An energy storage solution for Greece?

A focus on solar power and energy storage in Greece could offer Alexis Tsipras and his new government a way to fulfil its election pledges. Photo credit: Syriza

A focus on solar power and energy storage in Greece could offer Alexis Tsipras and his new government a way to fulfil election pledges. Photo credit: Syriza

UPDATE: Minutes after this article went out in our newsletter, the Greek government announced it was paralysing the privatisation of the energy sector. Whether, or how, Syriza will support renewables, and potentially energy storage, is still unclear.
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A focus on residential and commercial energy storage could offer Greece’s newly elected parliament a way to fulfil some of its well-nigh impossible election pledges.

The far-left Syriza party, which won national elections on Sunday, has promised to provide free electricity for 300,000 households and further stimulate the development of renewable energy.

But the administration’s capacity to deliver on that and a number of other election promises is being questioned because of Greece’s huge debt.

Yanis Varoufakis, the new finance minister, calls it the “largest loan in human history” and admitted his party’s win was a “poisoned chalice” on UK’s BBC Radio 4 on Monday.

Syriza won the elections with a programme that includes clamping down on corruption and renegotiating with Europe a “rational plan for debt restructure” by binding repayments to growth.
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Peer-to-peer energy: an opportunity for storage?

We look at the potential impact of peer-to-peer energy trading networks – such as those from Vandebron in the Netherlands and Open Utility in the UK – on energy storage.

What impact will peer-to-peer energy trading networks – like those from Vandebron in the Netherlands and Open Utility in the UK – have on energy storage? Photo credit: Vandebron

A growing interest in peer-to-peer energy trading raises questions over whether storage could help consumers gain extra benefit from distributed power generation.

Current attempts to trade energy on a peer-to-peer basis are primarily designed to let producers maximise their profits on excess power at the point when it is produced.

The Dutch platform Vandebron, for example, lets consumers buy power directly from independent renewable energy producers such as farmers who own wind turbines.

By eliminating the utility’s margin from the equation, producers can offer consumers cheaper energy and still make more money than they might with a traditional feed-in tariff or off-take agreement.
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Study points to PCM breakthrough

Research from TermoFluids and the Tesconsol consortium may provide a breakthrough in the use of phase-change material for thermal energy storage in concentrated solar power plants. Photo credit: KIC InnoEnergy

Research from TermoFluids and the Tesconsol consortium may result in the breakthrough of phase-change material for thermal energy storage in CSP plants. Photo: KIC InnoEnergy

The case for using phase-change materials (PCMs) for thermal energy storage is being bolstered through research using a modelling technique out this year.

The technique, developed by a team in Catalonia, Spain, has uncovered a PCM tank approach that could theoretically allow up to 74% of stored thermal energy to be returned from storage.

It might also reduce the amount of storage material needed in solar thermal plants by 32% compared to traditional two-tank molten salt systems, CSP Today reports.

The approach, called multi-layered solid PCM (MLSPCM), works by using two PCM layers separated vertically by a layer of filler materials such as cheap, readily available granite or quartzite.

The filler keeps the top and bottom PCM layers close to their optimum discharging and charging temperatures, respectively. Overall, the amount of PCM material needed would be much less than in a PCM-only setup, which should help reduce costs.

And since each PCM layer is kept close to its optimum charge or discharge temperature, the efficiency of the system is increased.
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Your five top stories of 2014

Energy Storage Report 2014 review: battery prices, distributed energy storage, the Alstom takeover, vanadium redox flow batteries and energy return on investment. Photo credit: Animam for Energy Storage Report

Energy Storage Report 2014 review: battery prices, distributed energy storage, the Alstom takeover, vanadium redox flow batteries and energy return on investment. Photo credit: Animam for Energy Storage Report

It’s already dimming in the memory. But before 2014 fades out of sight completely, let’s remember this was an important 12 months for energy storage.There was plenty of the usual hype, of course, but also a real sense that energy storage was being taken seriously at last… and some pretty big stories. Of all our headlines over the last 12 months, these are the ones that you were most keen to read.

1. Why you might want to give up this year’s profit

In January we reported on how a handful of battery makers could force an industry showdown by taking a long-term bet on market dominance and lowering prices. And if they did not, there was a good chance automakers might force price reductions anyway.

Our prediction was that the battery market was reaching a tipping point similar to that seen a few years ago in the photovoltaic (PV) solar sector, where one or two players could trigger a wave of consolidation by launching cut-price products.
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Five conferences at the industry’s largest gathering

With with five international energy-related conferences plus an exhibition, Energy Storage Europe 2015 looks like being an unmissable event. Photo credit: Messe Düsseldorf GmbH

With five international energy-related conferences plus an exhibition, Energy Storage Europe 2015 looks like being an unmissable event. Photo credit: Messe Düsseldorf GmbH

It is being billed as the biggest gathering in the industry. And with five international energy-related conferences plus an exhibition all under the one roof, the organisers of the Energy Storage Europe 2015 event can hardly be accused of boasting. The event, which will take place March 9 to 11, 2015, in Düsseldorf, Germany, will combine Energy Storage Europe with the 9th International Renewable Energy Storage Conference (IRES 2015).

But in addition, attendees will be able to dip in to three other key energy events, starting with the 2nd Financial Dialogue Europe run by VDE, the German Institute of the Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies.

On its third day, meanwhile, the venue will host the 4th Ostbayerisches Technologie-Transfer-Institut (OTTI) Power-to-Gas Conference and the German Solar Alliance’s 6th Storage Day.

Together, these annual conferences will cover the widest topical range in the international energy storage market, organisers say.

The Messe Düsseldorf trade fair is organising the event along with VDE, OTTI, the European Association for Renewable Energy (Eurosolar), the World Council for Renewable Energy and the Solar Alliance.
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Could energy storage be onto a winner in France?

We analyse recent market developments in energy storage in France – from Total buying into Aquion Energy, GDF Suez testing Eos Energy Storage batteries to start-ups such as Nawa Technologies. Photo credit: McPhy Energy

We analyse recent market developments in energy storage in France – from Total buying into Aquion Energy, GDF Suez testing Eos Energy Storage batteries to start-ups such as Nawa Technologies. Photo credit: McPhy Energy

It has been a mixed bag for energy storage in France recently. Three weeks ago came the news of faltering finances at Areva, one of France’s biggest power sector companies and a potentially significant energy storage player.The future of Areva’s energy storage programme is as yet still unclear and might not be known until a new strategic plan is unveiled in February.

Almost simultaneously with the Areva bombshell, however, another big French energy player, GDF Suezannounced it would be testing battery systems from Eos Energy Storage, a promising US developer. So what is to be made of the fickle French market?
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