Energy storage conference highlighted strong storage potential

Australian Energy Storage Conference.JPG

Running 23-24 May in Adelaide, the Australian Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition (AES 2018) saw the biggest names and leading companies in energy storage come together to showcase new technologies and processes in the sector.

This year’s conference had the largest number of conference delegates and exhibitors compared to past events, with delegates enjoying presentations from a wide variety of Australian and international energy experts.

This is the first time the event has been held in Adelaide – a move that proved extremely beneficial to attendees as the city is at the forefront of storage technologies and renewable projects.

Attendees heard about the latest developments in lithium batteries, flow batteries, hydrogen, silicon thermal storage, compressed air storage, flywheel energy storage, inverters, lead acid batteries, pumped hydro, hybrid system providers, and energy management.

Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman of the GFG Alliance and majority shareholder of SIMEC ZEN Energy, delivered the keynote presentation which touched on the opportunities for batteries, pumped hydro, and electric vehicles. For Mr Gupta, “Energy storage is key, it will be the ultimate liberator.”

“We see a clear challenge on energy here, but with every challenge, there’s always clear opportunity as well, so we will invest in these distributed networks, in decentralised energy generation and consumption.”

Mr Gupta said he has completed demonstration projects to show how batteries and solar can come together to remove some of the burden from the grid and that, “on the industrial side and the consumer side, these two solutions together will change the energy mix for our generation and the next”.

Electric vehicles were also a key talking point for Mr Gupta and other speakers, highlighting how Australians could soon generate energy and use their car battery as their house battery to store the excess. Eventually the cars themselves could have solar panels as well.

South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, Minister Hon Dan van Holst Pellekaan MP, delivered a welcome address and talked about Adelaide’s orderly transition to clean energy.

“The level of attendance is a testament to the importance of storage in the energy transition. It is not a choice of whether to increase clean energy, but how to do it. The transition is underway and the transition will continue.

“You can not pursue such a high take up of variable renewable energy without it being paired with a growth in storage and interconnection.”

New storage technologies
More than 60 leading companies in the Australian and global energy storage industry also exhibited their newest technologies, including Tesla, Toshiba, GE, ABB, and Victron Energy, among many others.

Redflow was one of the exhibiting companies, showcasing its new zinc-bromine flow batteries.  Simon Hackett from Redflow said flow batteries are an industrial strength alternative to lithium batteries.

“They can work in similar environments – home, office, commercial, all the way to grid scale – but they are better in a number of ways.

“They’re not a risk of fire in the way that lithium can be, don’t mind getting hot, can be completely discharged every day – they are basically a better way to store energy for long-term, daily, heavy-use applications.”

Other exhibitors launched new products, allowing delegates to be the first to see groundbreaking technologies in the market. Victron Energy was one of these companies, launching the MultiPlus-II series of battery inverter-chargers.

Another major highlight was the opportunity to tour the Hornsdale Wind Farm/Power Reserve, Adelaide HS and the Tonsley Innovation Precinct, and Redflow and the Highbury Pumped Hydro Energy Storage site.