Highlight Reel – Energy Storage Ireland 2021 Annual Conference

The inaugural Energy Storage Ireland annual conference was held on the 23rd and 24th June and was a huge success with 20 expert speakers across 6 panel sessions and over 160 attendees.

The conference was held in collaboration with our partner, the Demand Response Association of Ireland (DRAI), and the theme was ‘Delivering the Technologies to Support Ireland and Northern Ireland’s Renewable Ambitions’.

Here are some of the highlights from the two days:

Day 1 – 23 June 2021

  • We started the conference with some great insights from Marie Donnelly, Chair of the Climate Action Advisory Council, on Ireland’s decarbonisation ambitions and the importance of new flexible technologies such as energy storage and demand side response in ensuring we make the best use of our energy resources. We learned about the importance of future-proofing the technology of today to make sure it is capable of providing the most benefits to users in future. 
  • We heard from Bernice Doyle, Head of Grid Services, Statkraft Irelandabout the rapidly growing energy storage sector both globally and in Ireland and we got some great views into the DS3 System Services market, the outlook for energy storage going forward and the importance of future market arrangements to deliver our 2030 targets.
  • There was a very interesting discussion at our panel session on ‘Storage & Other Renewable Integration Technologies in the Energy Transition’ with great analysis from Baringa Partners and UCC’s MaREI institute on the path to a net-zero electricity system and economy in Ireland. We also heard from the CRU on frameworks for incentivising flexibility and from the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) on the key EU policy priorities for energy storage. A particular highlight was the importance of developing zero-carbon System Services, including battery storage, to remove nearly 2 million tonnes of CO2 from the electricity system by 2030.
  • Our third and final panel session for Day 1 had a really fascinating and detailed Q&A with industry experts Fluence, Everoze, Statkraft and GridBeyond taking us through some of the challenges and opportunities of developing battery storage projects today while diving into areas such as flexibility management of storage assets, safety of storage systems and the evolving landscape for storage deployment and wider use cases.
  • In our afternoon ‘Meet the Expert’ sessions participants were able to get into more focused discussion with experts such as ABO Wind on the capabilities of flexible technologies,  EnergyPro on the safe operation of battery storage, Green Tech Skillnet on training and employment opportunities in the sector and our own Energy Storage Ireland team on the key focus areas for the industry.

Day 2 – 24 June 2021

  • We opened Day 2 with a keynote session where Bobby Smith, Senior Policy Advisor with ESI, presented some of the main outcomes from the battery storage pipeline survey, showing almost 2600 MW of battery storage in different stages of development today, and examining the main challenges and opportunities for the sector in the coming years.
  • Dr Paddy Finn, Chair of DRAI, then took us through the benefits of demand flexibility and the future of the industry with a key learning being the need for policy makers to take a technology encompassing approach to the market design and regulation for new flexible technologies.
  • We then held a panel discussion focusing on the demand response industry and the growth of flexibility with contributions from experts in Enel X, Veolia, ESB Networks and EirGrid. It was particularly exciting to see ESB Networks’ plans to introduce flexibility products on the distributions system over the coming years which could be a new revenue stream for storage and demand sites. We also learned of EirGrid and SONI’s plans under their operational pathways to 2030 programme to greatly increase the integration of renewables on our system and how flexible technologies can alleviate existing system operational constraints.
  • Our final panel session was titled ‘Beyond DS3’ and it was very fitting to finish up the panels with a discussion looking at the evolving market for storage and potential trends beyond the DS3 market. We had some great analysis from ElectroRoute and Gore Street Capital on trading strategies for energy storage and diversifying storage revenue streams. It will be interesting to see in the next few years if and how the storage market shifts away from primarily DS3 revenues and the benefits of future-proofing assets to take advantage of different markets going forward were highlighted. Looking even further ahead we were also given some excellent insights by Hydrogen Association Ireland and Schneider Electric Ireland on the role of green hydrogen and energy storage in a net zero future.
  • The afternoon concluded with a networking event where participants had a chance to meet and greet others in the industry and a final ‘Meet the Expert’ with ElectroRoute on optimising storage assets to ensure the most appropriate commercial and technical considerations for projects.
  • Overall, it was a very successful first conference for the energy storage industry with some excellent panel discussions and interactions with participants via the Q&A. It is clear that energy storage and flexible technologies will play a critical role in our decarbonisation ambitions and one of the key takeaways from the event is that the industry is starting to focus on the wider use cases for storage and diversifying business cases to capture even more revenue streams in future. We are already looking forward to next year’s event!