Industry reaches turning point

The industry's ability to deliver will be under the spotlight as experts gather at the Energy Storage World Forum next month. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

The industry’s ability to deliver will be under the spotlight as experts gather at the Energy Storage World Forum next month. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

By Jason Deign

Speakers from 22 countries will be gathering at the 10th Energy Storage World Forum and 4th Residential Energy Storage Forum in Berlin next month at a critical point for the industry.

Tesla’s recent pledge to build a 100MWh battery plant in Australia within 100 days, or give it away for free, has put the industry under unprecedented pressure to deliver on its promises.

Tesla energy division boss Lyndon Rive offered to install between 100MWh and 300MWh of battery capacity at breakneck speed in South Australia when he introduced Tesla’s new Powerwall and Powerpack systems in March.

The seemingly throwaway comment was picked up in local news reports and prompted Australian software tycoon Mike Cannon-Brookes to reach out to Tesla CEO Elon Musk over whether the offer was for real.

Musk said it was, and added the Australians wouldn’t have to pay for the system if Tesla failed to deliver it within 100 days of a contract. 
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Webinar’s solar-plus-battery secrets

One of the slides from the Ata Renewables presentation in last week's webinar. Pic: Ata Renewables.

One of the slides from the Ata Renewables presentation in last week’s webinar. Pic: Ata Renewables.

By Jason Deign

Combining battery storage with solar generation is already cheaper than using diesel in most microgrids, said experts at an Energy Storage Report webinar last week.

“As the key applications, we see islanded grids or microgrids, [where] PV and batteries are becoming cost-competitive with diesel,” confirmed Valts Grintals from Delta Energy & Environment in the event organised alongside Ata Insights.

A case in point is France, where interest in solar plus storage is highest in islands and “non-interconnected zones,” where around 60% of PV projects so far have been installed with batteries, Grintals said.

This interest is set to grow following the launch of a tender last year for almost 52MW more of island-based solar capacity, spread across 33 projects. “We expect to see more storage coming into these projects,” said Grintals.

“In France, PV and storage is a great solution to stabilise the grid [and] help enable microgrid use, and it is already cost competitive.”
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Home storage needs more control

Michael Koller will be speaking at the 4th Residential Energy Storage Forum in Berlin from May 8 to 12. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

Michael Koller will be speaking at the 4th Residential Energy Storage Forum in Berlin from May 8 to 12. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

By Mike Stone

The aggregation of domestic battery units to provide large-scale energy storage is making headlines in the industry.

But pooling the storage potential of humble electric heaters, heat pumps and other pre-existing thermal units could also have a big role to play.

What’s vital for such a combined system are adequate control systems that optimise all aspects of energy management in the home, according to Michael Koller, energy storage specialist at Swiss utility and grid operator EKZ.

His presentation at the 4th Residential Energy Storage Forum on May 9 in Berlin, titled How to Use the Flexibility of Residential Systems Inside a Virtual Power Plant, will tackle the technical challenges in obtaining such control faces.

It’s a timely subject, as amalgamating domestic energy storage into virtual power plants (VPPs) is rapidly gaining interest as a way of providing ancillary services to the grid. 
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How V2G could stabilise the grid

Ernesto Ciorra is one of the speakers at the Energy Storage World Forum in Berlin from May 8 to 12.

Ernesto Ciorra is one of the speakers at the Energy Storage World Forum in Berlin from May 8 to 12.

By Jason Deign

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) storage may be all that grids need for stability as renewables increase, according to a speaker at the upcoming Energy Storage World Forum, on May 8 to 12.

“With V2G technology we can provide grid stabilisation services without any need for additional storage reserves, but by simply aggregating electric vehicle batteries,” said Ernesto Ciorra, Enel’s head of innovation and sustainability.

“With the current technology that we are already improving, for a country like Denmark to provide stabilisation services we need about 40 electric vehicles, while in Germany and UK the minimum number is about 100.”

Ciorra told Energy Storage Report that if all the 18,000 Nissan electric vehicles in the UK were connected to the electricity network, they would generate an output equivalent to that of a 180MW power plant.

“If that were to be scaled up in a future where all vehicles on UK roads were electric, V2G technology could generate a virtual power plant of up to 370GW,” he said. 
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Why storage business cases depend on weather

Dr Björn Peters will be speaking at the Energy Storage World Forum in Berlin this year. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

Dr Björn Peters will be speaking at the Energy Storage World Forum in Berlin this year. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

By Jason Deign

The case for implementing storage in electricity networks should be based on long-term weather analyses, attendees at the Energy Storage World Forum will hear.

Including weather patterns as one of the main variables in a business case analysis will help show niches where storage “makes a lot of sense,” said Dr Björn Peters, who will be speaking on the topic at the Forum in Berlin this May.

For off-grid mining operations in hot climates, for example, “there might be a very good business case for solar storage” compared to diesel.

Within grids, meanwhile, storage can offer value in helping to balance out short-term fluctuations in intermittent renewable energy.

However, Peters’ research is worrying for policy makers who hope to rely completely on intermittent renewable energy generation to reach European carbon reduction targets. 
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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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