Speakers’ Corner: Vattenfall Europe Innovation, Oliver Weinmann

This week, we continue our series where we ask our speakers 6 questions on Energy Storage, share their answers with you. This week, we are pleased to feature the answers from the Head of Innovation Management of Vattenfall Europe Innovation, Oliver Weinmann. Enjoy!

Energy technologies and our whole energy system is exciting, especially if I look into the fast changes we are facing right now. In Europe especially, we have the fast transition towards renewables and this changes the complete system. It is more or less a paradigm shift – in the past we produced electricity close to the customer in big thermal units and exactly according to customer demand with load following balancing. Due to the transition we will produce more and more fluctuating electricity from wind and solar in areas where no energy is needed – eg offshore wind. To align the production we will need more storage option in the future and we are lucky that we different possibilities to store energy: pumped hydro, heat and new technologies like hydrogen or batteries.

For market conditions to be right for large scale deployment of energy storage, it depends on a lot of variables such as increase of renewables, grid extension, smart grid development, and the adaption of the regulatory framework. Since this is a very complex situation it is not easy to predict when the market is ready for large scale storage. However, I am sure that this is needed and therefore we are operating existing pumped hydro plants and developing new storage options like batteries and hydrogen. We assume that large options, eg hydrogen, will be needed in some 10 years.

The most important function that energy storage can provide in grid currently is that we are able to use large scale storage like pumped hydro for balancing power and keeping the system stable. The essentialness of energy storage in the future grid depends on the development of the energy system. We will need more storage to balance fluctuating renewable, so storage will become a more and more essential part of the system

I think the Forum delegates need to focus mainly on two issues: How should the regulatory framework should be designed to stimulate the market for investments in storage and How do we get especially the new technologies like hydrogen cheaper, more efficient and reliable. 

Vattenfall is operating a lot of pumped hydro facilities; here we have a broad experience with energy storage over decades. In addition we are exploring battery and hydrogen storage in first demo projects.

Oliver Weinmann will be speaking at The 6th Energy Storage World Forum about “Examining How To Serve Different Energy Storage Applications At The Same Time And In Which Priority”, on Tuesday, 23 April 2013. 

If you want to know more about this and other topics directly from end users of energy storage technologies join us at one of these annual events: The Energy Storage World Forum (Grid Scale Applications), or The Residential Energy Storage Forum, or one of our Training Courses.

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