New 'Fluence Energy' Builds World's Biggest Storage System In California

Tesla will be seeing some competition in the energy storage industry with a team effort by AES and Siemens. They’ve fully launched business operations at a new startup called Fluence Energy at the beginning of the year. A new energy storage project they’ll be working on in Long Beach, California, is hailed to be the biggest in the world.

Fluence was first announced back in July and both companies have a 50 percent stake in it. There’s over 10 years of experience already going into the new startup that’s headquartered in Washington, DC. Other offices will be located worldwide, such as Germany. While they’ll run independently from the two companies backing it, it still brings together the AES Advancion and Siemens Siestorage technology platforms.

Looking at the experience, both companies combine for a capacity of 485 megawatts of battery storage in 15 different countries. That’s among 56 different projects that’s either been deployed or awarded to the company. Among those is the world’s largest battery backup system that will be located at Long Beach, California.

AES was awarded the Southern California Edison project back in 2014. With a capacity of 100 megawatts and 400 megawatt-hours, it would beat out Tesla’s battery facility in South Australia that features 129 megawatt-hours. AES had the previous record with their system in Escondido, California.

“As the energy storage market expands, customers face the challenge of finding a trusted technology partner with an appropriate portfolio and a profound knowledge of the power sector,” Ralf Christian, CEO of Siemens’ Energy Management division said in a press release. “Fluence will fill this major gap in the market.”

While competition between Fluence and Tesla could increase battery storage sizes in the future, it’s not likely that we’ll go too far higher than 100 megawatts. The company’s COO, John Zahurancik, tells Greentech Media that smaller storage facilities could “be a better benefit” than having a large, centralized system.

An enormous benefit from the collaboration will be the reduction of financing on these projects. AES Energy Storage had to reach out to different lenders for each project, which takes a lot of time to approve. Fluence will instead be working with Siemens’ financial services unit. They also anticipate to sell solutions to solar developers as the market grows.

Competition in the energy storage market will only improve the industry, forcing companies like Tesla and the newly-established Fluence to continue being innovative. It could also be a large benefit for the industry overall if financing becomes easier for these battery solutions.

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