Siemens and AES made official today their potentially formidable partnership, a company called Fluence that will reach into 160 countries to capture the growing energy storage market.
First announced in July, the 50-50 venture has since completed necessary regulatory approvals to go into full operation.
Bringing together the resources of two mega companies, Fluence plans to pursue energy storage both on the utility and microgrid scale, according to Stephen Coughlin, president and CEO of Fluence.
Utility-scale storage projects are likely to dominate Fluence’s business. But microgrids, too, “are going to be a significant chunk of our new projects,” Coughlin said in an interview with Microgrid Knowledge.
Out of the gate, Fluence listed several projects it is already working on, including a hybrid microgrid on the Mediterranean island of Ventotene for Italian energy utility Enel. The project combines renewable and diesel generators and uses battery storage to reduce fuel use, costs and emissions on the island, which has 700 inhabitants. The resources are managed with a Siemens microgrid controller.
Coughlin noted that islands appear to be a ripe market for microgrids, particularly in light of the spate of destructive hurricanes in the Caribbean last year. He sees Fluence focusing on Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, two places where AES already has a strong presence.
In addition to offering energy storage for microgrids, Fluence is going big – very big – in utility-scale storage. The company is supplying what it describes as the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, a 100 MW/400 MWh (4-hour duration) for Southern California Edison and the Western Los Angeles area.
Based in Arlington, Virginia, Fluence now has a staff of about 100 people and plans to add more employees this year. On the sales side, Siemens global sales force will market and sell Fluence energy storage systems, including Siestorage, Advancion, and the newest Fluence platform, SunFlex Energy Storage for solar photovoltaics.
Coughlin said the partnership will address the problem customers have of finding “a trusted technology partner with deep knowledge of the power sector and the ability to deliver an industrial grade solution they could count on to be there in the future.”
He added: “With a team drawn from both Siemens and AES, we are fluent in the power sector and bring the capabilities, global reach and experience to make sure our customers achieve the full value of storage.”
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Fluence also brings with it the deep pockets of Siemens Financial Services (SFS). Customers will be offered tailored financing packages for the three energy storage platforms, ranging from small-ticket leasing to performance contracting to large project finance options.
“SFS stands ready to provide significant capital to address the needs of the growing energy storage market through our program with Fluence,” said Roland Chalons-Browne, SFS CEO. “Providing customers access to market-leading energy storage technology and the capital needed to realize energy storage projects – regardless of size or region – is unique and will help the market grow exponentially.”
Fluence is tapping into an energy storage market that Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts will reach $100 billion by 2030.
“Throughout 2017, the energy storage industry has seen several mergers and acquisitions, as well as a large number of partnership agreements” said Sam Wilkinson, senior research manager at IHS Markit, a global business information provider. “We have entered a growth phase in the industry and the companies best positioned for success will require a proven track record, technology expertise, a global service network, and an ability to serve a broad set of energy storage applications.”
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