Dr. Alex Mardapittas, managing director for leading energy storage and voltage optimisation brand Powerstar discusses the opportunities available for higher education facilities like universities to not only reduce energy costs, but also to improve electrical supply and reliability.
The continuing rise in energy costs has been well document in recent times, with most of the country’s largest providers increasing tariffs for customers, be they for commercial or residential, even though Ofgem has highlighted that there is no obvious reason for them to do so. In addition to charges from energy providers, the National Grid places two tariff periods, DUoS and Triads, on commercial facilities for consuming energy at certain peak times and high demand periods, such as the winter months.
However, it is not only the rise in energy costs that is affecting universities across the country, the doubts surrounding energy pricing stability and quality also need to be considered. The demands on the National Grid are also increasing, almost to a critical point, as electricity generated will soon fall short of what is required.
In response to this potential national issue, innovative solutions are being developed. One of the most recent innovations is battery-based energy storage. As the name suggests, the technology works by storing energy provided by either the National Grid or directly from renewable sources, for use at a time when demand is highest.
In terms of reducing costs, energy storage offers a tailored solution for facilities of various sizes across the country. The technology allows organisations to come off grid, which means it can assist universities in avoiding peak tariffs. It is estimated by storing energy off grid, a facility can make average savings of up to 24 per cent on electricity costs.
Energy storage can also allow universities to redirect electricity back to the National Grid through Demand Side Response (DSR) incentives, which can result in further savings. Supporting the grid capacity through DSR using energy storage can be significantly cheaper than maintaining electricity use through periods of high demand hours and, due to the response times of the technology, it ensures all businesses successfully respond to at least 95 per cent of all DSR demands.
Energy storage can also allow universities to redirect electricity back to the National Grid through Demand Side Response (DSR) incentives, which can result in further savings
What’s more, not only do energy storage solutions allow universities to reduce energy costs and enable access to National Grid incentives, the technology also has a reliable UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) functionality. The solution guarantees the supply of electricity to a building for up to two hours during periods of supply failures, ideal for universities, which may require a constant supply to critical equipment.
Currently, diesel generators or combined heat and power (CHP) units are the chosen method of accessing UPS. However, these technologies generate significant carbon emissions, reducing a university’s ability to highlight their green sustainability strategy.
Combined with energy storage, voltage optimisation, a well-established technology, can not only further improve a site’s energy consumption it can also enhance power quality issues and electricity supply. It is well documented that voltage optimisation is highly effective, reducing the over voltage supplied to buildings, which leads to excessive electricity consumption, unnecessary wear and tear to on-site electrical equipment, higher levels of carbon emissions and ultimately increased electricity costs.
The University of Surrey is one client that has benefitted from the installation of a bespoke engineered, concept to completion voltage optimisation solution from Powerstar, with full aftermarket support. The solution has delivered an 8.1 per cent reduction in energy consumption, equating to a £13,911 saving on annual electricity bills.
The university’s energy savings are in addition to the improved operating conditions for electrical equipment, which are now protected from dangerous transients and a reduction in harmonics, resulting in lower maintenance costs and increased life expectancy of on site equipment.
Furthermore, recent testing carried out under laboratory conditions by American Electric Power (AEP) at the renowned Dolan Research centre has also concluded that a well-designed and specified Powerstar voltage optimisation can achieve average energy savings of 6.7 per cent, at a 15V reduction, while also improving the efficiency of the machinery it was tested on.
It’s clear that using bespoke engineered energy storage and voltage optimisation solutions for universities can result in both significant energy savings and improved equipment efficiencies.
Powerstar is a market leader in the industry, delivering a range of bespoke solutions that are designed and manufactured in the UK. For more information on voltage optimisation and energy storage visit the Powerstar website at www.powerstar.com