Australia one of the most attractive battery storage markets in the world: Kokam CEO

Australia is one of the most attractive markets in the world for battery storage, according to one of the world’s leading battery manufacturers – and not just at the household level.

South Korean group Kokam says battery technology is presenting cost effective opportunities across a myriad applications – from luxury boats, ferries, and off-grid electrical systems – to substituting the coal-fired generators and gas turbines that provide “spinning reserve” for the main grid.

And according to Kokam CEO C.Y. Chong, Australia – because of its huge geography and excellent renewable resources – is one of the world’s most attractive markets.

“The electricity market has to be decentralized, and that means using renewable energy and battery storage,” Chong said in an interview with RenewEconomy.

“There is a very high possibility to have high amount of renewable energy in Australia,” Chong said, noting that the battery storage market was still not well developed in this country.

“We very much interested in this country, there are big opportunities to improve the use of renewable energy.”

Kokam does not have the profile of its bigger Korean rivals such as LG or Samsung in terms of sheer volume, but it has been getting some pretty important commissions because of its leading battery technology.

Jon Pemberton, the CEO of Sydney based Zest Energy, Kokam’s principal agent in Australia says the use of storage at grid level for frequency regulation could displace spinning reserve and improve the efficiency of fossil fuel generators.

“This is a rapidly evolving market space for the utilities, particularly at the edge of networks in states such as Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, where there is a high penetration of solar PV.

‘”We believe that batteries will be to the electricity grid what wi-fi was to the Internet – opening up a huge range of new applications for consumers,” Pemberton says.

“Distributed batteries are the key enabler to integration of a higher penetration of renewables in the grid and provision of added energy security to households. This is a value add … our grid assets now have new functionality to distribute local generation and to manage demand, plus consumers will benefit from a lower bill”.

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson