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RES sets sights on top spot after stellar showing in Navigant ESSI league table

UK firm RES says it will confirm its place as leading ESSI on completion of energy storage projects for the National Grid, similar to its 'Elwood' storage system in Chicago
UK firm Renewable Energy Systems (RES) said its two new contracts with the National Grid in the UK, covering 55MW of new regulation services to the grid, will establish it as the leading energy storage provider in the market, after it ranked second behind US rival AES in a new league table of energy storage systems integrators (ESSIs).

Navigant Research placed AES and RES top of its annual leader-board of utility-scale ESSIs, rated on a dozen criteria, ranging from their vision and strategy to their technology and performance, and to their geographic reach and ‘staying power’.

“These two companies have the greatest diversity and amount of projects. Being able to develop systems using different technologies, providing multiple services, and for different customer types are key criteria for this report,” said Alex Eller, research analyst at Navigant.

“Both companies have projects operating in multiple world regions for different types of customers, and have experience developing systems for multiple uses, rather than a single service.”

RES put its showing down to its expertise across technology and engineering, construction, development and asset management.

“We want to be the number one integrator in each of our focus markets for energy storage and create development and asset management value where we see it,” said Andrew Oliver, global head of energy storage and chief technology officer at RES Group in the Americas.

“Very few companies have the four skill sets of technology and engineering, construction, development and asset management that allow their customers to benefit from a one-stop-shop experience including safety management that is embedded in our culture. A RES project is de-risked from the customer perspective because the single point contracting aspect leaves no gaps in scope.”

RES, which has a built a range of grid services from energy storage products in the US and Canada, has an expanding portfolio of UK projects. It won a four-year contract with the National Grid in August for 35MW of sub-second frequency response using battery storage.

Outside of its main energy frequency response (EFR) tender, the National Grid also awarded RES a parallel deal in June for 20MW of sub-second frequency response. RES said the 20MW contract is the result of a “long collaboration with National Grid to design a service that was right for that market.”

The RES lithium-ion battery storage facility, expected to be live towards the end of 2017, will be the UK’s first sub-second grid balancing system. “When complete, [these two projects] will see RES as the number one energy storage provider in that market,” said Oliver.

In its research, Navigant noted the range and variety of entrants in the ESSI market from different backgrounds. AES and RES rated more highly than major conglomerates such as S&C Electric, NEC and LG. Eller at Navigant said the varied pedigrees of contenders in the ESSI market is a mark of its strength, and potential for growth.

“While the market certainly remains somewhat immature, the presence of such large and well-established companies validates the expectations many have for this industry. In the next few years we can expect a greater number of companies to enter the market. However, the companies now active and committing to the market are likely to remain leaders,” said Eller.

RES said the market has reached a critical juncture, where the technology has matured. At the same time, it remains fraught with complexity. “Falling costs and a sense that energy storage’s time has arrived are creating a snowball effect in where many companies are now exploring the technology,” said Oliver.

“However, energy storage is highly complex and there are many factors to consider from technology differences to market rules, so companies are picking their way through these to try and uncover value with mixed success.”

Other contenders on the Navigant leader-board include Greensmith, Invenergy, General Electric, ABB, Younicos, NextEra, Leclanché, and Doosan Grid Tech.

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