On May 18th, the 8th Energy Storage International Conference & Expo (ESIE) opened at the China National Convention Center in Beijing. The event was led by the China Energy Research Society and organized by the China Energy Storage Alliance and Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Engineering Thermophysics. Government leaders, senior executives, academic researchers, and media representatives all gathered for one of the biggest energy storage events of the year, discussing the industry’s latest development trends and challenges while lending insight into the future of energy storage.
The ESIE opening ceremony featured some of the leading representatives of China’s energy storage industry, including guests and leaders from the National Energy Administration, China Energy Research Society, Zhongguancun Management Committee, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and others. China Energy Storage Alliance General Secretary Liu Wei served as host.
During his opening remarks, China Energy Research Society Vice Chairman and Former National Energy Administration Assistant Director Shi Yubo stressed the need for the energy storage industry to increase efforts in planning, technology innovations, and institutional reforms to overcome challenges in industry development. Shi Yubo highlighted three synchronous developments that the industry should strive for: first, a simultaneous focus on technological advancements with safe, reliable applications. Second, the construction of policy and market mechanisms with commercial development. Third, the establishment of a recycling system in step with large-scale project development. He expressed hope that industry stakeholders can do more to expand their modes of thinking, engage in deep discussion, and share valuable experiences, all of which will contribute to solving the major issues of the industry.
Chinese Academy of Sciences International Cooperation Department Assistant Director Wang Zhenyu expressed congratulations on the successful opening of ESIE 2019. He highlighted the use of energy storage in solving issues with large-scale renewable integration, expanding distributed energy storage resources, and creating smart grids, stressing energy storage as a core technology for the energy revolution. The Chinese Academy of Sciences has devoted significant resources to research in energy storage technologies, including the support of international collaborative projects and talent plans related to energy storage. The Chinese Academy of Sciences will continue to strengthen its research in energy storage technologies as well as international collaboration through the International Energy Storage Alliance, founded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Engineering Thermophysics last year.
Representing the conference organizer, China Energy Storage Alliance Chairman Chen Haisheng expressed that in 2019, “spring had now arrived” for energy storage in China. In the past year, over 13 provinces and regions have released policies in relation to energy storage, providing a big boost to the market. Yet a multitude of challenges still lie ahead: a compensation mechanism for energy storage has not yet appeared, storage technologies must improve, and costs and safety issues must be addressed.
In 2018, the value of grid-side energy storage began to become more apparent. Tsinghua University Department of Electrical Engineering Professor Xia Qing shared how energy storage has brought new flexibility, smart solutions, and economic benefit to the grid. Continued development in grid-side energy storage requires institutional innovations and policy support, much of which must come from changes in the practices of investment bodies, T&D pricing, remuneration, and management.
China Southern Grid is one of the world’s leading constructors of MW-level energy storage projects, developing the Baoqing energy storage station in Shenzhen in 2011 and continually expanding their range of applications. They have also been active participants in the drafting of many domestic industry standards. According to China Southern Grid Science & Technology Department Assistant Director Zhen Yaodong, energy storage in China currently lacks a suitable commercial model. Energy storage has now become an indispensable tool for grid frequency regulation, but determining who must foot the bill for storage must be settled before the technology’s range of use can be expanded.
China State Grid is the leader in domestic grid-side storage. As China State Grid Dispatch Center Assistant Chief Engineer Pei Zheyi expressed, electrochemical energy storage has already been implemented at all segments of the electrical system. It is predicted that by 2035, as renewables energy capacity continues to expand, renewables will surpass coal power to become the primary energy source for the entire country. Energy storage can help improve the effectiveness of renewables in the grid, providing frequency regulation services for thermal power plants, black start capabilities, and other important services.
The United States is one of the world’s largest energy storage markets, expected to surpass 1 billion USD in 2019. As Energy Storage Association CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman stated, in 2018, the United States energy storage market saw a newly installed capacity of 777 MWh, an increase of 80% from the previous year. Following the release of FERC Order 841, ten U.S. states passed stimulus bills for energy storage, giving the industry an additional boost. By 2025, the total accumulated U.S. energy storage capacity is expected to reach 35 GW.
Speaking for one of the world’s leading energy storage systems integrators, Sungrow Power Vice President Cheng Cheng shared his company’s thoughts on energy storage applications. Reflecting on 2018’s growth, Cheng Cheng stated that China’s massive breakthroughs in energy storage capacity are inseparable from recent technology innovations. However, if we wish to see further developments in the future, we must devote our skills to improvements in safety, policy, costs, peripheral technologies, and other issues. From an applications standpoint, we now see energy storage coupling with a variety of other industries and systems, necessitating efforts to develop new applications scenarios and models. Further breakthroughs in “Energy Storage+” applications would be a great boon for the industry.
China Energy Storage Alliance Research Department Director Yue Fen presented on energy storage industry growth in the previous year, stating, “in 2018, the global energy storage industry experienced a giant leap in growth. Global new operational electrochemical energy storage project capacity totaled 3698.8 MW, an increase of 304.6% in comparison to 2017. Of this new capacity, China’s new operational electrochemical energy storage capacity totaled 682.9 MW, an increase of 464.4% in comparison to 2017. China’s increase was second only to that of South Korea.” With costs continuing to drop and application scenarios expanding, CNESA predicts that in five years’ time, China’s electrochemical energy storage market will see even larger growth.
As the opening ceremony wrapped, ESIE organizers invited representatives from the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry & Information Technology, National Energy Administration, regional energy management bureaus, China State Grid and its subsidiaries, China Southern Grid and its subsidiaries, generation companies, private energy storage enterprises, and other industry experts together for a closed-door energy storage leaders meeting. Representatives discussed such themes as support methods for energy storage commercialization policies and market mechanisms, increasing energy storage application and technology requirements, ways of guaranteeing safe and reliable energy storage systems, and other pressing industry topics.