e newest entrant into energy storage market bears a passing resemblance to cutting edge 19th century technology.
It is a rail car with no passengers or freight that goes nowhere. But if the California company working on this technology is right, its rail cars could make big inroads in the energy storage market.
At heart, though, the concept is simple. Electricity powers an electric motor in a locomotive that hauls a heavy load up hill. Sitting at the top of the hill, the rail cars store energy. When the energy is needed, the cars are released to roll down hill and the electric motor runs in reverse to generate electricity.
TORRANCE, CA and VENICE, CA–(Marketwired – April 27, 2016) – Verengo Solar, Southern California’s premier residential PV installer, and Swell Energy, California’s leading home battery provider, jointly announced today a partnership that creates a one-stop home energy storage and backup power solution for the residential market.
Under the terms of the agreement, Verengo will leverage its leadership position and expertise in the residential solar power installation market and become a preferred installer of Swell Energy’s home solar battery products. Among the services offered by the two companies is an energy storage solution that will allow customers to power their homes cleanly and quietly independent of the electrical grid for up to one day or, when paired with solar, potentially indefinitely.
Leclanché has secured a $28.9 million order for a 53 MWh battery system to be installed in Ontario. It is part of an even bigger project, which is worth $45 million. This second part will provide ancillary services to the Independent Electricity System Operator for the Canadian provinces.
Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) will provide access to a $6 million revolving credit insurance facility for Leclanché.
Second generation of home battery systems automatically stores cheap energy for use at peak times.
British clean tech start-up Powervault has today unveiled the second generation of its home energy storage unit.
The latest version of the technology, which is available from today, will allow householders to access newly introduced smart tariffs by automatically storing energy when it is cheap for use at times of peak demand. They will also offer an emergency power socket that can keep essential equipment functional during blackouts.
Tesla (Palo Alto, CA) is anticipating that sales this year of the company’s batteries could be as much 60% larger than the entire US ‘behind-the-meter’ energy storage market in 2015 according to research analysis by business intelligence company GTM Research.
The reseach market analyst estimates that Tesla will sell 168.5 megawatt-hours of energy storage systems to SolarCity in 2016 which is more than six times what Tesla sold to SolarCity in 2015.
Late last year, General Motors (NYSE:GM) inadvertently set off a mild media storm (well, at least within the EV community) when it explicitly stated that its EV battery cell costs were already as low as $145/kWh. The large automaker touted that tidbit in a slide deck during its Global Business Conference.
Battery partner LG Chem was not amused though, since $/kWh is an incredibly important number that companies like to keep proprietary due to competitive sensitivities. In disclosing the actual figure, LG Chem’s other customers might start trying to negotiate favorable pricing as well, since other customers were reportedly paying over $100/kWh more than General Motors.
Energy storage may be an emerging technology, but that doesn’t necessarily mean banks and investors are scared of it.
“When you go to the banks, they say, ‘We can get comfortable with the technology,’” John Zahurancik, president of Arlington, Virginia-based AES Energy Storage LLC, said in an interview Tuesday at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit in New York. “Nobody wants to be at the back of the bus.”
Banks are looking for long-term assurance that the systems will bring in money, especially long-term contracts. “The revenue certainty is the question,” Zahurancik said. “When there’s more to do, you’ll see financing coming.”
In 1882, Thomas Edison built the Pearl Street Station, the world’s first steam powered electrical distribution plant. In the years that followed, intense competition broke out between he and George Westinghouse, which became known as the War of the Currents, and the technology improved markedly in the coming decades.
As Robert Gordon pointed out in The Rise and Fall of American Growth, by 1940 life had been fully transformed. Even middle class homes had most of the modern conveniences we enjoy today, including refrigerators, air conditioners, telephones and radios. Soon, they would have TV’s as well.
The practice of energy storage—stashing energy away in storage facilities for later use—is still fairly obscure, despite the industry’s recent growth spurt. Last year, the U.S. energy-storage market surged by 243 percent and is expected to become a $2.5 billion industry by 2020, according to the 2015 U.S. Energy Storage Monitor.
Great news for the industry, but how do you get people to notice that impressive feat?
Every so often an item appears in Blowout Week that’s worthy of further discussion, and Blowout Week 118 has one. It’s the article on ARES – Advanced Rail Energy Storage – a simple combination of three proven technologies – railroads, potential energy release and regenerative braking – which reportedly has a number of advantages over its numerous energy storage competitors: