The warehousing industry in the UK plays a pivotal role in the supply chain and logistics, with significant energy demands. This sector is now experiencing a transformation powered by energy storage solutions, which are revolutionising the way energy is managed. While the benefits of integrating storage with green energy generation are clear, the development of these technologies is dynamic and continuously evolving, raising questions about their suitability for businesses.

Energy storage systems are a range of technologies designed to capture, store, and release energy when needed. They function as energy reservoirs, designed to store surplus energy generated during periods of low demand or excess renewable generation, so it can be used during peak consumption hours. This flexibility makes electricity supply more resilient and reduces the pressure on the grid. The most common energy storage solutions are batteries, pumped hydro storage, and thermal energy storage systems.

The UK as a whole has been making significant strides in the development of energy storage solutions, with the government setting targets to quadruple the country’s energy storage capacity to 12 GW by 2030. This has led to an increase in the deployment of energy storage solutions, ranging from small-scale installations into large grid-scale projects. Now, over 16 GW of battery storage capacity is currently operating, under construction, or in the pipeline across 729 projects in the UK.

Battery storage systems in particular, has seen impressive progress in the UK. The country is home to one of the largest battery energy storage facilities in Europe, the 150 MW Minety Power Station, which provides grid support and stabilises energy supply. These developments demonstrate the UK’s commitment to improving energy reliability whilst increasing the uptake of clean renewable energy onto the grid.

The benefits of incorporating energy storage solutions into the UK’s commercial sector, especially warehousing, are extensive. Firstly, they enhance the reliability of on-site renewable energy generation, addressing the issue of intermittent usage, such as online retailer warehouses running later at night or early in the morning for package preparation. This ensures a reduction in reliance on fossil fuels when renewable sources like solar and wind are not generating power.

In addition to this, they enable demand management by allowing businesses to store excess energy during low-demand periods and use it during peak hours. This is particularly advantageous for industries with fluctuating energy demands, such as manufacturing, transportation, or seasonal businesses, leading to significant cost savings.

Furthermore, energy storage systems offer grid support, which is crucial as the National Grid faces increasing pressures from growing renewable connections. Many commercial businesses have begun participating in grid services by providing their energy storage capacity to help balance the grid and support grid reliability. This not only offers additional revenue streams but also contributes to the stability of the UK’s electricity grid.

The UK’s commitment to advancing energy storage solutions demonstrates our dedication to a greener future. Continued investment, research, and development are expected to elevate these technologies to a more prominent role in transforming the warehousing sector.

While energy storage may not be suitable for all warehousing sites, it becomes more economically viable as electricity consumption increases. Embracing these solutions now can ensure a more efficient future for UK warehouses, contributing to our sustainability goals. As the warehousing sector evolves and energy storage solutions develop further, their integration will drive a more sustainable and efficient future for the UK’s commercial and industrial businesses.

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