Investment is required so electricity distribution networks can be upgraded to keep pace with an explosion in generation capacity over the last decade, and to harness the potential of renewables and energy storage.
With Scottish company Smarter Grid Solutions having already seen its software deployed in the U.K., a pilot project in New York State has been a resounding success for a grid solution the NREL has predicted could unlock swathes of network capacity without the need for new power lines.
NREL scientists have unveiled a storage system based on a phase-change material that can store both thermal energy and electricity in a single device. According to the researchers, the new technology may be used to store excess electricity produced by on-site solar or wind operations in large scale buildings.
The energy storage system, which is set to be up and running in around a year’s time, will be supplied by Finnish company Wärtsilä and will provide services including reserve power and frequency control response.
Factories suffering from rationed grid electricity could help drive a boom in on-site solar systems, and recent moves to mandate the retrofitting of PV on existing buildings could also lift the market, as analyst Frank Haugwitz explains.
A combination of booming demand for coal-fired power and a shortage of the black stuff – exacerbated by a political row with Australia – have forced up prices to the extent fossil fuel generators are making a loss on every unit of electricity they produce. pv magazine‘s Vincent Shaw considers the potential solutions.
Johannesburg-based clean power business Blockpower is working on installing a back-up power supply across three agricultural estates in Zimbabwe.
Made up of distributed residential energy storage, these “plants” stabilize the grid and often end the need for new fossil generation. Tesla customers in California are the latest to join the movement.
Ongoing grid connection issues and concerns about Australia’s unpredictable regulatory and policy environment have been identified as the key culprits with a new report revealing investor confidence in the nation’s renewable energy sector has slumped to a five-year low.
Plus, the Norwegian government is set to devote €2.5 million into a joint venture trying to develop liquid organic hydrogen carrier solutions for shipping by the middle of the decade.