I had the opportunity to present some highlights from our new Energy Storage Research Service last week at European Utility Week (EUW) in Vienna. For those that don’t know it, it’s a leading annual event focusing on the smart energy value chain.
EUW is an established event for smart grid and the connected home space, but clearly the new hot topic is energy storage. Here’s a few of the things I took away from my time in the energy storage stream of EUW:
1. Energy storage is the new hype and everyone wants a part of it
Compared to previous EUWs, energy storage generated greater and much more serious interest from across the energy industry – generators, energy suppliers and network operators are all actively evaluating the case for storage. We see that people have lots of questions on where to play (e.g. what are the right applications and technologies?) and how to play (e.g. what is the best route to market, who are my customers?).
2. Storage has a crucial role to play in transforming and digitalising the energy system
Energy storage can enable renewable generation, but distributed energy storage applications can also unlock new energy supply and service models – helping to digitalise the energy industry. The energy system is facing a multi-facetted transformation – large-scale renewable generation, electrification of heat and transport, as well as the emergence of the energy ‘prosumer’. Network operators are increasingly concerned about system resilience. Energy storage can play a significant role in system balancing – but how it is paid for and who captures the value benefits remain big, complex questions.
3. Project cost remain a key barrier to the widespread commercialisation of energy storage
Despite battery costs falling significantly over the past few years, energy storage is still expensive for many customers. Two key and closely interlinked challenges identified at EUW that need to be addressed are: the policy framework and how storage participates in electricity markets to provide grid services. So, right now energy storage may not be the most scalable proposition for energy suppliers / service providers in many European markets, but I don’t see this stopping them from trying. The market for energy storage will continue to grow and it will be fascinating to see how the role of different energy storage applications both on the utility and customer side of the meter will evolve –one of the key questions we are focusing on in our research.
In my own EUW presentation I highlighted that to create a compelling proposition storage applications need to provide multiple use cases stacking different values and profiled some leading case study examples. Contact me to receive a free copy of this presentation or learn more about our upcoming energy storage research.