The joint venture will install and operate batteries for medium and large energy users free of charge in return for a share of revenues. Once the battery is installed, customers will see immediate cost savings from avoiding premium-cost peak energy charges and income from providing flexibility services to the grid.
They are targeting thousands of businesses spending £500,000 a year or more on electricity. Over 8,000 businesses in the UK have annual electricity contracts of 10GWh or more and are likely to be spending at least £1 million a year, according to energy market analysts Cornwall Insight. The number with £500,000 annual bills is likely to be far larger.
Customers with a mid-range 2MW battery could save more than £1 million over a 15-year standard contract.
“We are offering businesses a straight forward solution. We take the investment risk, manage the development, and operate the battery to maximise mutual returns. We agree a contract with the customer, they can get on with their core business and save tens of thousands from year one,” said Matthew Clayton, Managing Director of Thrive Renewables. “Increasing flexibility in the UK’s electricity system is key to the continued transition to a cleaner, smarter energy network.”
Simon Coulson, Director of Aura Power, said: “We are seeking clients with whom we can develop a long-term partnership. We have a good product and strong financial backing, and we are already in advanced talks with several clients including a large dairy, a food processor and a tile manufacturer.”
Thrive has invested in, owns and operates a 104MW portfolio of wind, hydro and solar assets. The joint venture moves it into the rapidly emerging storage market, combining its own funding and behind the meter renewable expertise with Aura Power’s market-leading experience of developing utility scale batteries.
Aura Power has developed a wide range of projects including a 15MW battery at Lockleaze, near Bristol – the UK’s largest when it started operation in August 2017 – and a 10MW battery at Nevendon, Essex.
The joint venture is seeking businesses spending around £50,000 a month or more on electricity with steady consumption and spare import capacity. Potential customers could include manufacturers, water utilities, pharmaceuticals businesses, cold storage facilities, hotels and large office buildings.
Batteries will be installed behind the meter, offering a range of benefits. Businesses can:
- avoid punitive Triad and red zone charges for using electricity at peak times;
- save money by charging up when power is cheap;
- earn money by providing services to the grid such as frequency response;
- hedge against rising electricity costs;
- maintain activities during power cuts;
- correct power quality issues;
- develop or increase on-site renewable generation;
- support electric vehicle charging.
Before customers sign a contract, Aura Power will review their electricity usage and bills and carry out a site survey. Customers will then be recommended the appropriate size of battery, from 0.5MW up, and provided with forecast revenue and savings.
Batteries can be installed with minimal impact on site operations, either in existing buildings such as basements or in shipping containers outdoors. Installation takes as little as a few days and is timed to ensure minimum disruption. The process from signing a contract to installing the battery can be concluded within three to six months.
About Aura Power - our joint venture partners
Aura Power is a leading global developer of renewable energy projects. We have an active late-stage pipeline of utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage projects, totalling over one gigawatt of capacity.
Founded in 2013, we deliver all aspects of the project development cycle: origination, design, permitting, financing, construction and operation. We are headquartered in the UK with regional presence in Southern Europe and North America. We only develop high quality projects in jurisdictions where we believe renewable and low-carbon solutions can have a competitive edge over fossil-fuel generation. We invest directly in our own projects and take a long-term view when entering new markets that we believe offer sustainable growth.
Our approach allows us to benefit from economies of scale, using best-in-class development processes and technology. Successful project development is delivered with local knowledge and expertise. Our regional management teams have both deep sector knowledge and local understanding of country-specific requirements and are exceptional in their fields.
We support our regional operations with a strong and experienced team of multidisciplinary professionals, which enables us to succeed from project inception through construction and into operation.