In the last decades, we have seen a tremendous growth of distributed power production from renewable sources on a local and regional level. For stakeholders to maintain grid stability and optimise their business models, they need to invest in safe, affordable and sustainable power storage capacity. Many SMEs in the NWE area have developed these solutions, but they have a hard time validating their products. Transnational action is needed to benefit from their innovations. Otherwise, traditional battery products from overseas corporates will outpace them – they already supply 80% of the mid-size storage market in the EU. STEPS will tackle the two main challenges keeping North-West European businesses from becoming competitive:
Limited access to test beds: Emerging energy storage products often take years to reach pre-commercial TRL. Having access to testing sites is crucial for any SME’s pathway to commercialisation and market-access and, ultimately, to drive innovation and job creation in NWE.
Fragmented regulation: Each country has its own energy market regulations which influence a products’ technical specifications and the profitability of the business model.
There are three key pillars for creating a transnational environment in which innovative, sustainable and safe energy storage products can be developed more efficiently with maximised commercial usability and international competitiveness:
and legislation will be explored to help SMEs tailor their solutions to foreign market conditions.
To accelerate innovation in medium-scale energy storage, STEPS is planning to bring 25 new storage products & solutions to a pre-commercial level.
STEPS will drive down the time energy storage SMEs typically spend on technology demonstration before reaching market maturity from an average of 5 years to 1-2, while maintaining maximum commercial usability.
STEPS Business Support Programme First Call
STEPS Call One, Voucher One – Closed
- The First STEPS Voucher Call opened January 2021
- The SMEs chosen in that call received the First Voucher Support which was the support of the international expertise from the Knowledge Partners (NUIG, Ireland and TU Darmstadt, Germany), equal to €12,000
- From these SMEs, no more than half will be chosen to receive the Second Voucher Support.
The Second Voucher Support will include a bursary of €50,000 to implement tailored product development at the testbed (Wexford County Hall for the South East Energy Agency SME)
- Clean Tech have been awarded the Second Voucher Support for the First Call
STEPS Call One, Voucher Two
In November 2021, Clean Tech installed their Ampere T-Pro Battery Storage Solution into Wexford County Hall. This will give them the opportunity to watch the batteries performance and troubleshoot any issues arise.
Clean Tech gained this opportunity by advancing to the Voucher 2 support for the STEPS project. This testing will greatly advance Clean Tech’s Technology Readiness Level (TRL).
You can watch interviews below of Gerry Forde from Wexford County Hall as well as Hugo Dong and Gus Kearney from Clean Tech discussing their experiences with the STEPS project.
STEPS Business Support Programme Second Call
Second Call for STEPS Voucher 1 – Closed
- The second call for the STEPS Voucher Support opened May 25th. This call was extended to June 17th.
- Four Irish SMEs entered the STEPS Voucher 1 scheme, after being chosen from the second call of STEPS. These were:
- Sunstream Energy based in Waterford
- Crest Pro Power based in Sligo.
- Sun Harvester based in Derry
- Daretech based in Cork
- These SMEs received technical support from the Knowledge Partners (NUIG, Ireland and TU Darmstadt, Germany)
STEPS Second Call Voucher Two Support
- Of the four SMEs that partook in Voucher 1, two will receive the the voucher two support for this call.
- These SMEs are Sun Harvester from Derry and Daretech from Cork.
- Sun Harvester will install their battery solution into O’Shea Farms in Kilkenny.
- You can watch the Testbed videos for O’Shea Farms and James’ Dairy Farm (both in Kilkenny) and read our news stories on each SME below.
- The Sun Harvester installation is expected to go ahead in late summer 2022.
James Dairy Farm
James is a dairy farmer based in south Kilkenny. After installing a robotic milking system he is now looking for a way to meet the 24hr energy demand of his parlour. James has agreed to be a testbed for a STEPS Voucher 2 recipient, where that SME will install their battery solution on his farm. This will allow James to find out what savings could be made with a battery installed to supplement is PV system. STEPS is an Interreg North-West Europe project and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Voucher Two Battery Installations
Sun Harvester (Zhyphen) installed their battery solution into James Dairy, a dairy farm with an automated milking machine. This battery will increase the consumption of the solar PV generated on the farm by storing it until times when needed. It can also charge a times of cheaper tariff rates such as at night time, for discharging during the day. As well these, this battery will allow for an uninterrupted power supply for the milking machine ensuring animal well-being and production yield. You can learn more about the battery and the benefits for James Dairy in the video below.
Glas energy installed their battery solution into O’Shea Farms which has high PV generation. The battery will supplement this generation by allowing them to store energy at times of high generation to use when demand is high but generation is low. The battery will also charge when tariffs are low to use when tariffs are higher. Glas has added a controller to the battery which allows for charging and discharging on command. They will test the best use of this controller system at O’Shea Farms. You can learn more about the battery and how it will benefit O’Shea Farms from our interview with Glas director Colm Byrne
How Can SMEs Benefit from the STEPS Project?
Are you a SME operating in the energy storage market? The STEPS NWE State-of-the-Art Report on Storage Technologies, Opportunities and Trends can offer expert insights.
- As part of the EU-funded STEPS project, renowned organisations investigated the current state of medium-capacity energy storage (e-storage) and the e-storage industries based in North-West Europe (NWE).
- This report seeks to help SMEs make informed decisions, seize opportunities, and boost their products
- The report covers information on e-storage products and installations in the medium capacity range (5 kWh – 2 MWh), and classifies different energy storage technologies e.g. chemical, electrical and electrochemical.
- Furthermore, it describes the different applications such as home energy storage systems in combination with photovoltaic electricity generation for households, grid-scale installations for industrial use and utilities and electromobility for private as well as public transportation.
Want to keep up to date with STEPS News and Events from our European Partners?
And see what energy storage-related events are coming up here.
Are you involved with Energy Storage in the Irish Market?
Have you considered joining the Irish Energy Storage Association?
IESA is one of the chief organisational bodies looking out for the interests of energy storage providers on the island of Ireland.
They are a growing group and are looking for engaged and active individuals and organisations to join.
Members receive many vital benefits such as; a training sessions on the storage market, representation for national energy storage issues, access to webinars, and a newsletter sent periodically.
You can see a full list of Services and Representations IESA can offer you below. Also see below the application form for joining as a member which includes information on membership costs.