Premier Inn and E.ON trial UK’s first battery-powered hotel

Premier Inn, in collaboration with project partner E.ON, has installed the UK’s first battery-powered hotel, located in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In an increased effort to make its hotels more energy efficient and reduce costs, the Whitbread-owned Premier Inn chain has begun trialing a 100kW lithium-ion battery at The Gyle at Edinburgh Park.

The 3m3 five-tonne battery works by storing power from the National Grid during off-peak times when electricity prices are lower, saving the energy for periods of high consumption. There is enough energy stored in the battery to run the entire hotel and provide power to the restaurant for up to three hours.

E.ON customer accounts director Richard Oakley said: “By adding the flexibility of battery storage we can also help Whitbread to upgrade to the full-board option of drawing electricity from the grid when prices are low, storing that energy for use at peak times and having the ability to sell it back to the grid to help balance supply and demand on the network.

“Premier Inn is showing how hotel chains and large power users can further save money, reduce their carbon footprint and support the development of a lower-carbon, smarter energy grid in the UK.”

The battery takes two hours to charge and will be employed for around two to three hours per day. E.ON and Whitbread chose the Edinburgh site specifically because Scotland has a large influx of renewable power coming in from its wind assets, which can be volatile. The battery will benefit the National Grid by reducing electricity demand at times of low energy generation, i.e. when the wind isn’t blowing.

E.ON, which supplied and installed the battery, said that the battery will knock £20,000 per year off of the hotel’s energy bill. E.ON will continue to manage and provide maintenance for the battery system.

Whitbread head of energy and environment Cian Hatton added: “Batteries are of course everyday items, more commonly associated with powering small household goods, like the TV remote control, so it’s incredibly excited to launch the UK’s first battery-powered hotel – an innovation which will save money, ensure security of supply and support the transition to a more flexible grid”.

Premier Inn is already the UK’s leading hotel chain in terms of solar panels, with 169 assets installed across its hotels.