Energy storage comes together
Energy Storage Europe 2018 has grown to be one of the world’s leading conference and trade events, concentrating on energy storage technologies. Held in Düsseldorf March 13 – 15, the event hosted the most comprehensive international conference programme focused on fast-growing energy storage markets and the sector’s diverse technology landscape. DWR eco experts attended to report on the event for those of you who weren’t able to make it. Here is what’s in storage:
On the technology front, energy storage technologies including flywheels, Power-to-X, redox flow batteries, and lithium ion battery suppliers right across the value chain and market segments were present in Düsseldorf. And while the event is predominately focused on the German marketplace, international suppliers, both new and established, were present.
An nteresting new player on the scene was Fluence Energy, which is a joint venture between U.S. utility AES and Siemens. Fluence’s largest single project is a 100 MWh, four-hour battery to be installed in southern California and recently it was awarded a 30 MWh project in Australia. Both are are designed to meet peak electricity demand on the network and provide frequency regulation services.
While Fluence is tapping dual revenue streams for these projects, the company warned that there are dangers in stacking too many revenues streams to make a business case. “Stack it too high it falls over,” Fluence warned.
Another storage provider to watch is Greensmith, which has developed a portfolio of over 200 MWh of battery storage projects in the U.S. In 2017, the Californian company was acquired by Finnish power equipment giant Wärtsilä. It is aiming to leverage its European ownership as it enters the marketplace.
Like Greensmith, Germany’s Younicos was acquired by an established energy provider in 2017, pointing to a trend of accelerating consolidation in the sector. The UK’s Aggreko purchased the large-scale storage pioneer, and at Energy Storage Europe the coming together of the two companies’ core competencies was evident.
Younicos launched its solar-as-a-service offering in Düsseldorf, with the company giving off or fringe-of-grid customers the opportunity to rent a battery unit for between 2 – 4 years. The service is targeted at industrial players, with the mining sector in remote areas most obvious application.
There is no doubting that offgrid applications of battery storage is proving to be an attractive usiness case for the technology. Not only are well engineered and appropriately sized electrical storage solutions competitive today with diesel generation when coupled with solar PV generation, they can also supply a better quality of power supply to communities and businesses located beyond the reaches of the grid.
Microgrid applications are also one of the larger market segments in which battery systems are an important component. Within such microgrids, the software and battery management system (BMS) becomes of crucial importance in balancing a combination of generation sources, and meet electricity demand in an uninterrupted fashion. Here, storage provider like Berlin-based Qinous provides a perfect solution.
As an emerging technology and one in which competitiveness in certain use cases is only now emerging at scale, there is still a long way for energy storage to become a mainstream participate in the energy landscape. However, there is a huge amount of technological and business model innovation taking place across a fast-moving supplier landscape. For these reasons, Energy Storage Europe is likely to remain an important event on Europe’s renewable energy event calendar.
Picture © Solar Promotion GmbH