Custom-made solutions wins in efficiency and popularity in the energy sector

April 26, 2016 9:27 PM

The new mantra for international business is customization of products and services according to the demands and clients’ requirements. This fact stood out in a recent study by research firm Booz Allen Hamilton that surveyed product and services companies of North America and Europe. The report concluded that organic sales growth and profit margins that are significantly higher than the industry average are generated by firms and companies that more effectively balance the value that customization brings to their client with the complexity of costs it can impose.

energy

The study, conducted on 50 companies with turnovers between $1 billion to $20 billion, revealed a two-to-one performance gap between “smart customizers” and “simple customizers”. It is well known that customization has occupied center stage in the auto industry.

For example, Auto McLaren has opened up what it calls its ‘Special Operations’ division charged with the delivery of bespoke projects at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. “The levels of McLaren Special Operations content on the 12C and 12C Spider have been steadily increasing throughout the year, with a diverse range of upgrades requested from owners looking to put a unique twist on their McLaren,” says Paul Mackenzie, Program Director at McLaren Automotive.

More surprisingly, this customization and customized solutions have also become an important element of the Power generation sector where there are significant changes from the traditional demands and modes of business. With the rising demand for alternative energy and green energy, off grid solar power plants have assumed great importance. So have smaller yet effective photovoltaic cells based home solutions.

One example of decentralized, customized, self-producing, storing and consuming alternative power is the Sun Stockage project, designed by Sunzil – the tropical solar energy expert, providing off-grid energy production for self-consumption for residents of Martinique. For this project, customized solutions for energy storage were provided by Forsee Power, a French company and leading producer of energy storage systems.

Forsee Power supplied Li-Ion batteries customized for home storage of energy produced by solar power to fulfill Martinique’s objective of becoming energy independent by 2050. Sun Stockage Project helped in the production and storage of energy for self-consumption on islands such as Martinique. In this attempt, Forsee Power provided storage solution that provided all the necessary security guarantees for residential use, while forming part of a complex system involving several pieces of electrical equipment and sustains the unique weather conditions in Martinique.

The specific needs of the tropical island in terms of temperature and humidity were expertly addressed by Forsee Power through the customization of the storage battery to be used. This project was just a start for the company as Forsee Power steps in the ambit of public companies by launching an Initial Public Offering which, it hopes would increase the scope of work for the company.

In many other cases across the globe, energy storage facilities are being used to eliminate the loss of energy in transmission in centralized power generation. This has given rise to increased demand for customized solutions not only for power generation but storage of energy. In order to counter fluctuations in the electricity demand and supply there has been a growing demand in turnkey solutions for battery storage in off grid as well as renewable energy production. “In developed countries, consumers are trying to hedge against rising electricity prices for self-consumption. To all this is added a socio-economic phenomenon, more and more significant in all countries, is the desire for independence, the desire to overcome the network and produce its own consumption. In 2030 or 2050, we will clearly move towards a growing empowerment of lifestyles in developed countries but also in developing countries,” says Gilles Ramzeyer, head of Energy Storage Unit at Forsee Power.

With the rise and potential growth of the distributed energy production and storage market, companies active in this sphere are targeting remotely locate off grid power generation and storage for industries apart from the residential sector.

A decentralized off grid energy project at DeGrussa Copper-Gold Mine in Western Australia is a prime example of this. Supported by Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the plant will also be the largest in the world that combines solar, diesel and battery storage. “Replacing some energy generation from diesel to solar will off-set rising production costs, global competition and drive to improve overall environmental performance,” says John Grimes, the Australian Solar Council head.

The core logic behind the physical co-location of generation plants was that the economic efficiency gains from being positioned close to the fuel source were greater than the economic inefficiency of transmission losses from transporting power long distances to major population and industrial centers,” says David Green, CEO of the Clean Energy Council, Australia. More than two million household clean energy systems have been installed across Australia and is measurable by the reduced on demand level of grid energy, he added.

As customization gains popularity in the energy sector, using storage batteries to store extra energy and use it in peak hours, considerably reduces dependency on the power grid. However customized decentralized energy generation and storage requires expertise, which companies are fast developing to cater to the varied demands of various quantities of power for residential and commercial projects.

Distributed power generation has already succeeded in moving beyond a characterization as a niche part of the energy industry. “However the speed of that transition will depend on the extent to which the market allows for innovation and how quickly the new entrants of today are allowed to become the incumbents of tomorrow,” concludes David Green.

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