Coalition to store energy with electric vessels on River Thames

A coalition of organizations are working to position battery-powered vessels on the River Thames to store and feed electricity back into the grid. They say the approach will increase London’s flexible energy capacity and reduce peak electricity demand.

A collaborative project is assessing the viability of using electric vessels on the River Thames to feed stored electricity back into London’s energy network.

The Electric Thames project is made up of the United Kingdom’s largest transmission system operator, UK Power Networks, energy consultants LCP Delta, and maritime engineering specialist Marine Zero.

The project plans to position battery-powered vessels on the River Thames that act similarly to night storage heaters, by storing green energy when it is cheap to do so, before feeding it back to the grid during peak electricity hours.

Marine Zero Director Andy Hurley said the project is “developing a completely new approach to increasing energy flexibility by developing new income streams and new and flexible solutions for vessel and quay operators.”

The project is currently in its scoping phase, which is set to conclude by the end of May, with funding from the Ofgem Strategic Innovation Fund. The project will survey vessel and quay operators over the coming weeks to identify and map out their needs.

The River Thames supports a busy freight sector and 8 million passenger trips per year. Currently, most of the boats, quaysides and ports on the river still rely on fossil fuels. The project is expected to help meet the Port of London Authority’s transition to net zero emissions and London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s pathway for London to become net zero carbon by 2030.

“This is a first-of-its-kind project in the UK, and one that is operating at the forefront of energy innovation,” said Luca Grella, Head of Innovation at UK Power Networks. “Tapping into this potential will not only help us create a cleaner Thames for everyone but will also give us an additional supply of flexible, green energy which will help our transition to a decarbonized energy system.”

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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