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Alternative sources lead shifts in energy

Oct 17,2016
The Powerwall home battery and Powerpack commercial battery unveiled last year by Tesla marked a game changer for energy storage for both home and business.

The home battery system is ideal for charging during low rate periods and discharging stored power during peak demand periods, and is an optimal companion to a home solar system, according to Tesla.

Industry experts say the development by the formidable electric vehicle producer is a sign that a commercially viable domestic energy storage market has come to reality.

Riding the global wave of renewable energy, major Korean companies have recently begun to turn to alternative energies such as solar and wind as next-generation growth engines.

Hanwha Q Cells, the solar panel manufacturing arm of Hanwha Group, is equipped with solar power cell manufacturing facility that is capable of generating 5.2 gigawatts per year - the world’s largest scale. The solar energy leader last month unveiled a new solar technology that can generate more power from solar cells adding to its existing energy storage system (ESS).

ESS refers to a facility that stores energy during periods of low energy consumption for flexible use later. It provides the basic infrastructure necessary for environmentally-friendly power generation, as energy output from renewable sources like solar and wind are often irregular. The global ESS market is growing at a speed of 20 percent annually, according to industry data.

“The combination of both solar technology and ESS technology has enabled a paradigm shift in the energy industry and it will ultimately lead to a fundamental transformation in our everyday lives,” said Chief Commercial Officer Kim Dong-kwan. “Just as there was the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, this generation will become the first to see the energy revolution.”

Hanwha expects 54 percent of power will be generated from new and renewable energy sources by 2040, with solar making up about 26 percent.

GS, the nation’s seventh-largest conglomerate, has been reshaping its business structure to focus on energy. GS Energy is developing next-generation battery materials and overseas natural resources development, whereas GS EPS, the group’s other energy affiliate, is strengthening new renewable energy technologies. A year ago, the latter completed Asia’s largest biomass power plant in South Chungcheong that can supply enough electricity for 110,000 people. Biomass plants, touted as promising next-generation renewable power plants, use agricultural byproducts for power generation.

Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, a leading heavy industrial company under the conglomerate Doosan, heralded its entry into the promising ESS industry by acquiring 1Energy Systems, a U.S. ESS manufacturer, in July.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]


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