And finally… Inn-Charge: UK’s first cash-saving battery-powered hotel piloted in Edinburgh



The Gyle at Edinburgh Park Premier Inn has become the UK’s first battery-powered hotel in a bid to improve energy efficiency, secure power supply and enable energy cost savings on-site.

In a UK-first, the Whitbread-owned company is trialling a new 100kW lithium ion battery at the 200-room site in Edinburgh, to help the hotel better manage its energy consumption.

The innovative battery, which is 3m3 in size and weighs approximately five tonnes, functions by drawing power from the National Grid during off-peak periods. It has capacity to run The Gyle hotel – including powering meals cooked at its Thyme bar and grill – for up to three hours.

The battery takes two hours to fully charge and will be used for at least 2-3 hours per day on-site, depending on the needs of the National Grid.

The Gyle at Edinburgh Park was chosen as the first site to trial the battery in part because Scotland is a large producer of renewable power, such as wind power, which can be prone to volatility. At such times, the battery will help the National Grid by reducing demand from the system.  

As well as powering the Edinburgh-based hotel, the trial of the new battery storage system allows the Premier Inn site to avoid increased peak-time energy costs and generate revenue by offering energy support services to the National Grid - in essence, by being paid in exchange for taking power off the grid.

The installation is expected to save the hotel £20,000 per year in energy savings alone.

Project partner E.ON has supplied and installed the battery technology and will be remotely managing the battery’s workload and efficiency from its energy management centre in Glasgow.

Cian Hatton, Whitbread’s head of energy and environment, said: “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.”

Richard Oakley, customer accounts director at E.ON, added: “The Gyle at Edinburgh Park is already an energy efficient hotel thanks to the remote monitoring and management of its systems from our control centre in Glasgow. 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.”

If successful, the trial could be extended more widely across the Premier Inn estate.