The storage player taking on utilities

Sonnenbatterie is going to take on utilities, with a residential P2P energy trading model using battery energy storage in Germany. Photo: Sonnenbatterie eco

Sonnenbatterie is taking on utilities in Germany, with a residential P2P energy trading model that uses its Sonnenbatterie eco battery energy storage system and an innovative software platform. Photo credit: Sonnenbatterie

By Jason Deign

An energy storage player could become the first company to seriously undermine the utility business model following an announcement being made today. Sonnenbatterie, a storage firm with around 50% of the residential battery market in Germany, has unveiled a community energy exchange model that could in theory allow users to swap electricity and cut out utilities altogether. The concept has already been pioneered by German companies such as LichtBlick and confirms the importance of residential storage in creating peer-to-peer energy trading networks.

What sets Sonnenbatterie apart is the sophistication of its model. “We know LichtBlick is going in the same direction and we are ahead of [them],” said Sonnenbatterie’s managing director, Philipp Schröder.

The company is offering to give its 8,000 or so German customers access to a software platform that it says could cut electricity costs by 25%.
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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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Five conferences at the industry’s largest gathering

With with five international energy-related conferences plus an exhibition, Energy Storage Europe 2015 looks like being an unmissable event. Photo credit: Messe Düsseldorf GmbH

With five international energy-related conferences plus an exhibition, Energy Storage Europe 2015 looks like being an unmissable event. Photo credit: Messe Düsseldorf GmbH

It is being billed as the biggest gathering in the industry. And with five international energy-related conferences plus an exhibition all under the one roof, the organisers of the Energy Storage Europe 2015 event can hardly be accused of boasting. The event, which will take place March 9 to 11, 2015, in Düsseldorf, Germany, will combine Energy Storage Europe with the 9th International Renewable Energy Storage Conference (IRES 2015).

But in addition, attendees will be able to dip in to three other key energy events, starting with the 2nd Financial Dialogue Europe run by VDE, the German Institute of the Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies.

On its third day, meanwhile, the venue will host the 4th Ostbayerisches Technologie-Transfer-Institut (OTTI) Power-to-Gas Conference and the German Solar Alliance’s 6th Storage Day.

Together, these annual conferences will cover the widest topical range in the international energy storage market, organisers say.

The Messe Düsseldorf trade fair is organising the event along with VDE, OTTI, the European Association for Renewable Energy (Eurosolar), the World Council for Renewable Energy and the Solar Alliance.
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Bosch uses hybrid battery system for energy storage

The Bosch energy storage solution in Braderup consists of a vanadium redox flow battery from Vanadis Power and a Sony lithium-ion battery store.

The Bosch energy storage solution in Braderup consists of a vanadium redox flow battery from Vanadis Power and a Sony lithium-ion battery store. Photo credit: Robert Bosch GmbH

Residents in blustery Braderup, Northern Germany, will be celebrating a Christmas with a difference this year. The energy to cook their Plätzchen will have been plucked from thin air… with help from a groundbreaking energy storage project.In July, the 670-or-so-strong community installed what is believed to be one of Europe’s biggest grid-scale lithium-ion (Li-ion) and vanadium redox flow battery systems to store excess wind energy.

The project, delivered by the German engineering and electronics giant Bosch, is said to have been prompted by a local farmer’s frustration at wind turbines overloading the grid and causing power cuts during gales on the North Frisian coast.

A group of 200 private investors from the community got together, as Braderup-Tinningstedt, to fund their own private wind farm, which installed six 3.3MW turbines at the end of 2013.

Braderup-Tinningstedt then formed Energiespeicher Nord, a joint venture with Bosch, to create the energy storage facility, one of the largest in Europe.
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When batteries beat traditional power

The largest commercial battery storage system in Europe, commissioned by WEMAG in Schwerin, Germany, is proving that battery energy storage can beat traditional power for grid frequency regulation. Photo credit: Younicos

The largest commercial battery storage system in Europe, commissioned by WEMAG in Schwerin, Germany, is showing that battery energy storage can beat traditional power for grid frequency regulation. Photo credit: Younicos

Battery storage is usually seen as being a handy adjunct to help renewable energy square up to traditional power plants. But on frequency regulation, at least, it seems batteries may actually be better than the generation sources they are helping to supplant.

That, at least, is the consensus emerging from early operating experience at Europe’s largest commercial battery power plant, the 5MWh lithium-ion facility that WEMAG has commissioned from Younicos in Schwerin, Germany.

“Whereas coal-fired and other thermal plants typically take up to 30 seconds to adjust production up or down, and then just hit the neighbourhood of where they are supposed to be, batteries react within milliseconds,” explains Philip Hiersemenzel of Younicos.

The fact that batteries might beat traditional power plants for frequency regulation has long been touted as a big selling point for battery storage and has already helped sell projects in the US.

Now the performance of WEMAG’s installation is strengthening that business case.
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Energy storage news: 21.05.14

Over 4,000 residential solar energy storage systems have been installed in Germany since it introduced subsidies for lithium-ion battery storage systems. Photo credit: ASD Sonnnenspeicher

Over 4,000 residential solar energy storage systems have been installed in Germany since it introduced subsidies for lithium-ion battery storage systems. Photo: ASD Sonnnenspeicher

The top energy storage news headlines from our Twitter feed this week.

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers are electronically modifying plentiful metals, such as tungsten, to mimic platinum-group catalysts.
  • The US Department of Energy has handed awards to Giner, to develop polymer electrolyte membrane electrode assemblies for fuel cells and electrolysis, and to US Hybrid Corporation and Vision Industries, for fuel-cell electric-hybrid trucks.

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Areva boosts energy storage business

One of many Areva energy storage systems and technologies, the Greenergy Box consists of an electrolyser and a fuel cell. It stores hydrogen and oxygen generated by water electrolysis, allowing grid stabilisation. Photo credit: Areva

One of many Areva energy storage systems and technologies, the Greenergy Box consists of an electrolyser and a fuel cell. It stores hydrogen and oxygen generated by water electrolysis, allowing grid stabilisation. Photo credit: Areva

Areva is poised to announce its first major energy storage deal in Germany, according to Rémi Coulon, chief commercial officer at the company’s Renewables division. “We are about to announce our first client in Germany after having clients in France,” he told Energy Storage Report. “Germany is of course a key market for storage, it is where we see the most need. We are fine-tuning the press release.”
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The future of German energy storage

Hamburg citizens vote to buy back their energy grid, as factors other than the Energiewende energy policy impact on energy storage in Germany.

Hamburg citizens vote to buy back their energy grid, as factors other than the Energiewende policy impact on energy storage in Germany. Photo credit: Unser Hamburg – Unser Netz

Germany is awash with electricity, yet customer bills remain high. And the chief reason is unprecedented subsidies of over €20bn in feed-in tariffs (FITs) for renewables paid every year. Meanwhile, the country has pledged to retire its entire nuclear fleet and make renewables 80% of the energy mix by 2050, as part of its Energiewende or energy transition doctrine.

With mounting costs and commercial uncertainty for conventional generators, Chancellor Merkel stated at the beginning of her new mandate in September that reforming the Energiewende in some way would be one of her priorities as premier.
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