With prices dropping rapidly for both renewables and battery storage, the economics of decarbonizing the grid are changing faster than most policymakers, journalists, and others realize. So, as part of myongoing series, “Almost Everything You Know About Climate Change Solutions Is Outdated,” I will highlight individual case studies of this real-time revolution.
My Monday post discussed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) report that in the first quarter, the U.S. grid added 18 megawatts of new natural gas generating capacity, but 1,291 MW of new renewables. But one of FERC’s “Electric Generation Highlights” for March deserves special attention as a leading indicator of the revolutionary new economics of solar plus storage:
Everyone is talking about Lithium Ion. But while everyone was TALKING, a company called Sinetech was already designing and building one of the first and most cost-effective lithium solutions available in South Africa: The PowerBank. The PowerBank is the latest addition to the well-known Omnipower brand by Sinetech. This Lithium Ion energy storage solution was first launched at The Solar Show Africa 2016, held at the Sandton Convention Center in March.
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When it comes to grabbing headlines with visions of the future, few can beat entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk. He’s behind SpaceX, the rocket company that he sees as a vehicle to his dream of colonising Mars.
Better known, perhaps, are his Tesla electric cars, an increasingly common sight in the US and here in the UK.
Exergonix just acquired “substantially all of the assets of Coda Energy,” a twice-bankrupt California manufacturer of energy storage systems. Exergonix will assume management and operation of all of the already-installed Coda systems operating at customer sites in California, according to a release.
Exergonix, founded in 2010, claims to have “reliably delivered energy projects geared for commercial- or utility-scale applications and has participated in strategic partnerships to win utility grid-level projects.” Peter Nortman, Coda’s founder and CTO, “will join the management team at Exergonix and will help transition all existing [Self-Generation Incentive Program projects] to Exergonix.”
In late 2014, a virtually unknown company called Alevo announced it was entering the energy storage market with a new inorganic, sulfur-based lithium ion battery technology that it had acquired from the bankrupt German company fortu PowerCell. Alevo entered the U.S. with a big splash, investing over $68 million in the 3.5 million-square-foot former Philip Morris tobacco factory in Victory, North Carolina, outside Charlotte. It also announced that it would hire up to 2,500 workers over three years, with a potential maximum workforce of 6,000 capable of turning out thousands of megawatts of electricity storage products annually. In other words, Tesla would not be the only storage company with a gigafactory.
The UK electrical energy storage market is not yet as advanced as global leaders such as the US, China, Japan, South Korea, and Germany. However, as with these other countries, the UK is primarily looking to lithium-ion battery technology to be the forerunner of battery energy storage. The UK has around 30 operational battery energy storage projects, many of which are demonstration projects, with only a handful of operational projects larger than 1 megawatt (MW) in size.
MUNICH–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ees Europe, Europe’s largest exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems, sends a positive signal to the market: The exhibition space was already booked up by 200 exhibitors two months before the start of the exhibition– a sure sign of the development in the worldwide energy storage market which is driving the global energy revolution. ees Europe will be held once again in Munich from 22 to 24 June 2016 together with Intersolar Europe the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry and its partners. Visitors can expect over 1,000 exhibitors all together at both events, 380 of which will be showing innovative products, services and solutions for energy storage systems.
Combining solar panels with batteries to keep electricity flowing when the sun isn’t shining has long been the target for companies dabbling in the emerging technologies of the power grid.
This year is seeing more development in that space than ever before, thanks to falling battery and solar prices, the marketing prowess of super-entrepreneur Elon Musk, and national and international clean-energy and climate-change policies.
Tucson Electric Power (TEP), a utility in Southern Arizona with around 420,000 customers, has received approval to build two 10MW energy storage systems, including one co-located with solar, from the state’s regulator.
Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) approved the projects on Wednesday, for which TEP had issued a request for proposals (RfP) to lease last summer. TEP reached long-term agreements with E.On Climate & Renewables, an arm of the European utility which last year split off from its parent to work on clean, sustainable technologies and innovation, and NextEra Energy Resources, a wholesale electricity supplier and itself a subsidiary of a utility, US-headquartered NextEra Energy.