The general manager of power equality at Eaton A/NZ, John Atherton, puts energy storage systems to the test and identifies some serious inefficiencies, and solutions.
Climate change, rising energy prices and finite fossil fuel resources make the switch to renewable energy a priority worldwide and in Australia.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), electricity prices are up by more than 65 per cent over the last decade, and the average annual household bill has gone up from $1,177 in 2007/08 to $1,691 in 2016/17.
That's a rise of almost 44 per cent. This is probably why Australia is a world leader in the take-up of solar panels at household level. The popularity of solar panels has in turn led to the indirect creation of a decentralised energy model.
Household solar panels have created greater generation of power, and individuals are actually able to feed their created energy back into the grid. But it comes laden with inefficiencies; energy is being generated, but it's then being fed into the grid at times when it's not needed, and subsequently lost.
This defeats the point of using renewable energy sources in the first place.
With a wide spectrum of renewable energy power solutions available from solar power, wind power and hybrid power solutions, home energy storage has emerged as a potential solution. Energy storage gives businesses and consumers the power of choice to optimise their energy costs and provide them with flexibility for the future.
We are already seeing advanced aggregators working with businesses to educate and inform them on the extra money to be made while supporting the transition to a smarter, environmentally-friendly energy grid.
Automotive leader Nissan and power management leader Eaton, joined forces last year to unveil a new residential energy storage unit in the UK – designed to be the most affordable in the market today.
Known as xStorage, Eaton's energy storage solution allows homes and businesses access to safe, reliable and efficient power management, giving them the power to control how and when they use energy.
Eaton's agreement with Nissan allows batteries to be repurposed for residential and enterprise storage applications after their usable life in vehicles has expired.
This will help solve the burden Lithium batteries will place on the environment being disposed of on-mass in the future. Central to the agreement is Eaton's technology and experience in critical backup energy storage applications which allows it to safely and economically repackage the used Nissan batteries from vehicles for reliable use in the energy storage market.
Connected to residential power supply or renewable energy sources such as solar panels, the unit can save customers money on their utility bills by charging up when renewable energy is available or energy is cheaper (e.g., during the night) and releasing that stored energy when demand and costs are high. If a home is equipped with solar technology, this means that consumers can power their homes using clean energy stored in their xStorage system, and be rewarded financially for doing so by avoiding expensive daytime energy tariffs.
The home energy storage system also provides the ultimate back-up solution to consumers, ensuring that the lights never go out – increasingly important in a time when energy grids are coming under enormous strain.
It's easy to see for many businesses how storage technology could work as part of a company's overall power quality strategy into the future. Healthcare, telecoms and finance are three industries that must maintain continuous, high quality power flow at all times, and so the case for investment becomes almost self-explanatory.
For other businesses, it's about making efficient gains for the real estate they have to ensure the viability and innovation energy storage could bring to their business, particularly where their business models are looking at digital connectivity or the Internet of Things.