Back to the Future Grid News of the Month


The future of the grid entails so many aspects that it is already hard to keep an eye on all the mayor trends, let alone all the news. That's why we read it for you and provide you with your five monthly must-reads.

By: Leoncio Montemayor & Thomas Boersma


Let it float, let it float, the ground never bothered me anyway

By: Emiliano Bellini
On: PV-Magazine
Date: September 20, 2018

This month, Akuo announced the installation of a 17 MW floating PV facility, the O’MEGA 1 project. The project, which will be located on the water surface at a former quarry, will replace the Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir (6.3 MW) as the largest floating solar plant in Europe.

Although the installation won’t be the biggest, as China holds a 40 MW and a 20 MW plant, the installation evinces the growing interest in Europe for floating solar. With advantages such as no land occupancy, water saving, and improved water quality, efficiency improvement through natural cooling and easier tracking, floating solar is slowly but steadily becoming a viable alternative to conventional solar.

Read the full article on: PV-Magazine

The article behind the video you see everywhere

By: Johnny Wood
On: World Economic Forum
Date: September 14, 2018

The rise of distributed energy resources (DERs) is bringing the promise of local energy for a local community. This is best seen in three microgrid projects in the Netherlands that operate independently of the main supply in order to supply each village or neighborhood with locally-produced energy. These microgrids are formed with solar panels, EVs, heat pumps and batteries that are all controlled locally in order to optimize energy use. According to researchers, communities can become 90% self-sufficient or more with the correct use of a microgrid.

This is important because it turns the old energy model on its head (of unidirectional centralized power production) by allowing individual customers to produce and consume their own energy (the now famous prosumer). And not only this, but microgrids could play an important role with the broader energy grid by providing valuable ancillary services.

Microgrids are set to become an important part of the energy transition with communities wanting to take ownership of their energy use and production. With the rise of enabling technologies such as AI and blockchain and the reduction in the cost of DERs, microgrids are waiting around the corner, ready to be an important part of the energy transition.

Read the full article on: World Economic Forum

Big boy batteries in boats

By: Anna Hirtenstein
On: Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Date: September 14, 2018

In the shadow of some giant, and sometimes tumultuous, car and battery manufacturers, there’s actually a storage market maturing. And as in every maturing market there are niches to be filled. In an industry where batteries for electric vehicles and utility-scale storage make up for 80 percent of the market and 100 percent of the spotlights, the remaining 20 percent is a market that is up for low-profile conquest. And that is exactly what Lithium Werks BV plans to do.

With a focus on the electrification of everything that isn’t cars or consumer electronics, the Dutch start-up plans to employ 2,000 engineers, operating 10 plants with an output of 1 GWh per plant by 2025. Chairman Kees Koolen clearly isn’t shy of high ambitions and why should he. Being active in a market that is expected to grow from 120 GWh this year, to 1,800 GWh by 2030, definitely offers some opportunities.

Read the full article on: Bloomberg 

Big Batteries make Big money

By: Steve Hanley
On: Renew Economy
Date: September 27, 2018

Storage has long been seen as the next step in the evolution of renewables as storage aim to capture and mitigate the challenges posed by the intermittency of renewables. The Hornsdale Power Reserve made a splash last year as the biggest lithium-ion battery pack in the world, coming in at 100 MW/129MWh and built by Tesla. This is complementing Neoen’s 309 MW Hornsdale Wind Farm. This battery provides ancillary services to the grid operator in South Australia.

The cost of this battery was 66 MUSD and the income generated by the battery this year was was one-third of this! The income comes from a mix of frequency stabilization, reserve capacity and energy sales. This is incredible as this means that the investment will be recouped in around three years! This marks an important point in the economics of energy storage.

However, we shouldn’t take this as a telltale sign of things to come. The market in Australia provides exceptional characteristics that make battery storage particularly valuable (high electricity prices and a big need for flexibility due to high renewable penetration). We would expect that, with increasing renewable penetration in the world, and with wholesale prices projected to increase (due to the expected price of gas and oil in the short-term), markets around the world will start realizing that battery storage is an actual (and profitable) solution.

This is only a particular example of battery storage within an energy grid. We shouldn’t cherry pick and assume that battery storage is now ready for wider implementation. But it’s a good first step.

Read the full article on: Renew Economy

Finally, effective conferences

By: Jesper Berggreen
On: CleanTechnica
Date: September 21, 2018

News about floating solar, batteries and microgrids are all really interesting, but of course there was only one announcement this month that really mattered: the announcement of the Future Grid Labs, our brand new line of conferences that will focus on the integration of renewables and the grid.

Jesper Berggreen’s article on CleanTechnica, nicely describes how the Future Grid Labs were the logical next step for Solarplaza. The first set of Labs will take place in in the Maastoren in Rotterdam, on the 6th, 12th and 14th of December, respectively addressing Grid-connected Microgrids, Economics of Energy storage and Floating Solar PV.

Read the full article on: CleanTechnica