Energy Storage 2014: Industry Calls for Better Regulatory Framework for Energy Storage

More than 850 experts from the fields of business, politics, and research discuss worldwide storage development in Düsseldorf, Germany

Düsseldorf, 03.04.2014. In his closing speech at this year's Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition, Prof. Dr. Eicke R. Weber, Chairman of the Energy Storage Program Committee, President of the German Energy Storage Association (BVES) and Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, stated that: "The energy storage market is in the same situation today as photovoltaics was ten years ago; only development in the area of storage must proceed significantly faster." The storage industry, he said, must achieve in three years what photovoltaics took ten years to achieve. The event, organized by Messe Düsseldorf, was held in Düsseldorf from March 25-27, 2014. Here, more than 850 experts from 46 countries discussed the most recent developments in energy storage. At an accompanying exhibition with almost 70 stands, visitors were able to inform themselves on the latest state-of-the-art technology immediately on site and to conclude concrete business deals.


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In his keynote speech, the North Rhine-Westphalia Minister for Economics, Garrelt Duin, demanded that the general conditions and financial support for energy storage be more clearly organized and enforced. The public sector could, as a "visible consumer", help to facilitate the breakthrough of energy storage technologies.

For the German visitors, the impending reform of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) was a dominant topic. Tobias Rothacher of Germany Trade and Invest hoped that the last word had not yet been said on the matter of EEG surcharge on industrial own consumption. He is assuming that the big breakthrough for energy storage will come in two to three years, when no more feed-in subsidies are paid after the "flexible cap" has been reached. "It is a logical step for the owners of photovoltaic plants to then purchase energy storage, in order to avoid throwing away the energy generated," explained Rothacher. He reckons that, in Germany, it will be possible to store approximately 3.8 TWh PV energy on an economically viable basis by 2020. That would allow for an installed battery storage capacity of more than 12 GWh.

Many companies and research institutes presented their latest products and research findings at the accompanying exhibition. The exhibitors included, among others, Siemens, Areva, FIAMM Energy Storage Solutions, SMA Solar Technology, Younicos, Hydrogenics, Varta Storage, RWE and E.ON. One of the highlights of the event was the new e-car with iDrive technology presented by BMW.

The market share of renewable energies will also increase worldwide. This is what Frank Wouters, Deputy Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), assumes. "Without increasing costs, the share of renewable energies in the energy supply worldwide can reach 36 percent by 2030," he stated. Within the context of the Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition, IRENA held an international workshop with some 50 participants, during which promising energy storage technologies and applications that are to be included in IRENA's global technology roadmap for energy storage were presented in detail.

Many speakers called for corresponding regulatory conditions, in order to facilitate the breakthrough of energy storage worldwide. For example, Dr. Ilja Pawel, Cellstrom GmbH/Gildemeister energy solutions, emphasized: "Energy storage still has a long way to go until it is used worldwide in an economically viable manner, but we are moving in the right direction. For this, we also need the right legal framework."

Whether energy storage is economically viable is a very complex question and depends heavily on the respective local conditions, as was demonstrated by Tobias Cossen of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), among others. During the session on "Building the Global Ecosystem for Grid Storage," he reported on the example of Philippine islands where diesel for energy production currently has to be flown in by helicopter. Here, a photovoltaic plant with energy storage amortizes itself very quickly, claimed Cossen.

The 3rd Conference Power-to-Gas of the Ostbayerisches Technologie-Transfer-Institut (OTTI e. V.) took place as a side-event to Energy Storage. Annegret Agricola of the German Energy Agency (dena) explained in her opening speech: "Power to Gas brings flexibility to the energy system. It is a very important technology for reaching the German climate and renewable energies targets." She called for a tax exemption on energy storage for end-consumers, as well as amendments to the laws on renewable fuels made from hydrogen and synthetic natural gas. The event was taking place for the third time and had more than 100 international participants.

"Indeed, this new era of renewables will be driven not primarily by direct public support, but by private sector investment. It is through the establishment of bankability that renewable energy projects can attract the necessary funding to become a reality," stated Wilfried, Jäger, Managing Director of the VDE Testing & Certification Institute, in his opening address at the VDE Financial Dialogue Europe, another side-event to Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition. Although the energy storage market is still in the early stages, there is strong momentum from the sector to overcome its hurdles. "The business models for energy storage systems that we see today are not yet bankable from a non-recourse financing perspective, as pointed out by players in the financial industry. A lot of work has to be done, but we can learn from other sectors like solar photovoltaics, to avoid the same mistakes and be faster in some aspects," explained Matthias Jäger, Head Risk Advisory & Services, Allianz Climate Solutions. The event attracted a full house of over 150 participants.

For the first time, the StorageDay by SolarAllianz took place within the context of Energy Storage (Conference & Exhibition). Eight speakers presented specific storage solutions and storage products to increase own consumption of self-generated green power to installers and energy consultants. The program also included a presentation from the start-up company, Flyingeyes Germany, as well as communications and sales training from Peter Holzer Unternehmensberatung (Management Consultancy). The event technology for the StorageDay was powered throughout by a storage device – the Hauskraftwerk S10 home power station from E3/DC.

In the coming year, the Energy Storage Europe (Conference & Expo) and the 4th Conference Power-to-Gas (by OTTI e. V.) will for the first time be held together with the 9th International Renewable Energy Storage Conference (IRES 2015). From March 9-11, 2015, more than 1,000 international participants and almost 100 exhibitors at the accompanying trade fair will meet in Düsseldorf.

Further information is available at: www.ESEexpo.com

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