by Dr Martin Belusko
We all know that energy storage is used to account for when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine. However, energy storage is not a clear value proposition, and requires a whole range of considerations for each application.
Battery energy storage uses electrochemistry to store electrical energy and is heavily reliant on global supply chains of high cost materials. The expected price drop with volume which was occurring over the past few years has dramatically reversed in recent times. Understanding the outlook of these prices provides insight into future costs of this technology.
The true value of energy storage is when the effective price of energy varies considerably, and enables you to buy low and sell high. These price variations exist via the actual electricity market or through the effective energy price of on-site renewable energy vs imported energy. Understanding the practical and economic aspects of these prices enables the value proposition of energy storage to be determined. Furthermore, electrical batteries are not just about energy storage, batteries support the electricity grid in various ways for which revenue can be generated.
Thermal energy storage is another form of energy storage which can offer similar benefits as an electric battery. Thermal storage can be as simple as a hot water tank and using the thermal inertia within a frozen cold storage facility, all the way through to award winning Phase Change Material Energy Storage for HVAC-R (heating ventilation air conditioning and refrigeration) applications.
Its tempting to think that energy storage is straight forward. More often than not though, there needs to be a lot of strategic analysis to get the balance between on-site generation, storage costs, market dynamics and having enough forethought for future energy demand changes. This should involve scenario mapping to determine risk levels at varying magnitudes of market flux.
Mondial specialize in the Techno-Economics of energy storage and delivers realistic assessments that deliver genuine value propositions focusing both on the technology and economic aspects. Let our expertise in this space help you make complex easy.