Grid-scale storage: steady growth, not boom and bust

There is a growing market for grid-scale energy storage projects, such as the 200MW of Alevo battery technology that will soon be used for US grid frequency regulation.

In a growing market for grid-scale energy storage projects, 200MW of Alevo battery technology will soon be used for US grid frequency regulation. Photo credit: Alevo Group

Fears over energy storage hype resulting in a boom-and-bust cycle appear unfounded on the basis of grid-scale deployments so far, a top analyst has confirmed.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance associate Logan Goldie-Scot, who will be speaking at the Energy Storage World Forum next month, told Energy Storage Report: “We see continued steady progress instead of a huge leap in 2015.

“We certainly think the market is growing. But I don’t think we’re at a point where we’re going to see a huge leap in capacity on the ground, just because we already have visibility of much of 2015.”

The prediction is a welcome one for a sector that has long been considered prone to hype, with reports frequently citing an upcoming boom. And in fact, said Goldie-Scot: “There has been quite a lot of progress since last year.

“Especially in North America, we’re now seeing projects getting commissioned and working their way through the development process.”
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Could microgrids save lives on remote islands?

Island energy storage: could islanded microgrid systems have helped in the Vanuatu cyclone Pam disaster?

Island energy storage: could islanded microgrid systems have helped in the Vanuatu cyclone Pam disaster? Photo credit: UNICEF Pacific

Upcoming debate on energy storage in microgrids was given a sense of urgency over the weekend as Cyclone Pam tore across Vanuatu in the Pacific.

As the devastated island nation issued a plea for international help, one of the questions facing the government and aid workers was how to restore power… and whether current fossil-fuelled generation sources should be replaced by renewable energy.

Like many island nations, Vanuatu has traditionally got most of its power from imported fossil fuels.

In 2010, for example, the nation’s main utility, the GDF Suez subsidiary Union Electrique du Vanuatu Limited (UNELCO), generated 68.7GWh of power using 14.3 megalitres of imported diesel along with 251 kilolitres of biofuel from coconut oil.

This reliance on imported fuel was already creating problems for the country before this weekend’s catastrophe. “The Government has been concerned for a number of years over the high cost of electricity,” noted the International Renewable Energy Agency.
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The new utility strategy for residential energy storage

With E.ON and Trianel partnering Sungevity and Conergy, the Residential Energy Storage Forum is focusing on how utilities can cash in on solar storage.

With E.ON and Trianel partnering Sungevity and Conergy, the Residential Energy Storage Forum is focusing on how utilities can cash in on solar storage. Photo: Conergy Deutschland

Utility representatives are expected to signal growing acceptance of the need to address residential energy storage market concerns next month.

The 2nd Residential Energy Storage Forum on Monday April 27 in Rome, Italy, will see big-hitting utilities such as E.ON of Germany and EVN of Austria discussing ways to take advantage of growing consumer interest in home-based battery storage.

The mood is expected to be very different from a year ago, when organisations such as the UK National Grid were still mulling over the impact that residential energy storage might have on transmission system operations.

Over the last 12 months, a growing appetite for residential energy storage has begun to affect a number of markets worldwide, forcing utilities to decide whether they should fight or support the trend.
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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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