Energy Storage China 2015 Held in Beijing

Over 700 participants joined CNESA for our 4th annual conference and expo.


On June 3, 2015, CNESA and Messe Dusseldorf held their 4th annual summit — Energy Storage China 2015 — in Beijing, with the support of the National Energy Administration. The event took place over four days, with the theme of “Driving Energy Storage Commercialization: Policy, Technology, and Financial Innovation.” The summit featured discussions on many energy storage applications, proposed future directions for industry development, and broadened commercial possibilities for energy storage.

Global energy storage market steadily advances

As the global new energy industry has developed, renewable energy is gradually moving from a supplementary role towards large-scale substitution of  tradition energy. Energy storage technology's role in integrating renewable energy into the grid has gradually emerged, and industry insiders expect the global ES market to exhibit explosive growth.

According to CNESA's database, at the end of 2014 the global grid-connected installed capacity of energy storage was 845.3 MW (not including pumped hydro, CAES or thermal storage). 111.6 MW was installed in 2014, an increase of 15% from the year before. The annual growth rate is also 2% higher in comparison to 2013. China has 84.4 MW of installed capacity, about 10% of the global total.

The US has the largest number of projects and installed capacity. By year's end 2014, the US had commissioned 95 energy storage projects, with installed capacity exceeding 357 MW. Japan is second in installed capacity with 310 MW, and China second in number of projects with 63. In 2014, the US installed the most new capacity, 34.4 MW, with China and Europe following with 31 MW and 27.7 MW respectively.

In terms of technology, sodium sulfur batteries make up the largest share with 40%, followed by lithium ion and lead-acid batteries with 33% and 11% respectively. But, for new capacity in 2014, lithium ion batteries made up 71%, followed by flywheels with 20%.

In application, most energy storage is installed on the grid side for connection of renewables, ancillary services, transmission and distribution, and distributed microgrids. Grid connection of renewables makes up 45%, or 379 MW. In 2014, user-side applications made up 43% of new installations, with ancillary services and T&D following at 28% and 19%.

In investment news, 12 major companies raised over US$400M in energy storage finance in 2014 to fund technology R&D, project installations, market expansion, and deployments. In particular, investors seemed to favor enterprises with more innovative technologies and business models, such as Stem and Aquion Energy.

Rapid development in China’s energy storage industry

While the global ES market is developing at a steady pace, China's storage industry is seeing rapid changes. In March 2015, the CCP Central Committee and the State Council issued long-awaited electricity system reforms, which are already showing positive effects on the clean energy and advanced energy storage industries. This is good news for industry-watchers, who have been awaiting policies introducing market mechanisms into China’s heavily regulated electricity system.

At ESC 2015, CNESA Secretary Tina Jing Zhang announced that, according to CNESA’s database, China had 84.4 MW of ES installed capacity on the grid by the end of 2014 (not including pumped hydro, CAES or thermal storage). This is an increase of 31 MW in a single year—a growth rate of 58%. This is a substantial jump in deployment compared to years past, where 2013 saw only 14% annual growth.

Lithium ion batteries make up 74% of China's installed ES capacity, followed by lead acid batteries and sodium sulfur batteries at 14% and 10%. These three technologies make up about 98% of China's market.

In terms of application, user-side applications account for most of China's market, about 50%, which includes islands, remote areas, industrial parks, and low-carbon city installations. Renewable energy grid integration and electric vehicles make up the second and third largest applications, at 27% and 13%, with most of the former being in wind farm energy storage, and most of the latter being in solar+storage EV charging stations, V2G (vehicle to grid) applications, demand response charging, and second-life EV battery usage.

World-Class Experts Convene at ESC 2015

This year’s conference received support from the German Energy Storage Alliance (BVES), the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA), the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), and the Global Energy Storage Alliance (GESA). Through their support, we were able to host experts from across the world to share their views on the development of the industry.

In the opening ceremony, we were joined by top representatives from government and industry, including: Mr. Shi Dinghuan, chairman of the China Renewable Energy Society and member of the China Energy Storage Expert Committee; Mr. Xu Dingming, advisor to the State Council; Ms. Zhang Yulei, director of the Zhongguancun Industry Office; and Mr. Johnson Yu, chairman of CNESA.

In the following speeches, Ms. Lu Hong of the Energy Foundation China’s Renewable Energy Project shared the findings of a new report, the “China 2050 High Renewable Energy Penetration Study.” Dr. Eicke R. Weber, founding president of BVES and director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, described the rise of Industry 4.0 in Germany, as well as the challenges and opportunities in the energy storage industry today. Darren Gladman, policy manager at the Australia-based Clean Energy Council, presented on industry trends and opportunities in the Australian market. Our speakers also included Rebecca Feuerlicht, project manager for the Center for Sustainable Energy, who shared her insights on California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP).

To examine different applications of energy storage technology in depth, participants engaged in smaller seminars on the following topics:

  • “China’s Electricity Reforms and Energy Storage Opportunities” – Prof. Zeng Ming, director of the Energy and Electricity Economics Center at the North China Electric Power University, explained the details of China’s new electricity reforms. Mr. QIN Yi, director of the Shenzhen Micro-grid Management System Engineering Laboratory, also shared his insights into the pilot pricing reforms for the transmission grid.
  • “Developments in the International Energy Storage Market” – Speakers from around the globe presented on energy storage trends in Australia, Germany, Canada, the EU, India, Japan, and China, then followed up with questions on energy storage business models.
  • “Electric Vehicles and Storage” – Mr. Wang Zizhong, director of the dynamics lab at the China North Vehicle Research Institute, proposed suggestions on the future direction of EV batteries. Meanwhile, industry leaders and academics shared their experiences with EV charging and operation models.
  • “Advanced Energy Storage” – Experts presented on traditional technologies such as physical, electrochemical, and phase change storage methods as well as emerging technologies like aqueous sodium ion and solid-state lithium batteries.
  • “Solar PV plus Storage” – Mr. Wang Sicheng of the National Development and Reform Commission’s Energy Research Institute explained the importance of energy storage as a part of solar deployment. Representatives from the US, Australia, Japan, and China, shared case studies on distributed storage and analyzed financing methods and business models.

Additionally, CNESA released the industry’s top annual report, its 2015 Energy Storage Industry White Paper. The report examines international projects and policies, especially focusing on solar-powered EV charging models and the state of new energy finance. The paper looks at “solar-plus-storage” as a potential model for microgrids, as well as the opportunities that EV battery development is bringing to the industry as a whole. The report also takes a close look at the concept of the “internet of energy.”  CNESA hopes that the results of our white paper – along with the hard work of industry members and better business models – will help spur continued development in the Chinese energy storage industry.

This year’s conference drew over 700 participants and 80 speakers from 10 countries. The event was a great chance for sponsors, exhibitors, and other participants to connect with policymakers, grid representatives, integrators, and foreign utilities. Participants learned about the newest global trends, policies, technologies, and business models. By making these connections, participants met new customers and positioned themselves for another successful year.