Leading scientists will be meeting in Berlin as of today (November 18th) for the 8th time for the International Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition (IRES). They will be exchanging information and experience on the advances in the development and application of the newest energy storage systems. The conference put up by EUROSOLAR and the World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE), in cooperation with EnergyAgency.NRW, is one of the biggest of its kind worldwide, with over 500 participants from about 40 countries. ”The extraordinary international interest demonstrates that energy storage is a pressing issue. Without modern and efficient storage systems a successful transition to renewable energy is not possible. International networking is essential in the advancement of successful research. In the face of climate change and the global non-renewable resource crisis we cannot afford to waste time working inefficiently”, says Professor Peter Droege, President of EUROSOLAR.
“To integrate renewable energy in the power generating sector, a sea change towards a decentralized energy system is needed: energy storage will play a major role in this, alongside grid expansion, enhanced flexibility in conventional power generation and load management. Short-term energy storage is a useful option already at present. In the future, with the share of renewable energy increasing, long-term storage will be needed, using for example hydrogen based technology”, says Johannes Remmel, Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection in the State Government of North Rhine-Westphalia.
However, some of tomorrow’s solutions are only visionary today: for example, pumped storage power stations on the ocean floor with storage and pumps, a design which the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology is co-developing.
“We have come, however, much closer to widespread use of hydrogen underground storage. In Germany we have storage capacity of about 20 billion cubic meters in underground caverns. Were they filled with hydrogen, all of Germany could be supplied with electricity or three weeks by drawing on combined cycle power stations or fuel cells with an efficiency conversion of 60%“, calculates Prof. Dirk Uwe Sauer of the RWTH Aachen University.
The times when the issue of storing energy from intermittent (renewable) sources used to be above all an abstract subject of scientific research, are long gone. Ever since the feed-in tariffs for electricity from domestic solar PV installations dropped, domestic consumption of such generated energy has become increasingly attractive. The worldwide capacity for self-consumption could rise to more than 350 GWp by the year 2020, according to a McKinsey study. For Germany, the expected potential for self-consumption is about 100 GWp from installed capacity of solar PV a year.
"We are witnessing today the transformation of Germany’s solar PV market. The changed backdrop and advances in the development of battery technology ensure that the consumption of self-generated electricity is becoming more and more economically viable“, states Dr. Stefan Rabe, Director Decentralized Energy Generation, Energy Grids and Energy Storage Systems, EnergyAgency.NRW.
Currently, pumped storage power stations are the only commercial-scale technology available. Given the current economic energy framework however, we do not expect to see additional pumped storage investment in Germany. Geological factors, too, limit further expansion. A number of essential grid-stabilizing storage technologies are being developed (such as redox flow batteries) or pilot tested (such as the so-called power-to-gas process, hydrogen added to the natural gas system, adiabatic pressurized air energy storage). Rabe: „Electric vehicles, too, may play a part in energy storage in the future.“
IRES 2013 will continue tomorrow, November 19th, from 8:30. As a side event, the IRES user forum (in German language) will feature practical examples from operating energy storage sites in Germany.
Furthermore, two excursions planned for Wednesday will be rounding off IRES 2013.
More information about the conference and the program is online at: www.energiespeicherkonferenz.de and www.energieagentur.nrw.de
IRES 2013 Project Managers: Corinna Kolks, Roland Keiffer
Phone: + 49 228-2891446 & +49 170-5232609