Leading smart energy technology group ABB has joined forces with one of the world’s leading battery makers, Samsung SDI, to make and market modular and scalable microgrids.
The companies said on Wednesday they had signed a memorandum of understanding that would see ABB provide technologies for electrification, control optimization and stabilization, while Samsung provided its lithium-ion batteries and battery management systems.
The two industrial giants are just the latest to turn their focus to micro grids, following Thursday’s news that US solar leasing company SolarCity would start developing distributed energy systems – using Tesla batteries for storage – to be used communities when grid power goes down.
SolarCity says its primary target market will be cities, communities and other areas with weak grids – or a grids at higher risk of impact from natural disasters – or no grid at all.
But according to many leading energy market analysts, decentralised electricity is where all the world’s grids are headed, where the key utilities’ assets will be smart distribution networks, end customer relationships and small-scale backup units.
“Large-scale power generation, however, will be the dinosaur of the future energy system: Too big, too inflexible, not even relevant for backup power in the long run,” said investment bank UBS in a report last August.
For ABB, the combination of its leadership in grid technology and its global service footprint, with Samsung SDI’s leading lithium-ion battery technology will give the two companies a head start in this potentially huge and lucrative market.
“Microgrid applications are expanding rapidly, both in emerging and developed markets, and are a key growth area in ABB’s Next Level strategy,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer.
“This strategic alliance allows us to combine our complementary capabilities and will enable us to bring optimized solutions to our customers.”