Battery analytics: The game changer for energy storage
The phrase ‘game changer’ is used often, sometimes in hope rather than expectation. Lithium batteries have definitely changed the game for the energy transition, but require smart technologies and strategies to optimise them — which can be equally important — writes Sebastian Becker of TWAICE, a predictive analytics software provider.
This is an extract of an article which appeared in Vol.28 of PV Tech Power, Solar Media’s quarterly technical journal for the downstream solar industry. Every edition includes ‘Storage & Smart Power,’ a dedicated section contributed by the team at Energy-Storage.news.
Battery storage systems are an essential component of the energy sector. However, they are complex systems that require special attention. The primary goal of storage owners is to maximise the profit possible from the storage system without taking on additional risk. This is where battery analytics comes into play.
Around 25GWh of stationary battery storage is already installed worldwide. This will rapidly increase, as battery storage systems are ideally suited to address the challenges of the energy transition. Unlike most other power plant technologies, batteries can not only supply energy, but also store it. And they can respond to the need to do so within milliseconds.
This makes them suitable for numerous use cases, both front-of-the-meter and behind-the-meter. In addition, falling battery prices make investments more attractive. Combined, these factors fuel a boom in battery storage that is likely to reach hundreds of gigawatt-hours by 2030.
However, many market actors – system integrators, asset owners, partners and financial service providers – identify the main reasons for a decision not to move forward with a battery project as technical risks in conjunction with market challenges and a changing regulatory environment. Market risks involve fluctuating prices, while new regulations can destroy a business case (or sometimes also send it through the roof ). One example of a bulletproof business case is California. Here, market risk was all but eliminated by the revenue of most projects being protected by long term power purchase agreements (PPAs).
Consequently, projects with hundreds of megawatt-hour capacities are no longer rare. But while being subject to these external market factors, with any battery storage project, careful assessment of the impact that the use case will have on the battery is required.
Challenges of technical risks
Batteries are complex electro-chemical systems and come with some technical challenges. As a new asset class, many players that have never dealt with batteries before now find that they are essential to their success.
To ensure a common understanding, let’s establish a few facts: