Speakers’ Corner: ENBW, Bernd Calaminus

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 Head of Generation Technology Conventional, ENBW, Bernd Calaminus. Enjoy!

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

The idea to link the electricity system with the (existing, well developed) gas system through application of Power-to-gas approaches is as such quite charming. Especially the capacity and the transport aspect are interesting. However, low overall cycling efficiency as well as high cost represent real challenges on the technology’s way to market.

There also must be named considerable progress in advanced battery technology and its reduction of cost due to cutting edge industrial production processes. However, application of these systems will be decentralized, and there is still a long way  to go to reach business case conditions leading to significant power/capacity installed.

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

At least under actual market conditions in Germany, investment in storage projects is not economically feasible, as can be seen with pumped hydro storage projects currently under development. Even operation of existing plants is not necessarily paying off well. This situation may start changing when feed-in of renewables reaches more than about 40%, or when politics decide to install a re-compensation system putting in favor secure balancing power capacity (value of “MW”, not “energy-only”).

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

In two words it is the “stabilizing effect” which storage plants may have in the transmission/distribution network. Pumped hydro storage plants provide +/- balancing power with steep ramps, black start capability, frequency control.

How essential will energy storage be in the future grid?

The role to secure power and to provide network services will increase with decreasing capacity of thermal plants. Placed at the feed-in knots of major REN power (e.g. onshore connection points of offshore wind parks), storage facilities may gain a buffering function helping to cope with grid congestion situations. Essential will be the real evolution of the grid extension, of interconnector among countries, of their individual or synchronized extension of REN power, of the allowance/acceptance to apply curtailment of excess REN power etc.

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?

Better coordination of single REN extension policies among EU countries; develop the “system approach”: how can cooperation lead to win-win situations for the sake of low-carbon politics (e.g. developing the potential role of Norwegian hydro power in the EU energy system); foster development of different technology options to reach demonstration scale, and then let market decide which options to be chosen to what extent.

What experience does your organisation have with energy storage?

EnBW runs an impressing portfolio of pumped hydro storage plants and develops further PHS capacity. Furthermore we follow, support and demonstrate a broad bunch of new technologies and their application in future energy systems, such as batteries in the distribution grid, A-CAES development, Power-to-gas demonstration etc. We play an active role in national and international storage associations and platforms (BDEW, DENA, EASE).

Bernd Calaminus will be speaking at The 6th Energy Storage World Forum on the topic “Energy Storage Vs. More Power Lines And More Flexible System Components” 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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