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AWEA 2018: Storage is 'like bacon'

UNITED STATES: At Day Two of the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) Windpower 2018 conference and exhibition in Chicago (7-10 May), the CEO of the Energy Storage Association (ESA) said storage applications are central to sustainable grid.

ESA CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman addresses delegates at AWEA Windpower 2018
ESA CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman addresses delegates at AWEA Windpower 2018

Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of ESA, told delegates at Windpower 2018 storage is the "critical hub" for a more sustainable grid. 

"Storage is like the bacon of the grid — it makes everything a little better," she joked with the audience. 

Speakes-Backman said storage can, and should, be used for all energy sources, including nuclear and coal. "Storage is fabulous because it has a lot of potential revenue streams," she said. 

Speakes-Backman also referenced a white paper by the ESA, in partnership with Navigant Research, with showed a pathway to 35GW of energy storage in the US by 2025 from less than 1GW today. 

Big turbines

Also at the opening session, GE Renewable Energy executives John Lavelle (CEO Offshore) and Danielle Merfeld (CTO), lauded the potential for offshore wind. 

Lavelle said there could be 100GW of offshore wind globally by 2030. He said with a stable European market, and the emergence of the US and Asia, global innovation "comes in to play". 

Merfeld said the "age of the big turbine was finally here". 

"When you have bigger turbines you have fewer foundations, more efficient cabling and not much more 'at-sea time'. Bigger turbines drive down the cost."

GE revealed its 12MW offshore turbine in March. 

Blockchain

Energy markets will be one of the main beneficiaries of blockchain technology, said Evan Caron, managing director of Swytch, a platform that tracks sustainability efforts.

"The underlying technology and energy can provide open and transparent access," he told the opening conference on Day Two of the American Wind Energy Association’s Windpower 2018 conference in Chicago.

"It can disrupt the centralised utility model… and every home can become their own utility."
Blockchain can "democratise" energy by improving access markets for renewable energy sources such as wind or solar, and by "enabling peer-to-peer energy networks, and enabling people to trade power on micro- or community grids", he suggested.

"It gives customers better access to renewable energy and better rewards systems," he said. "Disrupted energy resources, such as from solar panels, also have better access."

Demand response and electric vehicle charging are both key goals of energy companies using blockchain, Caron said.

But the fundamental question surrounding blockchain-energy is "How can you integrate renewable energy into the grid without disrupting resiliency?", he concluded.

Swytch describes itself as offering a new blockchain-based solution that uses mart meters to track, verify and reward consumers and business that make renewable energy.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) will hold its Windpower 2018 conference and exhibition in Chicago (7-10 May). Windpower Monthly will bring all of the coverage from the show across the week. 

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