The utilities wanting energy storage now

As interest in energy storage soars within European utilities, European Utility Week 2014 has a three-day track dedicated to utility-scale energy storage.

As interest in energy storage soars within European utilities, European Utility Week 2014 has a three-day track dedicated to utility-scale energy storage. Photo credit: Siemens

Interest in energy storage is spiking within European utilities as they look to follow the USA’s lead, say sources close to the sector. Elly Kreijkes, global director for renewable energy and energy storage at Synergy Events, who manages the European Utility Week energy storage track, says: “The reluctance we have seen before is being replaced with ‘this is the way to go’.

“Worldwide, there is a clear increase in energy storage project developments, driven by the development of smart-grid infrastructure and constant technological advancements in the energy storage industry.

“The European Commission has announced a list of more than 140 electricity projects that have been fast-tracked, and eStorage has been awarded a €13.3m grant to develop a solution for cost-effective integration of intermittent renewable energy generation.”

She adds: “Advances in next-generation pumped storage, compressed air energy storage and advanced batteries have multiplied the technology options available.”
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Storage focus for Amsterdam event

Alpine and Nordic pumped storage plants, such as Edolo, provide cheap grid flexibility.

Alpine and Nordic pumped storage plants, such as Edolo, provide cheap grid flexibility. Photo credit: Grasso83

Energy storage and the challenges inherent to integrating renewable energy into utility power grids will be in focus at the European Utility Week Renewable Energy Integration & Energy Storage Conference from October 15 to 17 in Amsterdam.
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Previewing European Utility Week

Network with the smart energy community.

Network with the smart energy community. Photo credit: European Utility Week

This October’s European Utility Week in Amsterdam is gearing up to be a major forum for partnerships in renewable energy integration and storage solutions, bringing together more than 8,000 energy professionals and representatives of 300-plus utilities. On the exhibition floor, more than 350 exhibitors will showcase the newest technologies in smart energy, renewable integration and storage.
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Future of energy storage in Europe

What part will our sector play in the coming years? That’s the question recently put to energy industry experts Hubert Lemmens, chief innovation officer at Elia Group, Belgium, Paul Giesbertz, head of infrastructure and market policies at Statkraft Markets, the Netherlands, and Jorge Tello Guijarro, head of active networks and distributed energy resources integration at Gas Natural Fenosa, Spain.

All three will be appearing at European Utility Week from 15-17 October. Here’s what they had to say:
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EUW to focus on energy storage

Organisers have confirmed energy storage will play a major part in proceedings at this year’s European Utility Week in Amsterdam from October 15 to 17.

The event will feature an international exhibition with more than 350 solution providers, 200 speakers and some 8,000 delegates and visitors, including representatives from more than 300 leading utilities.

Fortum: the challenge is a holistic view

Catarina Naucler of Fortum Distribution

Catarina Naucler of Fortum Distribution AB, Sweden. Photo courtesy of European Utility Week.

How important is energy storage to the integration of renewable power sources in Europe? To find out, our event partners at European Utility Week spoke to Catarina Naucler, Nordic Smart Grid Development lead, Fortum Distribution AB, Sweden. Here is what she said.

Do you think that a 45% renewable energy share target for 2030 is feasible and if so, how does the energy industry need to prepare for this?
In Sweden, more than 55% of the power production already comes from renewable energy resources, mainly hydro power. Fortum continues to increase the level of renewable as part of our vision of the solar economy and strategy. Fortum sees a future functioning market-based solution for CO2 as a driver for more renewable energy.

What are the industry’s biggest challenges related to renewable energy integration and what needs to be done to overcome them?
The main challenge for the industry, related to renewable energy integration, is to have a holistic view of the transformation of the energy system. Investments will be needed in the whole system and subsidies in one part of the system will drive even more investments in another part. It is a challenge to fund all needed investments and a holistic view among decision makers and industry is the key.

According to you, will we need to keep conventional power plants as backup in periods with almost no renewable electricity generation?
To secure the competitiveness for the electricity intensive industry, a stable and long-term supply of energy is needed; base load will still be needed in the system. In Scandinavia hydro power is the core base load.

What role do you foresee energy storage to play in the near future?
Even if we will have a common European energy market, the grids are still local. The future energy system will have different challenges in different parts of the system, and solutions can differ. Furthermore, there are several roles for storage. In short term, I think we in the Nordics need to use what we already have to minimise the investments.

In Sweden we can use hydro to store, but we could also start to combine the electricity system with the district heating/cooling system and increase the flexibility in the whole energy system.

Catarina Naucler will be presenting on Fortum Distribution’s view on future energy outlook, renewable grid integration and energy storage, on Wednesday October 16 at 9am at European Utility Week. Get your free exhibition pass from Energy Storage Report now.

EEGI maps energy storage initiatives

European Electricity Grids Initiative (EEGI) mapping energy storage projects

Pic courtesy of Smartgrids ETP

The European Electricity Grids Initiative (EEGI) has conducted a mapping of all storage projects currently taking place all over Europe, highlighting intense activity. The mapping is a major input towards the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 funding programme, so its findings will soon be translated into actions.

Peter Verboven, innovation developer, Smart Grids of EnergyVille, Belgium, will present an overview of the major developments and investments on the continent and will highlight the gaps that still need to be addressed during European Utility Week. In his opinion, we have finally seen real progress in the development and rollout of smart grids.

Although there are many challenges that still remain, the technology that underpins it all is in place, except for one area. The one area that still needs substantial development is storage technology and solutions. The current generation of solutions is not always cost-competitive, suffers from limited energy density or capacity, and grid integration may prove problematic.

Europe will only be able to fully balance and manage its grids and all the renewables connected to it if there is sufficient buffer capacity available, according to Verboven. Fortunately the interest in storage has surged over the past two years and lots of exciting developments are taking place. To hear more, register for European Utility Week’s track on Renewable Energy Integration & Energy Storage.

The topics addressed include technology development, business models, regulatory aspects and grid services rendered by storage and financing. Energy Storage Report readers get a 10% discount on the conference fee or have FREE entrance to the exhibition, so register now to make sure you don’t miss out.