Energy storage picks up steam16. November 2011 By: Karl-Heinz Remmers
The topic of energy storage, including for stationary application, has been widely discussed, particularly after Germany’s renewed resolution to phase out nuclear energy. Karl-Heinz Remmers discusses its future development and importance.
Energy storage devices for cars have already been tried and tested for decades, and for several years now even offered in larger series, while accompanied by ambitious announcements from the manufacturers about the years to come.
Nevertheless, even today it is only possible to purchase functional electric vehicles in niche markets and at high prices. However, a mass market has yet to be achieved – especially in the area of electric storage for wind and solar energy, although various decentralized photovoltaic storage devices have arrived on the market since private power consumption. In principle, the storage of solar electricity in Germany has also been encouraged in the German Renewable Energy Act [EEG]. This is a good example of how new stimuli are applied with existing innovative programs. But this is far from enough.
Now "energy storage" is finally beginning to pick up steam in other areas as well. Research, market and networking offers from the federal government, the individual federal states and regions are creating greater consciousness for the manifold technologies and potential system solutions.
The various participants are networking with each other in increasingly effective small steps on both domestic and international levels. After all, the tasks are enormous with large-scale electricity storage having only been a marginal topic over many years.
Alone the abundance of system approaches and buzzwords demonstrate how complex this topic is – domestic and international pump accumulators, compressed air storage, cavern storage, batteries with various design principles (e.g. lead, lithium ions, redox flow), hydrogen storage systems, combined hydrogen and biogas storage, water and chemical storage facilities in the heating sector, and many more.
There are a large number of promising approaches; but apart from development of the pure storage facility, the question about which system must be quickly addressed in order to obtain a complete picture, and in order to be able to implement the developments of the core components of storage in a targeted manner.
If the high expectations placed on rapid technical progress are to be fulfilled and at the same time a positive incentive for the Germany as a place to do business is desired, then policymakers will have to demonstrate more courage. What is important is to create legislation that is comparable to the Renewable Energy Act for all areas of energy storage; a body of laws that create lasting and substantial financial support as well as secure, legal framework conditions for the use of energy storage facilities.
As for all companies in the renewable energies sector, energy storage will also play a central role for the future development of Solarpraxis AG. Thus, we shall intensively develop our abilities and offers in this area. A first step is the interdisciplinary conference Energy Storage – International Summit for the Storage of Renewable Energies, which we are organizing together with the Düsseldorf Trade Exhibition. The focus of the conference with an accompanying specialized exhibition, which will premiere in Düsseldorf from March 13-14, is on practical implementation.
Representatives from research, industry, politics and energy supply will meet in order to elaborate on marketable applications and innovative concepts with regard to energy storage facilities, as well as their potentials and financing prospects. The aim is to outline a roadmap on the role of marketable storage technologies with future-oriented energy scenarios.
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