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Grid-scale energy storage is increasingly being seen as a solution to integrating a large penetration of renewable energy sources, congestion management and load shifting. While the majority of energy storage technologies available are tried, tested and trusted, market dynamics that focus on meeting demand with supply have meant that storage has not been deemed financially viable. Until now.

Technology companies have been able to make considerable improvements to their offer, as a result of which investors are starting to take interest in these business models. We are now starting to see venture capitalist-backed energy storage projects in the US, thanks to the Department of Energy's stimulus fund, and in Europe, in the race towards meeting the 20-20-20 target.

The drive for change in the way storage is viewed and used is becoming more and more important as an element that will help Europe achieve its 20-20-20 target, either through assisting the integration of renewables or as a low-carbon alternative to building combined cycle gas turbine power plants to meet peak-time demand. Also, Europe is considered to be at the forefront of the transition towards smart grids and storage will need to play an active part in supporting the customer-orientated smart grids of the future.

The regulators will have to perform a key role in driving this change by defining mechanisms that allow storage to be used as an alternative to generation that also benefits utilities in reducing CO2 emissions, and as a key enabler of effective demand side management.

In response to these circumstances, Global Transmission will host a conference, Grid-Scale Energy Storage, on June 21-22, 2011 at Hotel Metropole in Brussels, Belgium. The objective of the event is to demonstrate viable and profitable business solutions for grid-scale energy storage and to provide networking opportunities for all participants interested in driving change in how storage is used.

This event is unique in that it focuses only on grid-scale energy storage and issues relating to funding and finance. It will discuss whether energy storage can be a profitable solution for network support services and load shifting.

Speakers will include regulators, utilities, technology providers, specialist consultants, energy storage-related associations and investors such as venture capitalists and banks.

Key issues to be explored

The one-and-a-half day conference will attempt to address issues such as:

  • What is driving the need for energy storage?
  • Can energy storage be considered a competitive alternative to the addition of conventional power generation?
  • Is the technology mature enough and are there market-ready solutions?
  • What changes can be effected for large-scale commercialisation of the technology?
  • How can storage address issues related to grid connections for renewable energy developers?
  • What are the viable business models for energy storage?
  • What has been the utility experience so far and what can be learnt from it?
  • What are the challenges being faced and what is the outlook on energy storage?
  • What are the current regulations and what future policy steps can be taken for energy storage?
  • Why is storage critical to the transition towards smart grids?
  • How can energy storage projects be made financially viable?
  • What are the various funding options available for energy storage projects?
  • What "green" funds are available for energy storage?
  • What are the risks in funding energy storage projects in a dynamic market?