Energy storage — the great disruptor and game changer

Wednesday, 05 April, 2017

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Energy storage is disrupting the electricity market and changing the way we operate and manage the grid.

Storage lies at the heart of digitisation and is part of a larger trend of technologies disrupting South Australia’s network for the better, according to ZEN Energy General Manager of Engineering Terry Teoh.

Ahead of his presentation on monetising storage at the grid edge in Adelaide’s CBD at the Australian Energy Storage Conference, 14–15 June 2017 at the new International Convention Centre Sydney, Teoh said battery storage currently has strong market potential in South Australia and the National Electricity Market (NEM).

Teoh worked in the oil and gas industry before moving into renewable energy in 2000. His career change was “driven by a passion to respond to climate change through corporate endeavour”.

“Back then, it was a heady time with Australia implementing MRET (the precursor to LRET) and embarking on its renewables transformation journey,” he said. “I ran Pacific Hydro’s development function developing large-scale wind and solar farms backed by pension fund investors.

“In 2015, I came on board ZEN Energy as GM of Engineering. It is a broad-based corporate role with an engineering focus.”

The brainchild of founder Richard Turner, ZEN Energy was established in 2004 as a pioneering solar company. Later, it became an early adopter of battery storage.

“We strive to be industry thought leaders, harnessing partnerships to bring together energy market understanding and commercial innovation to enable the value from behind the meter and grid-scale battery storage to be financed and monetised,” said Teoh.

Teoh and Zen Energy are undertaking a project demonstrating real-time optimisation and monetisation of battery storage in the NEM by connecting four high-profile Adelaide CBD buildings to 513 kWh of behind-the-meter storage.

The four sites — the Art Gallery, State Library, Adelaide High School and the Adelaide City Council works depot in Thebarton — were chosen for their contrasting load and occupancy patterns, and their potential to apply battery storage in conjunction with solar and demand response.

“Global experience shows that commercial behind-the-meter storage is challenging. Yet the market potential in South Australia, and more broadly in the NEM states, is significant.”

The $1 million project, believes Teoh, will play a defining role in opening up the commercial storage market, starting in South Australia.

“It will provide real implementation experience and benefit quantification of batteries located in commercial sites, monetising multiple value streams,” he said.

“It will turn a theoretical concept into a commercially executable reality for commercial and industrial customers looking for a lifeline to alleviate their energy price distress in South Australia.”

Teoh’s presentation at the Australian Energy Storage Conference, ‘Monetising Storage at the Grid Edge in the Adelaide CBD: The South Australian storage demo project’, will explore the deployment of commercial storage in Australia and in particular, how storage can be used to safeguard South Australia’s electricity network.

The Australian Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition will run from 14–15 June at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.

The theme of the two-day conference is ‘Investing in Australia’s Energy Storage Future’, and it will feature more than 50 Australian and international speakers presenting on the possibilities of storage. 

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