E.ON Jumps On The Energy Storage Bandwagon

The Tesla effect has given the energy storage market a serious kick.
Published: Thu 21 Jan 2016

Tesla has been flooded with orders for their cost effective Powerwall battery - a clear indication that the need for energy storage solutions like this one is growing fast. Other companies also want to be a part of this market and are racing ahead to avoid missing out on the available opportunities. [All Aboard The (Residential) Energy Storage Train !]

Energy storage opportunities up for grabs  

With an increasing number of consumers turning to self generation in order to reduce their energy consumption bills and improve reliability in some cases, traditional power groups are being forced to tap into new revenue streams following the steady demise of conventional fossil-fuel based power generation. Utilities are turning to energy storage solutions to assist with growing flexibility issues brought about by renewable integration.

Utilities have come to realise that while there are savings to be made, there is also money to be made.

The latest partnership is between Germany’s utility E.ON and South Korea’s Samsung SDI which have recently signed a MoU to explore storage options. Their aim is to first run projects in the US, UK, Germany and the Czech Republic, according to a press release. The two groups want to explore and develop a potential business model for Lithium-Ion batteries  focusing on grid stabilization, industrial customers and appropriate energy systems.

Samsung SDI entered the secondary lithium-ion battery industry 15 years ago and is a global leader in the EV battery market (supplying batteries to BMW and VW unit Audi) as well as the stationary storage market. The company already offers a number of energy storage solutions, for both residential and commercial applications, including utilities.

Entering the energy storage makes sense for E.ON as it manages an impressive quantity of renewable energy. The company operates onshore wind farms in the US and Europe with about 4,000MW of capacity. Offshore wind is also in E.ON’s portfolio — Amrumbank West will have the potential to provide electricity to 300,000 homes, once it is completed. The London Array is one of its projects that is already operational — it has a capacity of 630MW. About 80MW of solar PV is also in operation under E.ON as well. 

With over 30 million customers across the globe, E.ON may just have a captive audience when it comes to launching a storage solution. The same can be said for Samsung SDI, well known for its electronic display products.

Responding quickly to a growing need

Directly after Tesla’s Powerwall launch, the orders for the 7kWh models, as well as a 10kWh version, came flooding in- 38,000 within a week to be exact. These numbers are proof that there is a large gap in the market for an efficient and cost effective storage system for the residential sector.

Tesla’s battery basically allows homeowners with solar panels to store excess energy during the day which can be used at night or during power outages. The US$3,000 lithium-ion batteries were originally going to discharge 2.2kW in continuous use and 3.3kW at peak use.

Six months ago, Tesla quickly responded to critics who argued that the product wasn’t enough to power a house full of appliances. The company quickly doubled the output to 5kW and 7kW respectively. A wise response since the market gap is still large in our opinion.

While Tesla has most certainly lit a fire under an industry that couldn’t seem to lift off the ground fast enough, storage solutions are very much in their infancy. The sector is still screaming for innovation and smart partnerships to carry it forward. [Energy Storage Innovations Boosting Renewables and Disrupting Markets]

2016 should prove to be interesting year for energy storage-across all segments.