Small-scale energy storage to deliver ‘real value’

Companies including Glen Dimplex, EirGrid, ESB Networks, SSE Airtricity and Intel understand the potential for Domestic Demand- sSde Management (DDSM) solutions, which are set to inform behavioural change in consumers and have a major impact on energy models of the future.

The €15.5million Horizon 2020 project – RealValue – has revealed its findings following one of the largest and most diverse pilot studies involving ‘real’ participants within the BRIDGE Horizon 2020 Smart Grid and Energy Storage projects. Driven by a consortium of 13 partner organisations from across Europe, and led by Glen Dimplex, RealValue installed Smart Electric Thermal Storage systems (SETS) in around 550 properties in Ireland. This technology has the potential to transform how consumers use and store energy, in the form of heat in their homes.

Mark O’Malley, Full Professor of Electrical Engineering at UCD and Chief Scientist, Energy Systems Integration, NREL, USA, said, “The modelling completed for the RealValue project is indicative of the future potential for SETS, both at a building level and when aggregated, at the power system level. Through smart scheduling of the devices, valuable services can be provided to the grid while maintaining the thermal comfort of the end-users. This can lead to lower system operating costs and lower variable renewable energy curtailment.”

In terms of industry, huge investment will be required to deliver new energy business models for the future. However, several players in the energy market are already making inroads in developing innovative solutions that will help to deliver small scale energy storage. David Noronha, Strategy Programme Manager for SSE Airtricity, said, “If we are going to transition to a smarter, greener system, the customer simply must be at the heart of everything we do and that’s what the RealValue project was all about.”

Jonathan O’Sullivan, Manager Innovation for EirGrid added, “As the system operator, we believe there is significant potential for residential small-scale energy storage to take part in the energy market and contribute to the system.” Jonathan Sandham, Smart Networks Manager, ESB Networks said, “RealValue has allowed ESB Networks to appreciate an architecture to allow the optimal amount of customer flexibility and aggregated services on the distribution system in a fair, open and safe way.”

Commenting on how these findings can help with business development, Neil Stewart, CEO of Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation said, “Through our Quantum System which launched in 2012, we have continually invested in ‘demand side management’, growing the low carbon technology side of our business. RealValue has illustrated that there’s huge potential in small-scale energy storage and our involvement in BRIDGE has paved the way for future collaborations with partners. By working together with utility and technology companies, we hope to further investigate new business models, helping to shape the energy landscape of the future.”