WESD 2021: Brought diverse ideas together for a common goal

The commemoration of the 5th World Energy Storage Day (WESD) that took place virtually on Sept. 22, saw the event unfolding over 24 hours, across the world. Presented by  Customized Energy Solutions (CES), the virtual Global Conference and Expo aims to foster an effective  ecosystem for the promotion of energy storage and emerging technologies. The event covered four global regions (encompassing Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Australia, North & South America) with virtual  sessions on stationary energy storage, e-mobility and charging infrastructure, manufacturing, innovation,  R&D and green hydrogen.  

The event witnessed global participation from over 100 countries, and 150+ international speakers. Total  virtual footfall was 44,022. The event kicked off with sessions on Asia and continued through the day as  Europe, the Middle East and Africa and the Americas joined up later. The event had four, six-hour  conference tracks that were accessible by participants in different languages including English, Chinese,  Japanese, German, and Spanish.  

WESD was started four years ago, and features an all-day global series of panel discussions, workshops,  and exhibition stands. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi conveyed his best wishes and support for  the WESD.  

The highlight of this year’s WESD was Technology Workshop, Partner Seminar, 360- Virtual Tour, Start-up  Pitch, Global Photography Competition and Student Infor-Artist Competition, Product Launch, Networking  Lounge, Virtual Expo, and a Media corner. The event was supported by Amara Raja, Nexcharge, Keysight  Technologies, Lucas TVS, Underwriters Laboratories Inc., Gujarat Fluorochemicals Ltd (GFL), Accure  Battery Intelligence, Epsilon Advanced Materials, Indo German Energy Forum, KPIT, Rosatom, Schaltbau GmbH, and others as the confirmed partners for the event. Additionally, India’s apex planning body, NITI Aayog and the Government of Western Australia were the country partners.  

Start-up Pitch focused on Smart Energy, Energy Storage, Electric mobility, Energy Access, Green hydrogen,  and IoT was also organized at the Global Start-up Showcase Program which was supported by New Energy  Nexus and TiE India Angels. The conference saw nine parallel workshops organized by various partners. Battery Fires in ESS & EVs was supported by Underwriters Laboratories Inc; Solar + Storage Workshop by  International Solar Alliance, Solar Power Europe and National Solar Energy Federation of India; Energy  Storage Project Modelling supported by CES; Battery Recycling & Re-Use in Sub- Saharan supported by  The World Bank and Global Battery Alliance; Energy Access Workshop supported by Alliance for Rural  Electrification; Long-Duration Energy Storage supported by US Department of Energy (DOE). Additional  workshops on EV Infrastructure and Urban Air Mobility for the participants. Women in Energy Forum by  India Energy Storage Alliance and Clean Tech business Forum by CleanTech Business Club also took place  during the event.

Dr Rahul Walawalkar, Chair, WESD, said: “Emerging storage technologies are a big opportunity for the  energy sector that is working at moving away from conventional sources to renewable energy. In that, I  believe there is need to accelerate the adoption of long-duration energy storage, which includes viable  technologies like hydrogen. We have entered an exponential growth phase for these technologies, with  increasing number of choices made available to the users. This is the decade (2020-30) for energy storage;  and we need to be ready to make the most of it.” 

“There is a need for greater global collaboration and partnerships for fast-tracking the adoption of these  storage technologies. With WESD, we aim to do just that. The virtual global event on Energy Storage is  getting more acknowledged every year, with attendees from 100+ countries. The objective of this virtual  conference that runs for a marathon 24 hours, is to create a community that works for a better future with  renewable energy resources and dependable storage to tap that energy.” 

He also highlighted the success stories and case studies of Electric Vehicles and other renewable sources from various parts of the world. 

Addressing the conference,Tarun Kapoor, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas,  Government of India, said: “Green Hydrogen-powered vehicles would become a reality in the future as  the planning and discussions are on cards. We could face various challenges in terms of assembling, plants,  storage and transportation, but these odds are short-lived as India is making tremendous progress in using  renewable energy sources and will continue to do so.” 

Ghanshyam Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Power, GoI, said: “An area of policy that we want to  promote in energy storage, just as with solar and wind, is making it competitive and going through the merchant route. There will be guidelines and policies in the merchant route as well which will kick in soon.  We are also drafting the National Electricity Policy; the 2005 policy is being re-drafted. The key focus in  that policy is going to be energy transition, which will further focus on the storage system and will include  BESS, hydro-pump storage, hydrogen and all the types of storage, which is a concern for the electricity  sector. Some of the sops that were given to the RE sector will be given to the storage sector as well.” 

Patricia Hoffman, Acting Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) expressed: “We  recognized the need for resilience technology for advanced energy storage in the USA. Longer energy  storage technologies are needed as we advance. It is also critical to accomplish decarbonization. To be  able to address location and functional challenges is important. We need to provide system flexibility, which also supports resilience. We are driving towards technologies that will cover 8-12 hours of battery  power. We also recognized the need for diversity in energy storage technology to provide flexibility to the  electric grid. At DOE, we started thinking of programs that will continue energy storage development and  announced energy storage challenges to discover novel technologies. On June 7, the USA launched Energy  Earthshots and the first of the program was Hydrogen Energy Earthshots. It’s exciting to see the  momentum around energy storage; we aim to accelerate its adoption in the market. 

Ashok Thakur, Co-convenor, WESD, reflects: “The world has woken up to the cause of green energy… RE  integrated grid, emission-free transportation, reducing reliance on fossil fuel and in the process realising  the undeniable role energy storage will play in making it possible. Companies across the globe are making  efforts in their own way to bring about a possible change. But we need to reflect on whether the focus is  on independent projects, or are the efforts cumulative for a greater whole? Progress within private silos cannot be counted as global achievement; progress really counts when it involves all, even those who do  not have the resources. The WESD event has given an opportunity to all green energy proponents to  collectively find a way to work together and truly make energy accessible and affordable to all. Not just an  event, it is a global movement to bring together the nations, the multinationals, and conglomerates, the  big and the small… all for each. 

The WESD is a movement started in 2017 to acknowledge the significance of energy storage in achieving  the goal of a greener grid and cleaner transportation around the globe. It is observed and commemorated  by various industry stakeholders, policymakers, think tanks, and associations. Over the past five years, the  conference has evolved from just being a webinar on local aspects to a global movement enabling  innovation and encouraging collaboration around the globe.