Speakers’ Corner: DZ-4 Moderne Energie, Tobias Schutt

This week, we continue our series where we ask our speakers 6 questions on Energy Storage, and share their answers with you. Today we are pleased to feature the answers from the Founder of DZ-4 Moderne Energie, Tobias Schutt. Enjoy!

What technical innovations in the field of energy storage have excited you the most- past and present?

A difficult question. I just generally believe it is a fascinating idea for people to become energy independent, specifically in combination with a renewable energy source. The crucial element in order to achieve this is a storage system that works reliably, without (substantial) losses and is affordable.

When will market conditions be right for large scale deployment of energy storage?

I think we need to differentiate a little bit between commercial application and the situation with individuals. Regarding the individuals, i.e. the residential household, what we see today is that the “innovators” start buying systems. They do that for other reasons than (solely) economic reasons. At this point, storage is a niche market. It will become a mass market, once the economics are better, i.e. Solar PV + a storage system is the most cost effective energy supply concept. And this will happen – just when is the question. If you are optimistic, that point in time is 2015-2016, if you are pessimistic this will be 2020. For commercial applications, profitability is key, as soft factors (like being cool) play an inferior role in the decision making process.

What is the most important function that energy storage can provide in the grid right now?

Here in Germany, we have high peak load from Solar PV which is supposedly a challenge for the grid to handle. Using a storage system to store peak solar PV production (and not feeding it into the grid) helps stabilizing the grid. This is a huge benefit!

How essential will energy storage be in the future grid?

Storage is essential for shifting the carbon based production of power to renewable production as with the introduction of a renewable based infrastructure, we are changing the concept: from “production follows demand” and the management of production to match demand to a system, where we have sources that produce on an “as-available” basis (wind, solar PV). To balance supply and demand, we will simply need storage, it wont work in any other way, at least not, if we really want to replace the carbon based production plants. We need storage a) to supply energy, when there is no wind and solar PV that b) comes from “excess production” of the “as-available” renewable sources.

Which topic or issue would you like the Forum delegates to really brainstorm and come up with an Action Plan that can help the industry in the future?

The “answer”. My take: everyone is on board as to that we will  have a renewable based power industry in the future. But the question is: “how do we get there”? The roadmap is not clear – and I would argue, it is not only not yet communicated but the answer is unknown, to everyone, including specifically myself.

What experience does your organisation have with energy storage?

We are a distributed utility company that supplies its customers with energy from three sources: a) the solar PV system on the customers’ rooftop (we own the PV system) b) a storage system installed in our customers’ basements (we own the storage system) and c) residual demand from the grid. In that context we are owner and operator of storage systems. Our customers love it!

Tobias Schutt will be speaking at The 6th Energy Storage World Forum on the topic “Examining Partnerships Between Solar And Energy Storage Providers: Who Will Invest And Own The Residential Energy Storage System?”, on Thursday, 25 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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