While the potential of energy storage to transform the grid has been discussed for long, it has taken years for energy storage systems to gain a legitimate position in the discussion about the actual deployment of the electricity grid and its future. Using Alliander’s neighbourhood battery as a case this report presents the main findings from an exploratory study on the potential transformative impact of local energy storage in the energy transition.
Energy storage has been expected to improve the working conditions and the stress-resistance of the grid, making it more secure, reliable and responsive, in the face of an increasing diffusion of renewables. At the same time, energy storage systems may be used to increase the local self-consumption of decentralised generation. Its value nonetheless will become more visible for end users and end user collectives in the future; as the transition progresses the status of support schemes like net metering and the priority access of renewables to the grid might change.
From a transitions perspective, the neighbourhood battery is interesting because it functions as a disruptive element that physically connects top-down and bottom-up developments in the context of regime destabilisation and emergence of alternatives in the energy transition. As such it comprises a type of transformative social innovation.
Using Alliander’s neighbourhood battery as a case this report presents the main findings from an exploratory research on the potential transformative impact of local energy storage in the energy transition.
What are the societal costs and benefits of a concept like the neighbourhood battery? What value (and disvalue) does it offer and to whom? Where do points of friction with the existing institutional framework emerge? How could a neighbourhood battery influence the business model of an energy cooperative?
This research contrasts the perspectives of employees of Alliander with those of the pilot organisation currently using the battery, as well as those of representatives of renewable energy cooperatives who are currently not involved but comprise possible interesting parties for the concept’s deployment in the future. Moreover, the report includes some insights from a preliminary survey on the perspectives of the battery’s end users.
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Proka, A. (2017). Buurtbatterij. A neighbourhood battery and its impact on the Energy Transition.