Energy storage: The game-changer for renewable energy

30-10-2017

Energy storage has earned a place as a crucial technology in the energy transition. The long-awaited drop in storage system prices in general – and batteries in particular – has been warmly welcomed by the players who understand the flexibility this technology provides to the grid and the system. With global policies aiming for decarbonisation, storage is becoming a sought-out solution that comes hand in hand with wind and solar PV projects.

3E worked on diverse projects where the solar PV & Wind projects are coupled with batteries in order to provide solutions such as time shift, forecasting, capacity firming and frequency regulation. The addition of battery systems mitigates the loss of services provided by conventional synchronous plants that are being replaced by renewable energy generation. Our analysis also brings many new elements to the investment decision making: battery and inverter losses, battery aging, energy management system, charging and discharging cycles and performance ratio. All these new sources of uncertainty need to be understood and managed properly to minimize the inherent risk attached to the inception of new technologies and gear innovation paths.

As Lender Technical Advisor or Owner’s Engineer, 3E provides its wide expertise in technical risk management to assess the impact of storage systems on the yield calculations, the contractual agreements and its compliance to the local grid codes. 3E’s proven track record showcases a rapidly increasing number of PV and Wind projects coupled with storage such as in Martinique (14MW wind farm + 4.8MWh battery), Guadeloupe (12MW wind farm + 4.4 MWh battery) and Guyana (6MW solar PV + 4MWh battery) among many other upcoming projects.

Most recently, 3E is creating the conceptual design of an off-grid hybrid PV + storage system with a multi-MWh battery in West Africa, tackling the well-known issues of shortage of supply and excess of production in an innovative way in collaboration with different players involved.

Hybridization of renewable energy generation with storage is here, and 3E is actively participating in this game-changing transition. 3E’s software platform SynaptiQ & related data services enable continuous performance improvement & reliability in this new market.

The drop of battery prices is a trend that will continue, with prices of lithium batteries expected to drop by 60% by 2030 (source: IRENA). This, in addition to the increased requirements from grid operators and demand response will – undoubtfully – lead to a surge of storage projects, both stand-alone and coupled with renewable energy projects.