Younicos says that large battery storage systems can be provided with no technology and asset risk to industrial players under its new storage-as-a-service offering. The company is providing the rental battery service in partnership with its parent company Aggreko – a specialist in rental power provision.
Alexander Schönfeldt, Head of EMEA Sales for Younicos told pv magazine Australia that the solution is ideal for offgrid industries and communities.
“PV is now the cheapest source of energy in many of these offgrid areas,” said Schönfeldt. “In combination with diesel or gas [generation], PV and battery storage is the perfect combination.
“Mines are often perceived as a temporary investment. That is why Aggreko is strong in mining areas and why storage can be added as a rental piece.”
Younicos and Aggreko are looking to offer battery storage systems on rental contracts ranging from 2 – 4 years in duration. Customers will pay for the rental, plus the installation and decommissioning of the system, when it is no longer needed.
Dan Ibbetson, the Managing Director Global Solutions at Aggreko added that the storage-as-a-service offering brings together the strengths of both companies. “More than just a financing tool, our model is a full-service option for those in need of intelligent energy storage. It allows our customers to benefit from the speed, flexibility and versatility of our industry-leading battery solutions, without having to make a long-term commitment.”
For heavy industries, such as mining, risks of a power outage are extremely serious. Halts to production can be potentially extremely expensive with the restarting of machinery and production interruptions proving costly even if only for a very short period.
Given this, Younicos has developed an application model that mitigates the risk, said Schönfeldt.
“It [the application of battery storage] goes in a transitional model,” explained Schönfeldt. “First, we look at which peaker can be replaced with a battery. Some baseload can be covered by PV during the day, it’s the peakers that are replaced by the battery.
“We conduct test runs, using a backup system, and when good reliability is established over time then the conventional generators can get decommissioned,” said Schönfeldt.
He noted that Aggreko operates a 24/7 operations centre, monitoring the performance of the hybrid system, and taking responsibility for its operation.
“These are 2 – 4 year contracts, so it is in our own interest to have the contracts ongoing without any disruption. It’s a smooth transition and the rental model helps us to squeeze in a new asset type, because there is no heavy investment.”
Scottish rental power, heat and cooling provider Aggreko acquired Berlin-based Younicos in July 2017. At the time GTM’s Eric Wesoff described as a “disappointing exit” noting that the German company had previously raise $75 million in funding before the eventual cash acquisition by Aggreko for $52 million.
There are multiple gigawatts of generation capacity at mine sites around Australia. These are often supplied by expensive diesel generation, or with piped natural gas.