New Battery Performance Standard proposed for Australia, and possibly the world

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For many of us, the last two months have felt like two years. In reality, two years ago, none of us was watching Tiger King in lockdown, although some of us, those at DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent energy experts and certification body, were commencing a project called the Australian Battery Performance Standard (ABPS). 

The lack of standardised performance data in what is one of the world’s leading markets for energy storage spurred both the DNV GL ABPS project, and the ARENA funded ITP Renewables Battery Trial, to better supply the consumer pressured by rising electricity prices and encouraged by state government subsidies with accurate performance data. 

After all, according to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Australia has the highest uptake of solar globally, with 2.37 million of 21% of all homes boasting rooftop solar. And, of course, rooftop solar without energy storage is like art without memory. However, energy storage uptake is not yet a given like solar, and part of the reason for this hold up is customer confusion and diffidence about choosing the right battery system for them. 

In June 2018, the ABPS project started toward the development of a draft standard addressing which energy storage system is best suited to residential and small-scale commercial applications. Under the banner of DNV GL, and with the support of $1.44 million in ARENA funding through its Advancing Renewables Program, and the Victorian Government through its New Energy Jobs Fund, the project is comprised of various groups, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Deakin University, and the Smart Energy Council. 

“Energy storage is shaping up to be an important feature of our rapidly evolving energy system,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller. “As rooftop solar penetration continues to increase, and more people look to store their solar energy during the day and minimise what they consume from the grid in the evening, it is important that consumers are informed about how well batteries perform over their lifetime to aid their investment decision.” 

Key Metrics

Sometimes, what should go without saying is precisely the thing that needs saying most. It should go without saying that battery manufacturers should report in a consistent way. Alas, it takes ABPS to ensure that, following this new proposed standard, battery manufacturers will be required to report metrics consistent across the board, such as maximum and sustained power, capacity, and efficiency. 

Moreover, even if manufacturers reported such basic facts, the consumer couldn’t be sure that varying manufacturers applied the same testing methods. Therefore, ABPS has also designed test protocols designed specifically to provide performance data relevant to Australian conditions and solar production patterns. 

“The adoption of this standard will help consumers’ dilemma of choosing the energy storage system best suited to their needs,” said Nicolas Renon, Executive Vice President Asia Pacific Region, “and empower them to play their part in moving towards a cleaner future.” 

If ratified, the new standards will ensure manufacturers and system integrators demonstrate “like-for-like” test results and relay them to the consumer. As it currently stands, manufacturers self-report battery performance, and considering people are about as trustworthy as the words they use, the introduction of common testing parameters will replace much of the chaos with a fair game. 

Interim Best Practice Guide 

In support of the new draft standard, ABPS is soon going to supply an interim best practice guide, a guide through the imbroglio of a various and booming market. 

First the country, then the world 

In the course of this two-year process, ABPS has also discovered that no comparable performance standard for batteries connected to domestic/small (under 200kWh/100kW) commercial solar exists outside Australia either. This is to say, ABPS now harbours hopes of world-domination, hopes that this new standard could become a global standard.