The utility response to grid defection

Utility responses to grid defection will be one of the many topics being discussed at the Energy Storage World Forum in Berlin this May. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

Utility responses to grid defection will be one of the many topics being discussed at the Energy Storage World Forum in Berlin this May. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

By Mike Stone

Utilities are seeking new ways to respond to grid defection as the economics of solar-plus-storage make it easier for homeowners to disconnect.

A report called The Economics of Grid Defection, by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), concludes that in territories such as Hawaii off-grid solar plus storage is already economically competitive with remaining on the electricity network.

Tens of millions of customers will defect in other areas such as California and New York as solar plus storage achieves grid parity by 2030, and possibly even 2020, the RMI predicts.

And grid defection is by no means a US-only phenomenon.

In many parts of Australia and Germany, for example, the business case for residential PV and storage is still far from convincing, but that has not stopped homeowners from installing systems for a whole host of other reasons. 
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Why you should aim for an open business model

Delegates at next year's Energy Storage Europe Conference will hear a plea for open business models (Pic: Energy Storage Europe 2016).

Delegates at next year’s Energy Storage Europe Conference will hear a plea for open business models (Pic: Energy Storage Europe 2016).

Energy storage developers and asset owners should aim to be technologically neutral to make the most of global markets, experts will hear next year.

Florian Mayr, partner and storage expert of management consultancy Apricum, is due to make the case for technologically open business models at the Energy Storage Europe Conference 2017 in Düsseldorf, Germany.

These models can benefit most from the growth of international storage markets as flexibility becomes a key factor for success in the industry, he claims.

“Today storage markets are still comparatively small and characterised by individual, often geographically determined application cases,” he said. 
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Islands show how energy transition works

Island renewable energy projects with battery storage, like the Younicos Graciosa Island in the Azores project, could be the model for energy storage in Europe, says Clemens Triebel. Photo: Energy Storage Europe

Island renewable energy projects with battery storage, like the Younicos Graciosa Island in the Azores project, could be the model for energy storage in Europe, says Clemens Triebel. Photo credit: Energy Storage Europe

By Jason Deign

Islands converting power supplies from diesel to renewables could be role models for the global transition to renewable energy, according to Younicos co-founder Clemens Triebel.

“If we’re aiming for a high percentage of solar and wind energy, the expansion of renewables has to be matched with sufficient storage capacity from the start,” said Triebel in an Energy Storage Europe press release.

In contrast, said Triebel, the German electricity system is still discriminating against energy storage in favour of conventional power plants.

“We still produce power according to a 19th century paradigm which holds that energy is best produced by large generators that rotate constantly,” he commented.

“If we continue to cling to this notion, the grid will continue to be taken up by coal, gas and nuclear, blocking space for solar and wind energy more and more frequently.”
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Storage seen as key in COP21 talks

COP21 2015: We analyse what participants at the Paris Climate Conference are saying about climate change and energy storage, and how it will affect global industry investment. Photo credit: COP21

COP21 2015: We analyse what participants at the Paris Climate Conference are saying about climate change and energy storage, and how it will affect global industry investment. Photo credit: COP21

By Jason Deign

Energy storage looks set to benefit from increased funding worldwide if leaders make good on pledges at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) this week.

Up to USD$30 trillion in investment could be freed up to fight climate change in what has been hailed as the “end of the fossil era.”

The money would be needed to improve renewable energy penetration to reach the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) being presented at COP21.

An initial $20bn or so in funding for renewable energy innovation, including storage, was announced on Monday when the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group of 30 or so major investors, joined the fight against climate change.

Elsewhere, energy storage was specifically cited as an investment target for “tens of billions of dollars” by White House sources at the COP21 talks in Paris.
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TenneT: “Storage is needed”

What is the future for grid-scale energy storage in Europe? We ask the Netherlands TSO TenneT, a key speaker at Commercialising Grid-Scale Energy Storage Global Congress 2015. Photo credit: TenneT

What is the future for grid-scale energy storage in Europe? We ask the Netherlands TSO TenneT, a speaker at Commercialising Grid-Scale Energy Storage Global Congress. Photo: TenneT

Previously published by Commercialising Grid-Scale Energy Storage Global Congress 2015. Republished with permission.

If you’re wondering what the future holds for grid-scale energy storage in Europe then it helps to speak to the people who run Europe’s grids.

That includes organisations such as TenneT, the independent owner and operator of 100% of the high-voltage electricity grid in the Netherlands and around 30% of the high-voltage grid in Germany.

As a Transmission System Operator (TSO), TenneT’s principal tasks are to provide power transmission and system services and facilitate the functioning and development of the electricity market.

At the end of 2014, TenneT, which is currently 100% owned by the state of the Netherlands, owned around €13.7bn of assets, of which 15% are located in the Netherlands and 85% in Germany.

Here Bianca van Ommen, of TenneT’s mergers and acquisitions business development unit, talks about the role that energy storage could play in the TSO’s future operations.
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Energy Storage Europe and IRES to join forces

It has been announced that Energy Storage Europe 2016 and the International Renewable Energy Storage Conference – IRES 2016 – will merge next year. Photo credit: Messe Düsseldorf

It has been announced that Energy Storage Europe 2016 and the International Renewable Energy Storage Conference – IRES 2016 – will merge next year. Photo credit: Messe Düsseldorf

By Jason Deign

Energy storage’s evolution into a mainstream sector took a step forward this week with news of a major conference tie-up.

Messe Düsseldorf, the Düsseldorf Trade Fair, and the European Association for Renewable Energy, EUROSOLAR, signed a cooperation agreement that will see their respective flagship storage conferences running as one.

It means the organisation and programmes of the fifth European Energy Storage Conference and the 10th International Renewable Energy Storage Conference (IRES 2016) will be merged.

Organisers say the move will create additional advantages for visitors, exhibitors and speakers. For example, there will be a joint combination ticket for the key aspects of the conference.

The joint programme planning should also make it easier for visitors to acquire information on a more extensive range of topics within a single event.
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Utility heavyweights gather for US event

Many of the world’s most important energy storage companies are about to gather at the Energy Storage USA 2015 conference in San Diego. Photo credit: Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Many of the world’s most important energy storage companies are about to gather at the Energy Storage USA 2015 conference in San Diego. Photo credit: PG&E

By Jason Deign

Speakers representing some of the world’s most important energy storage purchasers are set to gather at the Energy Storage USA 2015 conference in a fortnight.

Scheduled to appear at the event are utility heavyweights of the stature of Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), NextEra Energy Resources, E.ON and Burbank Water and Power.

The line-up promises to give attendees unparalleled access to decision makers in charge of energy storage selection, said Jack Ahearne, head of strategy and development for Energy Storage Update.

“The timing of this event is highly significant for those seeking to commercialise energy storage in the USA,” he said.

“Energy storage is now a real focus for government bodies such as the DoE and major institutional investors from around the world. Any company serious about developing energy storage in the US will want to make sure they attend.”

Commercialising energy storage

Efforts to commercialise energy storage in the US were given a boost this month when news broke that the government had attracted USD$4bn in renewable energy funding from private-sector backers.
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One battery to rule them all?

After the Tesla Powerwall launch, there is reason to think lithium-ion batteries could become the overwhelming technology of choice for battery storage. Photo: Tesla Gigafactory

After the Tesla Powerwall launch, there is reason to think lithium-ion batteries could become the overwhelming technology of choice for battery storage. Photo: possible Tesla Gigafactory design.

By Jason Deign

The Tesla Powerwall launch three weeks ago focused attention on energy storage but may also have been a nail in the coffin for non-lithium-ion (Li-ion) technologies.

In drastically reducing prices, Tesla removed one of the remaining barriers to adoption of Li-ion as the standard for battery storage.

Currently other technologies are vying for supremacy on the basis of cost, safety, performance and bankability.

However, the launch of a residential battery system for USD$3,500 helped lay to rest the idea that Li-ion is automatically more expensive than other chemistries.

Even Tesla’s grid-scale Li-ion offering, the Powerpack, looks competitive with the most cost-effective battery technologies out there.
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