Energy Storage Improves Electricity Access in Asia
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The Secretary General of the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), Marcus Wiemann, has published an article on how energy storage is increasing access to electricity in Asia.

The article explains that energy storage is becoming a “hot topic” in discussions on how to improve efficiency, reliability and price-competitiveness of electricity services, and achieve deeper integration of intermittent renewable energy.

alliance-rural-electrification16 December 2014: The Secretary General of the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), Marcus Wiemann, has published an article on how energy storage is increasing access to electricity in Asia. The article explains that energy storage is becoming a “hot topic” in discussions on how to improve efficiency, reliability and price-competitiveness of electricity services, and achieve deeper integration of intermittent renewable energy.

Wiemann, with co-authors Paul Bertheau, Reiner Lemoine Institut, and Massimo Bergadano, PHPower, notes that while batteries cannot provide access to electricity, they can play an important role in achieving universal access to clean, reliable and affordable electricity services. The authors argue that grid backup batteries can help those living in rural and peri-urban areas that remain under-electrified due to poor grid quality, as batteries are able to use power from the grid or an autonomous renewable or oil-powered generator to recharge and deliver stored energy whenever blackouts or brownouts occur.

The authors explain that off-grid solutions are key to achieving universal electricity access, citing the Energy Access Practitioner Network’s estimate that 40% of the additional generation required to achieve universal electricity access by 2030 will be off-grid. Developing and emerging countries, in particular, represent a big potential niche for the battery market.

Oil-powered generators are commonly used for off-grid systems, but price shocks, high-operating costs and fuel scarcity undermines their contribution to energy security. Thus, the article suggests, the installation of batteries in diesel off-grid systems can improve reliability and increase efficiency, especially when combined with renewables, which have lower operating costs and more predictable prices than does oil.

The article describes a study comparing two energy systems on small islands in the Philippines, with and without the use of batteries. The study demonstrates that batteries can increase the share of renewable energy and that the implementation of batteries in combination with renewable energy can reduce power generation costs and help alleviate energy poverty.

The article also describes an example of integrating sodium-nickel technology in rural villages in Sarawak, Malaysia, where storage systems are well-suited to compensate for absent or faulty grids. Despite high upfront costs, if properly designed and maintained, batteries can improve the system’s performance and lead to economic savings over its lifetime.

The article appears in ‘ees International – The Electrical Energy Storage Magazine,’ a free, quarterly publication on international news, background reports and market information for the battery and energy storage industry. [Publication: Energy Storage Increases Access to Electricity in Asia] [ees International Website]