SWEP blogs on green jobs from energy storage at Heat and Decentralised Energy Conference, Sept. 29-Oct.
Energy storage can lead charge for new green jobs
I have worked in the world of renewable energy for over 25 years. In that time, it has changed from being a niche business, to now a major industry on which the world increasingly relies to help meet the environmental challenges that we face. While much of the focus of renewable energy is around carbon reduction, it is also a major economic driver. Tens of thousands of new jobs are being created across the world in all sorts of new technologies that broadly come under the heading ‘renewable energy’.
One of the newest of these technologies is energy storage, and there have been major advances in recent years around battery storage. But not many people are aware that energy can be stored through a heat network. Utility companies are starting to develop thermal storage facilities to retain energy created from district heating energy centres. The principle is simple – heat is stored when it is cheap to produce and then utilised when it is expensive to produce.
One of the pioneers of sustainable technology is Absolicon Solar Collector, which is involved in the development of Sweden’s largest district heating system based on solar concentrating technology. Heat generated from the 3,000m2 field of parabolic trough collectors will be fed directly into the district heating grid in Härnösand, providing renewable hot water and heating to the city without any combustion involved.
SWEP is involved in the project through the provision of our high-capacity B649 brazed plate heat exchangers (BPHEs). The power of these units provides the potential to build larger and more cost-effective energy transfer stations with output capacity far higher than what has been possible in the past.
Projects like the Absolicon solar field in Sweden are creating hundreds of new jobs at all levels in this new world of energy generation and storage. However, finding people with the right skills is not easy - as I guess all of us in renewable energy are finding. We need to create appropriate training for new young entrants. But let’s also remember that established energy technologies like oil and gas, which will decline as renewables take over, have a wealth of established, older workers whose skills and experience can be rehoned for the bright future ahead.
This article is based on personal reflections from Christer Frennfelt, SWEP Business Development Manager, Consultant & Utility.
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