In this interview, committee chairman Florian Mayr shares his thoughts on the trends and international developments in the energy storage market which will be presented and discussed at the ees Europe Conference on May 10/11, 2022, at the ICM Munich.
Preparation for the ees Europe Conference 2022 is going full steam ahead, can you let us in on what a couple of the main topics and highlights may be?
Down to the pandemic, this and the previous ees conference will be held within a much shorter period of time than in the past. For that reason, we have made a point of addressing specific, exciting topics that weren’t already discussed in great detail last October. Residential and commercial storage systems will be a central topic this time round, and we want to discuss trends and factors driving this market extensively. Exciting new doors have opened recently for commercial storage systems in particular, for example as components of energy as a service offers.
But large-scale storage systems won’t be left on the side lines – here, we will specifically address the challenges and opportunities of stand alone storage systems as well as the PV and wind plus storage projects in Europe.
Promising approaches to financing storage systems, such as high-yield or mezzanine debt in merchant projects will be discussed in the session Energy Storage Finance 2.0. Current technological trends to do with all things energy storage, for example cell chemistry, power electronics and power monitoring, will be discussed in a special session.
Is there a central theme that links the whole conference?
There isn’t an explicit theme which acts as a “conference slogan” so to speak – the storage market and the exciting topics are still too diverse for that. As every year, we simply want to facilitate exchange about the most relevant, current topics in the industry through the conference, as well as answer the attendees’ most burning questions. Generally, we place the focus on practical and market relevance, and not on theory.
With view to the world market, where do you currently see the most important changes?
One example is the U.S. storage market that strengthened its dominating position even further in 2021. 3.5 GWh of energy storage capacity were installed there in the third quarter of 2021 alone – that’s more than was expected for all of Europe across the whole year. A driving factor of this are the large-scale storage system projects which are often implemented in combination with solar or wind farms in the USA, something that is still an exception rather than the rule in Europe. We’d like to go into why it’s like that and how things seem to be shaping up for the future in a dedicated session at the conference.
Which trends do you see in the European storage market and how will these be reflected at the conference? Are there new and exciting business models?
The demand for large-scale storage systems in Europe is still being driven by grid services, meaning it is generally saturated relatively quickly. However, in more advanced markets such as the United Kingdom, there are very advantageous market structures providing the opportunity to sell the storage at frequent intervals in various balancing markets as well as on the wholesale electricity market. Distinct, mostly AI-supported skills for precision bidding are required for optimization. These are increasingly offered as part of a service portfolio or as an independent business model. There will also be a dedicated session on this at the ees conference.
Joint sessions will be held with the other three The smarter E conferences, i.e. Intersolar Europe, Power2Drive Europe and EM-Power Europe. Attendees can use the same conference ticket to visit sessions of the other conferences. Where are the overlaps?
Fundamentally, there is strong convergence between energy storage, PV, e-mobility, and power grids, which will also be reflected in individual sessions. An example of this are residential storage systems, whose main use is still the optimization of private consumption of PV electricity and in that sense, naturally overlap with the Intersolar conference. Another example is the role of energy storage systems used to stabilize the power grids – a clear overlap with EM-Power. And finally, the interaction between electric cars, roof-mounted PV, residential storage systems and potentially grid services clearly represents an overlap between all four conferences.
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