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Energy storage to reduce renewable energy intermittency concerns – EQ Mag Pro

Energy storage to reduce renewable energy intermittency concerns – EQ Mag Pro


With advances in storage technology, one of the biggest challenges to realising the full potential of renewables – the intermittent nature of the sources – can be mitigated, offering solar photovoltaic (PV) operators the chance to generate value and make solar power a mainstream option, says PV industry body South African Photovoltaic Industry Association spokesperson Frank Spencer.

He will moderate an upcoming panel discussion at Solar Power Africa – a three-day conference to be held in Cape Town from February 16 to 18 – which includes expert insights from Davin Chown of Genesis Eco Energy and Kaloyan Dimov of SolarMD.

“Developments in storage technology are particularly pertinent to South Africa, where load-shedding is severely impacting both domestic and commercial operations.

“If we are serious about transitioning to renewables we need to look for energy storage solutions that meet our current needs and increased commercial use,” says Spencer.

He adds that, as utility costs increase, it is vital that the solar PV sector is able to offer an attractive solution to traditional energy sources.

However, Spencer acknowledges that, while solar PV can compete on a least-cost, quickest-to-build option, the challenge of intermittent supply remains.

In this regard, he says energy storage presents an opportunity to overcome the limitations of the grid, both from a capacity and availability perspective. “As the technology improves the opportunities to achieve benefits and gains are becoming more financially viable.”

Battery energy storage systems (BESS) enable renewable energy to be efficiently stored and supplied to the grid when required, enabling solar PV projects to provide power at both peak and non-peak times.

This also enables investors and stakeholders to realise increased revenue income resulting from limited wastage while reducing costs for consumers.

With batteries having become more economically feasible in recent years, prices have fallen by almost 80% owing to increased demand for the technology, unlocking new BESS applications.

Further, a recent study by Fortune Business Insights forecasts that the global battery energy storage market is set to reach $19.74-billion by 2027.

“Across Africa we are seeing increasing implementation of solar plus storage solutions. From off-grid applications to back-up power, end-user peak shaving to delivering maximum self-sufficiency across operations, battery use is changing the dynamic and delivering,” says Spencer.

He adds that South Africa is already taking the lead as the sixth largest residential storage market with an additional 1.3 GW of utility-scale storage set to be contracted this year.

With Eskom’s World Bank-funded BESS programme, the energy storage solutions-specific independent power producer round of bidding and the addition of four projects in the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, Spencer says it is clear that innovative storage solutions are required to meet national renewable energy targets and decarbonisation plans.

“The recent raising of the licensing exemption threshold for distributed generation systems from 1 MW to 100 MW offers investors and operators in the commercial and industrial sector the chance to ‘reap significant’ dividends.

“[Chown and Dimov] have been at the forefront of developing storage solutions that are bespoke to the needs of the South African market. The discussion is sure to provide attendees with insights into how best to address the imbalance between electricity supply and demand caused by variable solar generation and maximise returns from this increasingly attractive revenue source for investors,” says Spencer.

Source: engineeringnews
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network