Leaders in the Energy industry are no strangers to the importance of energy storage. That’s why Polyglot Group was a proud sponsor of Australian Energy Storage Conference & Exhibition 2019 in Sydney.
We sponsored two key panel sessions; the first on Australia’s transition to grid scale energy storage. The second tackled ‘Microgrids, powering change globally’ and was moderated by our very own Liz Floyd.
The conference was opened by Zali Steggall, OAM, new Member for Warringah, who highlighted the success stories of companies based in her own Warringah electorate. Zali shared her views on how we can work towards a more renewable future, stating:
“Renewable power must be delivered reliably, and many clean technologies are needed for this, but energy storage is essential. We need energy storage to increase uptake. From large scale battery, pump hydro or smaller batteries in homes, a 25% target on peak demand needs to be investigated.”
Increasing Renewable Uptake
Indeed, in 2018 alone, 2.3 GW of new renewable energy capacity entered the market, with 38 projects were completed throughout the year. By 2026, renewables will represent 40% of global installed generation capacity.
Secondly, 70% of Australia’s coal-fired power stations will be retiring by 2035.
Battery storage is also increasing. Fortunately, battery pack prices continue to fall – in 2018, the price was down 28% year on year.
Australia will lead the way globally with decentralised power systems, and micro-grids will play a key part in the decentralisation movement.
Going with the Grid
The first session looked at Australia’s national transition to grid-scale storage with speakers from Lockheed Martin Energy, AGL Energy and HARD Software. Here’s what we learned.
It’s less about achieving low-cost carbon-neutral generation, and more about integrating assets that can ensure safe, reliable and resilient grid operation.
The National Electricity Market (NEM) has seen major projects come to life, beginning with AGL’s virtual power plant in South Australia (the first of many consumer VPPs). As a result, over 1,000 battery storage systems have since been installed, largely thanks to Tesla Powerwall and SolarEdge/LG combinations.
Within the NEM, market systems for utility-scale batteries are also key. One such example was the Hornsdale Power Reserve Project (the “Tesla Big Battery”), one which did not come without challenges, but was a success nonetheless.
Moderating the panel on Microgrids, I saw a great case for this innovative method of energy storage. The session featured 3 speakers – representatives from Ecoult, GHD, and Hexagon Lincoln.
Ecoult highlighted key case studies of existing microgrids with lead-acid technology on King Island, Tasmania, and remote indigenous communities in northern Australia.
GHD emphasised the increasing trends of electrification and interest in battery storage. There is big investment potential here that is already proving fruitful. As an example, global oil & gas giants Shell and BP are already acquiring battery storage companies.
Finally, VP of Mobile Pipeline for Hexagon Lincoln explored renewable natural gas and green hydrogen. Both form viable storage solutions given Australia’s abundant resources. Interestingly, the Mining industry in Australia has the greatest uptake in the use of renewable natural gas (RNG) thus far.
To quote Zali Steggall once more, “We can be an energy superpower. We just need to want it.” Polyglot Group endeavours to keep spreading this message, as an avid player in and supporter of renewable energy.