Drilling at an Australian mine. The sector is thought to offer a good opportunity to partially displace diesel fuel usage with hybrid systems that combine renewables and energy storage. Image: wikimedia user: blastcube.
French energy storage system maker Electro Power Systems has reported “outstanding results” for the first quarter of this year as well as a €2.4 million (US$2.72 million) backlog of orders in East Africa, Asia-Pacific and Italy.
Electro Power Systems makes energy storage and hybrid energy systems for both grid-connected applications in the developed world and off-grid and microgrid solutions in emerging markets. The company said that at a modest €1.1 million, its Q1 2016 consolidated revenues were eight times greater than in the equivalent period for last year. While France removed obligations for listed companies to report results on a quarterly basis, Electro Power Systems said it published highlights voluntarily.
The French company, which is listed on the Euronext Paris exchange, said it has deployed 44.3MWh of energy storage projects worldwide, with €2.4 million-worth of “flagship projects” as a backlog of orders across 17 countries, including an emphasis on Italy’s grid-connected market, which appeared to receive a boost last year when grid operator Terna issued CEI 16 All. Nbis, grid connection standards for energy storage systems.
The company said net financial position stood at €5.4 million and pro-forma net cash at €7.6 million. It also reduced its net trade working capital exposure to €0.2 million from €1 million at the end of the 2015 financial year.
CEO hails economic impetus to replace diesel with off-grid renewables
Electro Power Systems made two acquisitions in December and January, purchasing energy and system integration company Elvi Energy at the end of 2015 and 70% of research and development (R&D) lab MCM Energy Lab, in which Elvi was already owner of a 30% stake, a month later.
In addition to a successful project in Italy for Terna, the company said “major success” had been achieved in its off-grid solutions business. In March, Energy-Storage.News reported that Elvi Energy was close to finishing work on a 2MW hybrid power plant at a luxury resort in the Maldives that was expected to save 275,000 litres of diesel a year on the island territory which is estimated to spend as much as 14% of its GDP on energy.
Last week, Electro Power Systems said Elvi Energy has obtained a contract for a further large-scale off-grid system, this time in Australia. In partnership with Japan’s Toshiba, the installation is at a mining operation, a sector which has been identified as holding potential for hybrid systems to replace high usage of diesel. Engineering equipment brand Caterpillar recently launched its own hybrid solutions segment including energy storage and solar panels from First Solar which could be suitable for similar projects.
The hybrid power plant is at an unnamed location which regularly gets summertime temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius, according to Electro Power Systems senior vice president Paolo Morandi, who is also chairman of Elvi Energy. The project will feature 3MW of PV panels, 2MW of wind turbines and a 1MW energy storage system. The mine has a peak energy demand of 2MW and the new system would be expected to handle 70% of the load.
“We’re setting a new benchmark for many remote Asia-Pacific communities relying on diesel generators, expensive to run and vulnerable to the volatility of fuel price,” EPS CEO Carlalberto Guglielminotti said. The project is expected to be completed next year.
“This innovative storage solution is a great example of how our advanced technology enables utilities and power companies to harness the potential of renewable energy in off-grid locations, where renewables offer obvious advantages over fossil fuels.”
On the Q1 2016 results, Guglielminotti said that geographical and technological diversification which the company emphasised in its 2015 strategy, was paying off. This included a greater focus on the energy sector – supplying to utilities, grid operators and commercial and industrial (C&I) scale customers.
EPS subsidiary Elvi Energy is partnering with Toshiba on the Australia project. Image: Toshiba.