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With an increasingly distributed energy system, rapidly falling energy storage costs, and a growing demand for flexibility and energy autonomy, microgrids are fast becoming a key topic of commercial relevance in many global markets. In short, microgrids are one of the hottest topics in the industry right now - and key players don’t want to be left out.
This post reflects on the findings that emerged from the three polls we conducted during our recent 'Microgrids are coming - how can you benefit?' webinar. With the highest number of registrants a Delta-ee webinar has ever had, this in itself says a lot about the level of interest surrounding the topic. If you missed the webinar, it is available to watch again on YouTube here.
Energy storage has been the hot topic in the distributed energy industry since Tesla made its move into stationary storage a couple of years ago. As is often the case with ‘new’ technology, the headlines and the hype has been quite far ahead of the reality.
The reality in Europe today is that behind-the-meter (BTM) battery storage markets remain very small in most countries. Market growth is mainly concentrated in just three countries: Germany, Italy and the UK. And Germany is easily the biggest market – it accounts for over 90% of the total European market. So the impact to date on most European energy retailers is very limited.
The direction of travel is clear – our energy and heating markets are undergoing a profound transition. The dynamics of power generation that have previously held true for over a century are being flipped precisely on their head, coupled with rapidly evolving and increasingly sophisticated energy demand characteristics.
And now even the largest, most established - and traditionally fossil fuel focused energy companies - are beginning to murmur a response.
Time flies. I first blogged about Thermondo in October 2014, pointing out how I believed it could shake up the German heating market. One and a half years later they are in the very early stages of doing precisely this, and recently raised €23.5M to drive their growth into, in their words, “an integrated energy company in a distributed world of energy”. I visited the company’s headquarters in Berlin last week and thought I’d share some of my latest thoughts in this blog.
I previously characterised Thermondo as disrupting the traditional route to market for heating systems, by offering a 21st century way for customers to buy a new heating system and have it installed. They have been executing on precisely this over the last couple of years. Customers complete a survey and upload photographs of their heating system, receiving a firm quote from Thermondo whose software optimises the best solution for the customer. The company’s in-house installation teams across the country then carry out the installation. Thermondo is now installing thousands of heating systems a year in this way. The numbers are small in relation to the overall heating market: their challenge now is to get to scale, and as you’ll see below, broaden their offering.
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