United Utilities to bring biggest battery to UK water industry

Zenobe will provide a complete solution that uses its own market-intelligence models and software to manage the batteries

United Utilities, the UK’s largest listed water company, has collaborated with Zenobe Energy to add 2MW of battery storage to its wastewater treatment plant in Preston, a city in Lancashire, northern England.

The battery will connect to solar panels at Clifton Marsh wastewater treatment works in Preston, which delivers services to 260,000 local homes and businesses.

It will be the largest battery system in the UK water industry and the site is expected to be fully active by the end of May.

Zenobe will finance, install and operate the batteries using its software. The battery storage company expects the ground-breaking solution to be implemented across the water sector.

The partnership, which will bring significant benefits to water customers and the environment, is part of United Utilities’ efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

United Utilities renewable energy head Steve Slavin said by generating its own power, the company can be protected from a volatile energy market, which will enable it predict its cost of treatment and stabilise bills for customers.

Slavin said: “The batteries will also allow us to help the National Grid even out the peaks and troughs in power demand throughout the day.  This is exactly the sort of innovation water companies need to be embracing if we are to meet the sector’s goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2030.”

United Utilities provides water and wastewater services in the North West of England. The company, which treats all the wastewater that disappears around the U-bend, delivers 200 million litres of water per day to over three million homes and businesses in the North West.

Zenobe Energy co-founder James Basden said: “At a time when every industry must be looking for innovative solutions – like ours – that can facilitate the UK’s transition to net-zero, it’s fantastic to see United Utilities leading the way. We expect all water companies to use this type of solution to meet their commitments to customers and the environment.”