Taiwanese energy storage and solar systems manufacturer United Renewable Energy (URE) aims to supply Turkey with systems to store electricity from wind and solar power plants, the 10-year electricity purchase guarantee of which will expire this year. Chienping Hsieh, URE vice chairman of global sales and sales management, said it was compulsory in the past for electricity distribution companies to buy the energy from such plants whether they were able to sell it or not in a statement on Thursday to told Enerji Günlüğü, a Turkey-based online energy news platform. “But these companies will no longer have an obligation,” Hsieh said, noting the wind and solar power plants produce electricity at certain times of day, thus this energy will have to be stored.
“In other words, new storage units will be needed,” he said. Many of those power plants were supplied with a purchase and price guarantee for certain years, and they will be excluded from the scope of the Renewable Energy Support Scheme (YEKDEM) at the end of 2020 as they would complete the guaranteed time. Turkey currently has feed-in-tariffs for renewable energy power plants under YEKDEM. Although this system has been very useful in incresing Turkey's renewable capacity, the sector represenatives are now waiting for the introduction of a new program. Turkey currently enjoys 7,615 megawatts (MW) in wind power and has surpassed 6,200 MW in installed solar capacity. Hsieh highlighted that the energy-storing systems they offer would be crucial for Turkey especially when the country aims to rely more on renewable energy. He said for the introduction of their systems to Turkish markets, the URE may either work with new service companies that are involved in the energy storage systems, or they can make agreements with wholesale companies.
Speaking further on URE’s energy storage products, Hsieh highlighted that the company’s products are different from many other products on the market, especially in terms of their batteries. “The batteries used are, in fact, similar to phone batteries. Typically, LCM batteries are produced. But unlike our competitors, we use Lithium iron phosphate batteries. They are lower in energy density and much, much safer than cellphone batteries and other LCM batteries,” Hsieh said, noting many fire incidents in energy storage systems were related to LCM batteries. Speaking of uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) still being widely used, Hsieh said factories use lead-acid batteries, and “people are turning to these batteries because they are cheap.” However, those kinds of batteries are forbidden from being purchased in Europe due to the heavy metal content in them, he added. He said companies are more likely to prefer green batteries now to avoid dangerous outcomes. Evaluating the current trends in Turkey, Hsieh said it is also a good time for offering the Turkish market such products as there were only large-scale tenders previously, but now small systems in residential buildings and rooftops are becoming more common.
URE employs 3,000 employees and is mainly active in producing solar cells, solar panels, solar systems and energy storage solutions.