Talking about storage for energy asset management raises eyebrows. Creates sweat from renewable energy experts. It torments gurus in the industry. Critics are forcing them to raise the threshold of doubt. You see, it’s an exciting topic.
Largely because it is still in its early stages. With some on one end of the spectrum cheering for advances in storage technology, there are quite a few critics at the other end waving a white flag.
Personally, I love this topic. Why? Because it shows that our industry has progressed. Because it shows that we are at the point of producing clean energy from where we can see its future. I apologize, I tend to become prophetic about energy asset management …
Unlike fossil fuels, our industry faces a dilemma. The sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow. But are we on the path to efficient storage? I belive.
As far as energy storage management is concerned, progress is underway as we speak. A recent case that speaks volumes about this trend is the transformation of a coal factory in North Dakota. This plant has been converted into a battery farm with a capacity of 150 hours. Now we’re really coming to the toes of traditional energy, aren’t we? Who knew renewables could be so bad!
I want to write this down: ten years ago, an increase in clean power disrupted the global power industry. A decade from now, we will say the same about storage. And this is not just a fad. According to extensive research conducted by UBS, the global energy storage market will grow to $ 426 billion over the next 10 years, with an expected cost drop of more than 60%.
Types of storage options in energy asset management
Battery storage is key to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Since solar and wind are occasional sources of energy, efficient storage can alleviate this interruption. It can improve the ability to send and absorb energy, along with removing the peaks and troughs in our energy grid profiles.
I want to make it clear that this is not just the basic warehouse we are talking about. Gone are the days of mammoths, mechanical generators tied to large networks. Efficient storage is now synonymous with powerful systems that use state-of-the-art technology. They can be monitored remotely and can be integrated into solar and wind asset management platforms.
Today I want to talk about two storage solutions. One that has proven its power and the other that is proving to be a promising perspective in the near future.
Lithium-ion batteries were first developed in the 70s and entered major markets in the 90s. As for energy asset management, it has been around for 10 years, give or take. One of the most common lithium storage solutions comes in the form of Telsin Powerwall. A sleek battery that provides enough base load to power a a medium-sized house with solar panels.
While I don’t want to discuss the system itself, I want to point out the point below.
With the release of 2015, Tesla Powerwall changed the world perspective towards storage. This made the storage of renewable energy the mainstream. They provided renewable energy enthusiasts with a basis for further #gogreen initiatives and forced critics to reconsider their position on clean energy. It was definitely a cornerstone for the renewable energy industry.
Today, sunny states like California, Hawaii and Arizona use huge resources to set up solar and wind farms with lithium-ion batteries. Missouri, in particular, is using a $ 68 million storage project that will stabilize energy production in its rural areas.
This one mass storage marathon it has certainly given way to one thing: ever-falling costs. Research suggests that the production of these batteries has attracted enough economies of scale. Therefore, their production is cheaper than the operation of coal-fired power plants. Consequently, the price for solar and plus storage systems will see a drop of 10-15% per year by 2024.
This drop in costs has spurred a number of significant warehousing projects globally. Get a 129MWh of battery storage at Hornsdale Farm in Australia or a 40MWh storage project in New York State. Such settings are a great example of how storage technology has become such an important focus of energy asset management.
It is therefore clear that lithium-ion batteries are one of the most prevalent and most prevalent storage solutions on the market. It is safe to say that the adoption phase of these batteries is over. These energy banks are the driving force behind the development of renewable energy storage. Whether located behind the counter or in the form of gigawatts stored on grid networks.
Thermal Electricity Storage (TES)
Thermal electricity storage is a relatively old technology in energy management. We have been using heat pumps in some way, shape or form for hundreds of years.
The TES storage system uses a large-scale heat pump to convert excess electricity into heating. This heat is then stored in an insulated container filled with heat storage medium. The medium can be gravel, water or even salt. Now, when electricity is needed in the evening, the stored heat is returned to the power supply.
One of the biggest advantages of the TES system is the use of known machines, processes and parts. The world of electricity generation has always been well acquainted with the concept of thermodynamic heating. Therefore, channeling these proven and reliable procedures makes thermal electricity storage a cheap and scalable storage option.
Moreover, while lithium-ion batteries begin to degrade immediately after they are produced, thermal power storage systems have a long lifespan. If well maintained, they can last for decades compared to the usual battery life of 8-10 years.
However, are they as effective as the previous ones? Experts often debate whether a longer life compensates for the high level of losses associated with thermal conversions. So while lithium ions promise 80-90% efficiency,, thermal systems give a rate of 50-70%, at best.
You might come across Concentrated Solar Energy (CSP) on our blog. Concentrated solar energy is a form of thermal accumulation that stores solar energy with molten salt as a medium. It uses curved solar panels to concentrate sunlight and generate energy. It then flows through heated tubes into energy chambers containing salt.
CPS systems are now installed globally. Morocco is a prime example of the state it founded the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world in the Sahara desert powering a million homes using the basic principles of thermal electricity.
The way forward in renewable energy Plus
Ahead in this field is undoubtedly a greater focus on the utility-scale warehouse.
The type of renewable energy project plus that the biggest developers are working on includes hybrid plants. Imagine solar, wind and battery settings – all in one place, a model that China is working aggressively towards. So while the battery saves energy from solar panels during the day, it does so from the wind in the evening. The result is a continuous cycle of energy production, use and storage.
I find this dynamic of energy asset management very interesting.
I have to say; the basis of all such hybrid projects is collaboration. We discussed this key feature in an earlier article crisis-proof solar asset management. The same principle applies here. For batteries to become commonplace, a collaborative and inclusive approach to energy asset management is needed.
Policy makers, states, regulators and investors are just some of them key stakeholders who pool resources and expertise develop reliable and sustainable storage solutions. Such an ecosystem has led to falling cost of batteries to store renewable energy sources for half in the last two years.
Therefore, perfecting these storage options is a clear path to saying goodbye to fossil fuels and proving the future of relying on clean energy.