SA Energy Storage 2017: Why is energy storage important?


Storage is becoming one of the most important components of power generation, transmission and distribution, and consumption management. Efficient and cost effective storage is the next hurdle that needs to be overcome in the move to a higher penetration of renewable energy in the grid.

Mike Rycroft

EE Publishers will be hosting a dedicated conference and exhibition on energy storage: SA Energy Storage 2017 at Emperors Palace, Ekurhuleni from 28 to 30 November 2017.

Storage is an essential component of both smart grid and micro-grid developments, as well a vital inclusion in both off-grid remote hybrid systems and behind-the-meter hybrids. Off-grid systems as well as remote telecommunication sites rely on storage. A future network of distributed generation systems will rely on cost effective storage to operate. Island systems using hybrids or renewable energy use electricity storage extensively.

There is a move away from centralised storage to on-site storage, both in the generation and demand side, and industry is responding with the development of small to medium sized storage systems to meet this demand. Intelligent systems are making the use of storage by consumers simpler, removing the need for knowledge of the plant.

The move to on-site storage by generators is influenced by the possible future market where the ability to store energy on site and dispatch according to demand and price will be important. Grid codes are placing increasing demands on power quality such as also fault ride through, reactive power and synthetic inertia capabilities, all of which require on-site storage.

The move to smaller distributed systems is being encouraged by the development of new technologies which provide cheaper and more efficient storage. Intelligent storage systems are becoming available to the small user and the application is becoming more user friendly. Long term bulk storage of energy in the form of hydrogen or liquid hydrocarbons is another area which holds potential and which is being developed by numerous sources.

Focus areas

  • Technology: New battery storage technologies are emerging that make use of commonly available materials such as iron, zinc and aluminium. In addition nano-technology is promising to improve the power and energy density of storage batteries. Traditional technologies are undergoing a metamorphosis, and developments such as micro pumped water storage systems (PWS) are emerging. Flywheels are making a comeback and flow batteries have reached commercial status.
  • Application of storage: Renewable energy farms, transmission and distribution networks, UPS, rooftop solar, commercial, industrial and residential installations. Storage for load levelling and power quality application.
  • Installation standards and practices: System design, system sizing and electrical protection and safety issues. Product standards.
  • Economics and cost of storage: Lifecycle costing of different technologies. Lifecycle determination. Effect of application on lifecycle and costing.
  • Policy and legal issues: Subsidies and financial support schemes. Requirements for utilities. Legal and regulatory compliance issues, wiring code and electrical safety requirements. Grid code requirements.
  • Operation and maintenance: Testing and monitoring of storage systems. Performance criteria, operational issues.

Target audience

  • Municipal electricity distributers, generators and engineers
  • Solar PV designers and suppliers
  • Wind farm operators
  • Off-grid system designers and suppliers
  • Commercial building owners, managers and facilities management companies
  • Telecommunication system engineers
  • Cellular telephone phone engineers and operators
  • Standby power system designers and suppliers
  • IT engineers and server farm operators
  • UPS manufacturers and suppliers, users

Critical applications

Critical applications in future will include solar PV and wind farms, where grid codes will require compliance with more and more stringent requirements in future. Balancing demand and reducing loads on transmission and distribution lines by means of network storage will become critical as servitudes become used up and lines reach their capacity.

Today’s business and commercial sector relies heavily on IT services and server farms require high reliability power to operate. Storage is an essential component of the power systems in server farms.

The smart grid will rely on storage to provide back-up power for communications and control functions. Battery storage is already used to provide power for operating switches in substations and reclosers.

Storage is critical to off grid systems, and where large scale electrification of rural areas is to take place using renewables, cheap storage is a critical component. Availability of cheap reliable storage can reduce the use of fossil fuel generators in hybrid systems.

What is the potential in South Africa?

South Africa is at the start of an era where storage can supplement and improve the emerging renewable energy market. Large PWS systems have shown their worth in this country, but micro PWS and distributed storage could perform the same function in the future, with much shorter construction times and location closer to loads. The development of the smart grid and smart city concepts will all require energy storage.

The electricity consumer market offers more potential than the generation, transmission and distribution market. The massive growth in rooftop solar systems in commercial, industrial and residential sectors provides a huge potential market for smaller intelligent storage systems as well as behind-the-meter hybrid plant. The development of industrial micro-grids in this country has huge potential use for storage systems.

Rural electrification using off-grid systems is an important focus area in the national plan and have proven their value and will require cheap reliable storage for the expansion of services.

Hydrogen based storage using fuel cells has already found applications in this country and the market is likely to expand in future.

Click here to register your interest in the SA Energy Storage 2017 Conference and Exhibition

Send your comments to



The post SA Energy Storage 2017: Why is energy storage important? appeared first on EE Publishers.

Source: EE plublishers