant – the equivalent of taking 820 cars off the road, according to figures from the council.

“The hub itself will of course be more energy efficient than the buildings that it will replace”

“We are delighted to be working with Connected Energy, taking something that is already better for the environment in the form of an electric vehicle, and giving its battery a second life by repurposing it in this giant storage battery,” said councillor John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council.

 

He continued: “Addressing greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and our impact on the environment continues to be a key part of our work at West Suffolk Council. The hub itself will of course be more energy efficient than the buildings that it will replace.

 

“By incorporating and investing in these environmental technologies we are further reducing the environmental impact of the hub. It will also save the hub partners money on their running costs which makes services more resilient to some of the challenges that we may all face over the years ahead.”

 

 Playground at the Mildenhall Hub Academy. Image courtesy of West Suffolk Council
Playground at the Mildenhall Hub Academy. Image courtesy of West Suffolk Council
Landscaping around Mildenhall Hub. Image courtesy of West Suffolk Council
Landscaping around Mildenhall Hub. Image courtesy of West Suffolk Council

Capitalising on Connected Energy’s control software, the E-Stor will be used to optimise how the various zero- and low-carbon energy sources are utilised to minimise costs and the carbon intensity of the energy mix. It will help the local authority capitalise on the locally generated electricity, and reduce the electricity drawn from the grid, in particular during peak tariff periods.

 

“We already have systems optimising the relationship between EV charging loads and PV generation,” said Connected Energy project manager, Nigel Dent. “This system is particularly exciting because of the wider mix of technologies including CHP and ground source heat. By optimising the fit between generation and load we should be able to further decarbonise the ground source heat for example.”

 

The new generation systems include a range of enhancements building on learning from systems Connected Energy has installed over the last five years.

 

By working with Renault and Hitatchi ABB Power Grids, Connected Energy has increased efficiencies on both the power and capacity sides of the E-Stor system, as well as significantly reducing the cost of cooling the system, while increasing the effectiveness and control.

 

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