Sony to form energy storage JV

Sony and Hydro-Québec have agreed to form a joint venture to research and develop a large-scale energy storage system for wind and solar energy.

The new company will use Sony’s technologies for olivine-type lithium-ion iron phosphate rechargeable batteries and module systems that enable large-scale developments. Hydro-Québec’s will provide its operation and control technologies for electric power supplies as well as its lithium-ion battery material technology.

Sony said in a statement that it is entering into the joint venture in order to develop technology “to meet high level demand for electric power during peak times and stabilise fluctuations in electricity generated by renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.”

The two companies plan to establish the joint venture in June.

Storage is seen as key to the further development of the wind industry in countries where capacity is already high and the greatest challenge is integrating the energy generated into the grid.

Due to the fact that the wind does not always blow, and demand is variable, storage capacity will need to be increased as installed wind capacity grows, if the need for conventional power backup is to be reduced.

Other forms of energy storage that seek to enable energy generated through wind to be released to the grid when it is most needed are being developed, such as hydrogen conversion. However, none has yet achieved widespread deployment.

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