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Energy Storage – An Explosive Opportunity?

The installation and operation of largescale battery systems involves safety, environmental and operational risks that are relatively new to industry and often not properly understood. These risks are a significant issue for all stakeholders- from funding agencies to first responders managing an incident.

Emergent Group’s Principal Engineer – Ideation, Simon Bull, will explore this issue at ‘Energy Next’, a free-to-attend industry event focusing on the latest renewable energy and energy management technologies, in Sydney this July.

Simon will introduce the risks people are missing, and what they might mean for different stakeholders. He will provide some clear steps ahead to mitigate them, and ensure energy storage technology can provide the incredible services needed by our power system.

The science regarding largescale battery safety and environmental risks is still relatively immature. In many ways, industry’s rollout of largescale battery technology is outpacing the detailed scientific knowledge of many of the risks involved with the technology. Based on experience with many battery installations so far, it is clear many in industry are unaware of such risks or are not properly equipped to manage them.

If not addressed, these risks may cripple our industry. They will certainly affect the returns of investors, the performance of systems, and the social licence we need to operate.

Forecasts from organisations such as the Australian Energy Market Operator show that Australia will need hundreds of times the amount of battery capacity in place today, and this capacity will need to be installed in a very short timeframe. Overall, we require an incredible acceleration of the rate of installation of largescale batteries, and Australia is leading the world with the pace and scale of this activity.

If we have significant risks today, we need to address them today, so we can scale up and meet the needs of tomorrow. Emergent Group has recently worked with the Waratah Super Battery project to identify safety and fire risks and put in place measures to mitigate those risks.  Lessons learned from this project will inform how we assist industry to meet the increasing demand for energy storage solutions as we, as a society, transition to the production and provision of renewable energy.

Energy Next

18-19 July 2023, ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour

Across two days, Energy Next will provide an extensive exhibition, workshops and networking opportunities for those working in the renewable energy industry to meet with leading suppliers, discover the latest technologies and gain an understanding of how to successfully launch new clean energy projects.

Simon Bull

Principal Engineer-Ideation, Emergent Group.

Simon is a degree qualified engineer, entrepreneur and product developer.  His experience spans system safety engineering across complex products such as electric mining vehicles, electric passenger trains and navy warships.  His career includes a diverse list of projects across the spectrum of the product lifecycle including the development of a large-scale battery impact test rig in conjunction with the CSIRO, the design of an electric vehicle battery assembly line and the design of battery-powered consumer sports equipment.

This diverse, hands-on systems engineering experience provides a unique perspective of how risks in Large-Scale Battery Energy Storage Systems might be foreseen and addressed.