Image: Zenobe Energy.

Zenobe Energy is set to install what is being lauded as the UK water industry's largest battery system to date, at United Utilities' wastewater treatment plant in Preston.

The 2MW battery will connect to solar panels at the Clifton Marsh treatment works, which services 260,000 homes and businesses in Lancashire.

The UK-based battery storage firm will finance, install and operate the batteries using its proprietary software. It is Zenobe’s first project in the UK water sector, as the company increasingly focuses on expanding in the utility-scale sector.

The battery will allow Untied Utilities to optimise its onsite solar, provide power resilience and reduce emissions.

Steve Slavin, head of renewable energy at United Utilities, said that “not only is that good for the environment it’s good for our business too”.

“Energy is one of a water company’s largest operational costs. By generating our own power, we can protect United Utilities from a volatile energy market, which will allow us predict our cost of treatment and stabilise bills for our customers.

“The batteries will also allow us to help 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.”

Zenobe’s co-founder James Basden also welcomed the project, saying he was proud that Zenobe's end-to-end energy storage service was bringing significant environmental benefits to communities.

“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.”

The company secured £25 million at the end of 2019 from Santander Corporate & Commercial, to help the company target behind-the-meter services and construction of new utility-scale projects.