5th Forum Completed – See You In Germany For The 6th Forum

Over 40 speakers shared their recent developments in the field of grid energy storage systems at the Energy Storage Forum in Rome, Italy from June 12 -14.

The Forum’s primary agenda of achieving the business case and a regulatory framework to enable the profitable deployment of grid energy storage solutions formed the backbone of the panel discussions and speaker presentations observed during the course of the conference.

The need to equip oneself with the discernment and knowledge to execute the best energy storage solution or policy strategy to survive in the increasingly competitive Energy Storage industry formed the basis of the pre-Forum workshop. The workshop’s premise was centred on the comparison of energy storage business models and applications in order to sieve out the most viable game plan. Workshop leader Dr. Ning Lu, Senior Research Engineer of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory helmed the morning segment of the workshop, with Session 1 revolving around the performance-based cost evaluation of different bulk system energy storage technologies and applications. Session 2 proceeded to stage an evaluation of the smart grid and residential storage options available.

The ability to adapt and respond to the environment was another essential survival tactic advocated in the afternoon segment of the pre-Forum workshop. The baton was passed on to workshop leaders Ms Judy Chang, Principal and Mr Jurgen Weiss, Principal of the Brattle Group. The pragmatics of economics of storage such as the importance of energy price volatility, the ability to arbitrage, market drivers for arbitrage value of storage and the other economic benefits of storage were duly analysed. The skill set of examining and understanding the landscape for energy storage today and in the near future was imparted in Session 2 as the potential of storage solutions to resolve the conflict between the volatility of the power system and the incretion of renewable energy sources was discussed. The potential for storage to support mostly fossil fuel free energy systems of the future was discussed in Session 3, bringing the workshop to a resolution.

Grid energy storage has been identified as key to a sustainable future. However, the current adoption of grid energy storage technology is not only expensive but faces multiple technical hurdles as well. Moreover, the issue of what niche applications are currently economically viable, and which ones will become feasible in the future is also a source of contentious debate. The shedding of light on the transition from theoretical to practical materialisation of energy storage technology was thus a key component of Day 1 of the Forum, where Mr Erik Hauptmeier (Corporate R&D, Technologies – Power Networks & Storage, RWE) presented on the case study on Germany: How Energy Storage Can Support Intermittent System Components in Various Time Scales.

Managing intermittency as intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power reach higher levels of grid penetration is a real challenge in grid integration. Energy storage will thus gain a more prominent role as a viable option in providing reliable energy supplies. Mr Angelo Ferrante (Head of International Regulation,Terna) further elaborated on the crucial role new storage technologies will play in easing the burden on the grid with his Day 2 presentation on ‘Storage Applications in the Italian Transmission Grid to Facilitate RES (Renewable Energy Source) Integration’. With stability, security and cost-effectiveness of grid infrastructure as primary focal points, the benefits of storage application on the grid such as reductions in the cost of energy, increase of security margins, reduced costs for new HV lines and increased voltage regulation capacity prove reassuring to the future partnership of energy storage and the grid.

Fundamentally as reflected in the Forum’s course of presentations, the onus rests on manufacturers, utilities and government authorities to deliver the technology and policy needed to tangibly realise the grid energy storage industry’s expected growth. It is thus imperative to firstly, understand what types of storage are needed, how much and where it should be deployed in the energy system.  Secondly, develop a coherent policy approach to energy storage, and thirdly, stimulate governance and business models to enable rapid implementation. Therefore, the unique Tech Soap Box segment of Day 2 of the Energy Storage Forum with speakers such as Mr Alfonso Damiano (Associate Professor, Regione Autonoma della Sardegna) and Mr Federico Santi (Professor, University of Rome and Managing Director, Studio Santi) proved a timely platform for the audience to sufficiently comprehend and sieve through the expanse of energy storage technologies available to locate the energy storage technology most compatible with their chosen field of application.

Effectiveness and efficiency forms the cornerstone of any successful industry and the grid energy storage market is no exception.  With swiftly progressing technologies with corresponding or superior performance metrics and significantly lower costs and greater resource accessibility predicted to overtake the majority of the grid storage market in the coming year, efficacy of performance is a primary factor in determining the wide scale application of a particular energy storage technology. Day 3’s keynote speaker, Mr Basil Scarsella’s (Chief Executive Officer, UK Power Networks) presentation on ‘Learning How to Improve the Performance of a European Electricity Distribution Company’ adeptly conveyed this valuable piece of corporate counsel.

Apart from load levelling, policy regulation and steady distributed control being key variables taken into account in the formulation of effective grid operational strategies, cost incentives and cost-effective storage play a central role as well. Mr Matthias Popp’s (Engineering Consultant, Popp Engineering Office) Day 3 presentation on ‘Combining Wind and Solar with Energy Storage to Achieve the Greatest Economic Value’ outlined the measures to be taken in order to achieve balance not only within the grid but without, in terms of financial returns.

Looking and moving forward is the name of the game when it comes to the grid energy storage industry, and Day 3’s conclusive session – ‘Building the Action Plan’ encouraged the delegates to actively engage, collaborate and innovate to devise a concrete game plan that would enable the actualisation of a commonly envisioned sustainable future.

We look forward to meeting you in Germany at our 6th Forum. Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive further article summaries with more in depth topics or subscribe to our group on LinkedIn where topics from the Building the Action Plan will be examined further. 

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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