IRENA to fine-tune 160GW energy storage plan next week

The International Renewable Energy Agency is finalising its energy storage roadmap to install 160GW battery storage worldwide by 2030. Photo credit: IRENA

The International Renewable Energy Agency is finalising its energy storage roadmap to install 160GW battery storage worldwide by 2030. Photo credit: IRENA

A group of experts is next week expected to finalise details of a road map to install 160GW of battery storage worldwide in 2030. The plan, being developed by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), would see nearly four times as much battery storage being deployed in the next 15 years as all the solar power installed worldwide to date.

The road map is due to be launched this summer following feedback next week from political, industrial and scientific experts at an International Energy Storage Policy and Regulation workshop at the Energy Storage Europe 2015 Conference and Expo.

“The road map will guide IRENA’s 139 member states on the key activities needed to support energy storage for the global expansion of renewable energy,” said IRENA last week in a press release.

The need for 160GW of battery storage is based on IRENA’s REmap 2030 study of how to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix from 20% in 2010 to 40% by 2030.
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Unleashing value in energy storage management systems

Advances in battery management systems and software are proving that the key to cost-effective energy storage might not be what you use… but how you use it. Photo credit: Greensmith Energy Management Systems

Recent advances in battery management systems and software could dramatically reduce the cost of energy storage. Photo credit: Greensmith Energy Management Systems

Recent battery management system advances are increasingly proving that the key to cost-effective energy storage might not be what you use… but how you use it.

Last year, for example, Energy Storage Report unveiled news of a French start-up called Enerstone, which is commercialising an active battery management system that can extend the lifespan of batteries by up to 30%.

The system monitors the health of each cell and redistributes loads so that “weaker ones work less than stronger ones, to extend the battery life to the benefit of the user,” explained Enerstone’s president and co-founder Alexander Chureau.

This month, meanwhile, a senior executive at Greensmith unveiled that its energy storage management systems had made it possible for lithium-ion batteries to beat lead-acid not just on performance but also on cost.

In one particular project, “the deployment of lithium-ion was half the price of lead-acid over the lifetime of the system, and it’s entirely due to software,” Leesa Lee, senior vice president, product management and marketing, told Energy Storage Report.
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A new life for old batteries

Is the future of used electric car batteries in grid energy storage systems like the Second Life Batteries Alliance project from BMW, Bosch and Vattenfall in Germany?

Is the future of used electric car batteries in grid energy storage systems like the Second Life Batteries Alliance project from BMW, Bosch and Vattenfall in Germany? Photo credit: BMW AG, München, Deutschland

A tie-up between BMW, Bosch and Vattenfall in Germany could help speed up halting moves to develop low-cost energy storage reserves from old car batteries.The three companies last month launched the Second Life Batteries Alliance “to form a large-scale energy storage system in Hamburg,” according to Bosch.

BMW will be supplying more than 100 second-hand lithium-ion batteries from its ActiveE and i3 electric vehicles, while Vattenfall has agreed to operate the Hamburg storage system for 10 years as part of an existing ‘virtual power plant’.

Bosch, which has developed integrated storage systems for the communities of Braderup and Kelsterbach in Germany, will be in charge of integrating the batteries and managing the setup.
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Report reveals risk for energy storage technologies in US

A new report shows emerging energy storage technologies in the US may face challenges as utilities stick to tried-and-tested technologies. Photo credit: Discovery Cube OC science centre, site of a Southern California Edison energy storage project using lithium-ion battery technology, Edison International

Emerging energy storage technologies in the US may face challenges as utilities stick to older technologies. Photo: Discovery Cube OC science centre, site of a Southern California Edison energy storage project, Edison International

A new report is expected to show emerging energy storage technologies may face commercialisation challenges as utilities stick to tried-and-tested technologies from reputable vendors.

Early indications are that US power companies are shunning innovative technologies and early-stage developers in favour of tried-and-tested equipment from major suppliers, according to the report from Energy Storage Update.

One source quoted in the report says around 60% of the storage currently being considered for installation across Californian utilities is likely to be in the form of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

The balance will probably be small-scale hydro, natural gas compression, liquid air storage and flywheels.

Another source, from Southern California Edison, indicated that the company’s energy storage testing programme was all using lithium-ion batteries.

Elsewhere, utility respondents also expressed a clear preference for industry-leading suppliers such as Sharp, LG Chem and Panasonic. “Big companies like ours only like to deal with more established companies, with actual balance sheets,” said one.
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Battery boss questions current market focus

Industry focus should be on hybrid energy storage systems, says Anil Srivastava of Leclanché at Energy Storage Europe.

Industry focus should be on hybrid energy storage systems, says Anil Srivastava of Leclanché at Energy Storage Europe. Photo credit: Leclanché

Energy storage’s current focus on the advantages of different technologies is potentially wrong, according to the head of one of Europe’s top battery companies. Anil Srivastava, chief executive of Leclanché, says that instead of debating the merits of individual storage technologies the industry needs to adopt a multiple-technology approach that consolidates the strengths of different options into hybrid systems.

This plea is expected to be the centrepiece of Srivastava’s keynote speech at the Energy Storage Europe conference in Düsseldorft next month.

“Different storage applications often require different capabilities,” says Srivastava. “While some areas of application need high output and quick reaction, others demand inexpensive storage technologies with a high capacity.

“Frequently these various features need to be combined seamlessly with each other. These days, many people are on the lookout for a kind of miracle system that fulfils all their requirements equally as well.”

Until such a concept exists, Srivastava argues, batteries, for example, will continue to be used in devices to which they are not ideally suited, which will lead to oversized storage systems or reduced service lifespans.
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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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