Storage Systems for a Resilient Energy Supply

Press Release – Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Munich/Pforzheim, February 14, 2023. Storage systems are important elements of a resilient energy industry able to supply electricity even in times of crisis. There are various factors that contribute to this: the new role of private households and companies as prosumers, storage systems that are connected to create a swarm grid and large-scale, grid-serving battery storage systems. The pioneers and market leaders of the storage industry will be meeting at ees Europe 2023, Europe’s largest and most international exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems. ees Europe is part of The smarter E Europe, Europe’s largest platform for the energy industry, and will take place from June 14–16, 2023, at Messe München.

Our national energy supplies are threatened by several events: attacks or extreme weather can make the power grid unstable and even cause blackouts. To prevent this from happening, our supply system must be resilient, in other words it needs to provide energy even during difficult times. Storage systems have an important role to play here, and their importance is growing. The same goes for a group which used to be just consumers: private households and companies. Nowadays, these former consumers operate solar installations and storage systems, thus complementing the traditional energy industry. As prosumers, they can contribute to building the resilience of our power grid.

Flexible electricity tariffs and base rates for prosumer services

So far, private households as prosumers generally do not get any remuneration for helping to stabilize the grid. Even though more and more people install climate-friendly heat pumps to heat their houses and produce electricity with roof-top PV installations that feed into wallboxes for charging an electric car, residential storage systems are currently only used to reduce the maximum grid load at the connection point: a kind of mini peak shaving. Residential storage systems avoid having to feed electricity into the grid and reduce the amount of electricity bought from the grid. But the effect of this is not measured and not controlled by the grid; instead, they depend on the PV generating party’s behavior and load curve. Flexible electricity tariffs and base rates could change this: Producing their own PV power is already worth-while, and providing their grid stabilizing service could soon become lucrative for prosumers.

Business models digitally connecting residential storage systems to create a swarm are already able to contribute to grid stability today. sonnen, Next Kraftwerke and ISON, a Lichtblick subsidiary, already offer business models doing just that. Furthermore, each participant allows the swarm to use part of their storage system. At times when there is too much electricity in the grid, any excess power can be stored by the swarm storage systems and fed back into the grid later. This enables a larger share of solar power to be used across the power grid without the need for additional grid expansion.

Swarm storage contributes to grid stability

This concept can also be applied to large storage systems that are designed for the purpose of stabilizing the grid. egrid applications & consulting, a subsidiary of Allgäuer Überlandwerk GmbH, is a case in point: The company has connected six battery storage systems that are distributed across the region. These systems have their own controls as well as a centralized, intelligent control system that allows them to provide grid services: The SchwarmSpeicher Allgäu is present in the primary balancing power market and supplements the uninterruptable power supply (UPS) of conventional power plants. In the e-mobility sector, stationary storage systems are emerging as a new area of business. PowerCo, the battery subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group is planning to build a gigafactory in Sagunto, Spain, for the manufacture of car batteries as well as battery cells for power storage. Audi is cooperating with EnBW to develop large battery systems equipped with second-life batteries from electric vehicles, designed to store excess electricity from wind and solar power sources and feeding them into the grid as needed. This would reduce expensive curtailment of wind and solar parks while helping to stabilize the grid.

Sodium replaces lithium to reduce battery costs

Since the costs of batteries play a role in all the business models described here, it’s worth looking into the future. BYD, a Chinese manufacturer, has announced the start-up of battery production replacing lithium with sodium before the end of 2023. The availability of sodium is 1,000 times that of lithium. What’s more, these new types of batteries will also do away with cobalt and nickel. BYD’s competitor, CATL, is also set to start the production of sodium batteries in 2023.

Next to technical innovations, there are also some important political changes: The European Parliament and European Council agreed on financing for the REPower programme on December 14, 2022. REPpower is intended to strengthen energy security in Europe. The program provides for all energy storage systems – both stand-alone storage devices and systems connected with renewable sources of energy – to be added to the new fast-track approval process for renewable energy projects in defined focus areas.

Companies present energy storage systems at Europe’s largest exhibition

Companies in the storage industry and other sectors within the energy industry will be presenting technologies and business models at The smarter E Europe 2023, Europe’s largest platform for the energy industry with its four concurrent exhibitions: Battery producers such as PowerCo, CATL and BYD as well as providers of storage systems such as sonnen, SENEC, LG Energy Solution and Varta will be presenting their products at ees Europe, Europe’s largest and most international exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems. The immense market growth is reflected in the expansion of ees Europe by more than 100 percent. The exhibition is now spread across four exhibition halls covering over 42,000 square meters of exhibition space. Companies such as Ison and NextKraftwerke will be at EM-Power Europe, the international exhibition for energy management and integrated energy solutions, and EnBW will be at Intersolar Europe, the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry. To find out which companies will be presenting their innovations at Messe München from June 14–16, 2023, take a look at the exhibitor list . More than 1,600 exhibitors, among them over 600 suppliers of energy storage solutions are expected in Munich.

ees Europe and the parallel exhibitions Intersolar Europe, Power2Drive Europe and EM-Power Europe will all take place from June 14–16, 2023, as part of the innovation hub The smarter E Europe at Messe München.

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