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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Distributed energy: battery’s holy grail?

As SolarCity resumes installation applications for its solar energy storage systems in California, we assess the wider potential for batteries and distributed energy storage.

As SolarCity resumes installation applications for its solar energy storage systems in California, we analyse the wider market potential for batteries and distributed energy storage. Photo: © BrokenSphere/Wikimedia Commons

Grid-scale battery makers might want to re-set their sights on distributed energy storage if current market trends are anything to go by.

Across a number of major renewable power markets, demand for commercial and residential energy storage is beginning to mushroom as a result of burgeoning solar photovoltaic (PV) installations and a desire for greater independence from the grid.

In Northern Illinois, USA, for example, Intelligent Generation is reported to have 10MW of commercial and residential solar-and-storage projects in the pipeline.

The company has developed a smart system that can help these distributed storage assets cut out demand charges with the regional transmission organisation PJM Interconnection, as well as providing demand response and frequency regulation capacity.

The combination of solar, batteries and intelligent management leads to a quicker return on investment than installing PV alone, says Intelligent Generation.
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UK town to install 25 storage systems

Electrovaya distributed energy storage systems should be installed in Bracknell, Berkshire in 2014.

Electrovaya distributed energy storage systems will be installed in Bracknell, Berkshire. Photo credit: Frerix

Electrovaya has recently announced that its SuperPolymer 2.0 technology will be storing electricity in 25 independent, distributed energy storage systems in the UK. Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution will be making the purchase as part of the GBP£30m Thames Valley Vision project. The systems will deliver from 12.kWh to over 80kWh energy capacity.
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Paper proposes energy-storage system to increase prices of electricity sold to grid

We’re all familiar with the idea of utilities storing cheaply-produced, surplus electricity until market demand peaks to maximise profits, but now two engineers from Virginia Tech, USA, have proposed turning the concept on its head. In an award-winning paper doctoral student Reza Arghandeh and his advisor, Prof. Robert Broadwater, promote the idea of using a residential system to store domestically generated solar power until peak hours in order to maximise the price sold back to the grid.

The paper provides an optimization algorithm for a Distributed Energy Storage (DES) system comprised of a fleet of batteries connected to distribution transformers, and would store cheap solar power harvested at low-usage times, for selling on at peak hours.