Lithium Ignites Energy Storage Profits

on December 31, 2016

energy-and-capitalIt’s really no wonder lithium is compared to oil so much these days; they’re both absolutely essential to the way our world works.

Crude oil is a major component of… well, basically everything in one way or another.

It’s the ingredient necessary to keep our electronics running, in addition to supporting a number of other industries as well.

Of course, we can’t forget that lithium is setting itself up to be a major player in fueling our transportation. Personal cars, buses, and even delivery trucks are going all electric nowadays.

And depending upon where you live, lithium could already be powering your home, too.

Is there even a question that utility-scale storage is absolutely killing it right now?

It’s actually more popular than home storage systems, much to the chagrin of companies like Tesla. Have you noticed you haven’t heard anything big about the Powerwall lately? It wasn’t a fan favorite.

Of course, that hasn’t deterred Tesla from joining the big boys in the energy storage industry…

Growing Storage

Tesla has recently teamed up with Southern California Edison to build a 30-megawatt storage project in San Diego County.

This one will work alongside AES’s 37.5-megwatt two-facility storage project in the same area.

In fact, California has been commissioning large-scale storage projects like these for years.

These two projects were expedited after a gas leak in late 2015 left Southern California utilities scrambling to keep the power on.

The systems will store energy from nearby solar and wind installations, then distribute the power back onto the grid at peak times.

Not only will this act as coverage in case regular baseload power goes out again, but this setup will make it easier for the state to integrate more renewable infrastructure later down the road.

And this isn’t the only large-scale system Tesla has installed recently, either.

The company’s first large-scale storage system in Europe was installed in the UK earlier this year. The project was paired with a solar PV farm in Somerset and, if successful, will be the first of many such installations across the UK.

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Energy and CapitalLithium Ignites Energy Storage Profits

Greensmith Adds 130 MW in 2016, Forecasts Key Storage Trends Next Year

on December 30, 2016

power magazineEMERYVILLE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Greensmith Energy, the leader in energy storage software and integration, announced 130 megawatts of new energy storage systems in 2016, all powered by the company’s industry-leading software platform, GEMS5. The multi-project year includes the design and delivery of the largest energy storage system in the world deployed in Pomona, California providing 20MW/80MWh capacity.

“There’s no question 2016 was another record-setting year for Greensmith and the energy storage industry as a whole, particularly from a grid-scale perspective”

“There’s no question 2016 was another record-setting year for Greensmith and the energy storage industry as a whole, particularly from a grid-scale perspective,” said John Jung, President & CEO of Greensmith Energy. “As the industry begins to grow and expand, Greensmith has seen rapid transition from test systems and pilots to bankability and ROI over the past eight years. As perhaps the largest provider of energy storage software and turn-key systems to some of the largest power companies in the world, coupled with tier one battery and PCS vendor relationships globally – Greensmith enjoys a holistic view of the entire market.”

With this perspective, Greensmith offers seven predictions for 2017:

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Power MagazineGreensmith Adds 130 MW in 2016, Forecasts Key Storage Trends Next Year

Lazard analysis shows continued cost declines for solar energy, energy storage

on December 30, 2016

Solar Server energy storageLazard Ltd. (New York) has released its annual in-depth studies comparing the costs of energy from various generation technologies and of energy storage technologies for different applications.

The company’s latest annual Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 10.0) shows a continued decline in the cost of generating electricity from solar technology, with lesser cost declines in other forms of renewable energy.

Utility-scale PV cost declined by 11%; residential PV down about 26%

According to Lazard, the cost of generating energy from solar photovoltaic (PV) technology continues to decline: The median levelized cost of energy from utility-scale PV technologies is down approximately 11% from last year, and rooftop residential PV technology is down about 26%, although the latter is still not cost competitive without significant subsidies and other policy support.

In addition, Lazard’s latest annual Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis (LCOS 2.0) shows cost declines in most battery storage technologies, but with wide variations depending on the type of application and battery technology.

 “Our studies continue to demonstrate that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions in energy generation or storage,” said George Bilicic, Vice Chairman and Global Head of Lazard’s Power, Energy & Infrastructure Group.

“The demands of a developed economy will continue to require both traditional and alternative energy sources as the technologies driving renewable energy evolve.”

“The economic viability of commercial energy storage systems varies widely by application and on a regional basis,” said Jonathan Mir, Head of Lazard’s North American Power Group.

“As manufacturers and customers identify optimal technologies for different use cases, we expect further innovation and a continued drop in costs, which will help drive increased use of renewables.”

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Solar ServerLazard analysis shows continued cost declines for solar energy, energy storage

With big gains in the Q3, energy storage market set to finish strong in 2016

on December 30, 2016

energy storage utility driveCorporate investment in energy storage nearly hit $660 million in the third quarter, a five-fold increase from third quarter 2015, according to the latest U.S. Energy Storage Monitor from GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association.

The all-time high mark in investments is an indication that more and more companies are entering the energy storage space. “More players are coming into the sector, and there more are on the horizon,” Matt Roberts, executive director of the Energy Storage Association, said. 

In the first three quarter of the year, there was a total of $812 million of corporate investment in energy storage, according to the report. That far outstrips the $416 million for all of 2015. To date, the 2016 total includes $167 million of venture capital funding and $645 million in project financing.

The increase represents a 20% year-over-year rise and reflects a maturing of the industry as it evolves away from early stage venture capital funding, Roberts said. “It shows that there are more viable places to put projects.”

Storage companies such as Stem and Advanced Microgrid Solutions have been ramping up their project finance capabilities. In August, Stem secured $100 million in financing from Starwood Energy Group Global. CEO John Carrington said he plans to use the funds to support project finance deals. In a project finance structure, each project is set up as a special purpose entity that is solely responsible for repaying loans without recourse to the corporate parent, usually the development company.

In July, Advanced Microgrid Solutions signed a deal with Macquarie Capital for the capital to jointly develop and construct a $200 million fleet of the energy storage projects. CEO Susan Kennedy describes AMS as a development company that tailors solutions for customers more than a storage company that installs batteries.

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Utility DiveWith big gains in the Q3, energy storage market set to finish strong in 2016

Plug-and-play radiator integrates a battery to help lower electric bills

on December 29, 2016

treehuggerThe Lancey electric space heater allows users to charge its battery during off-peak hours and use the electricity for heating during peak demand periods.

A French startup is approaching home energy storage from a bit different of an angle, and instead of merely functioning as a home battery, its product doubles as a radiator that is said to be able to help reduce heating costs by as much as 50%.

The radiator from Lancey Energy Storage is described as a plug-and-play space heater, which means that even though it integrates a lithium battery and can allow users to charge it during times of cheaper electricity, and then use that electricity when grid prices are higher, no additional wiring is necessary to install it, and it can cost up to 75% less than installing a gas heater. And since heating can account for a significant percentage of home energy use (according to Lancey CEO Raphaël Meyer, up to 67% in Europe, whereas the US puts it at about 42% in the United States, and the IEA says that almost 80% of energy demand in the buildings sector is from heating), this represents a great opportunity for both homeowners and rental property owners alike to reduce both their costs and their environmental impact.

The Lancey heater, which is said to cost about €1000 when available next year, is a ‘smart’ device controllable via smartphone, but it can also be considered as a part of a distributed energy storage system, which can help both residents and landlords save money, and potentially reduce the use of ‘peaker plants’ by utilities. The radiator is said to include a range of smart technologies, such as its infrared heating system and sensors for detecting open windows or occupants in the room, as well as a ‘learning algorithm’ and the ability for users to monitor their overall electric consumption.

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TreehuggerPlug-and-play radiator integrates a battery to help lower electric bills

Massachusetts Dept of Energy Resources to set energy storage targets

on December 29, 2016

Windpower-Engineering-&-DevelopmentThe Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) recently announced it is prudent for the Commonwealth to adopt an energy storage target for electric companies to procure viable and cost-effective energy storage systems to be achieved by January 1, 2020. The next step in the process is for DOER to adopt energy storage systems targets by July 1, 2017. To assist DOER in determining “the appropriate target scale, structure and mechanisms for the energy storage systems targets,” DOER has requested stakeholder input by January 27, 2017.

As background, in August 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law An Act Relative to Energy Diversity, Chapter 188 of the Acts of 2016. The Act directed DOER to use a two-step process in its evaluation of storage procurement targets. First, DOER was to determine whether to establish energy storage procurement targets that electric companies must adhere to by January 1, 2020. Further, if DOER deemed that it would it be prudent to establish energy storage procurement targets, then the legislation directed the DOER to adopt such targets by July 1, 2017.

Accordingly, the process to establish energy storage procurement targets has now commenced. The legal standards and policy considerations within which DOER must render its decision are complex, especially given other mandates for utilities within the Commonwealth.

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Windpower EngineeringMassachusetts Dept of Energy Resources to set energy storage targets

ISO New England files interconnect for 16 MW energy storage project in Maine

on December 29, 2016

Electric-Light-and-PowerISO New England and interconnecting transmission owner Central Maine Power on Dec. 19 filed with FERC an executed non-conforming Standard Small Generator Interconnection Agreement with FPL Energy Wyman for a 16 MW battery project at an existing power plant site in Maine.

The existing generating facilities where this project site is located make up the Wyman Station, which is a fossil generating facility comprised of Units 1, 2 and 3 in Yarmouth, Maine, and FPL Wyman IV’s William F. Wyman No. 4, a fossil generating facility also located there.

This new facility is a battery energy storage project comprised of eight bi-directional inverter-based generating units each rated at 2.39 MVA, totaling 16.7 MW gross and 16.2 MW net for Summer and Winter. While this new project is separate from and does not include the fossil units at the site, it will be interconnecting to CMP’s existing William F. Wyman Station 115-kV switchyard.

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Electric Light and PowerISO New England files interconnect for 16 MW energy storage project in Maine

Energy Storage Project Approved For Meagher County

on December 28, 2016

montana-public-radioFederal regulators today approved a billion dollar energy storage project in Meagher County. The 400-megawatt pumped storage project would supplement electricity from wind turbines and other sources.

The 50-year license issued today is a big step forward says, Carl Borgquist, President and CEO of Absaroka Energy:

“Now we will go out and start actively and aggressively marketing the capabilities and capacity of this facility to the utilities and that will be the last milestone before we can arrange financing and start building the thing.”

The Gordon Butte Pumped Storage Project would use excess power produced by wind farms or other sources to pump water uphill to a 3,000-foot long reservoir.

During times of peak consumer electricity demand or when the wind is not blowing, the water would be released to turn hydropower turbines and keep electricity flowing.

Construction is expected to begin no earlier than 2018.

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Montana Public RadioEnergy Storage Project Approved For Meagher County

Panasonic to Invest $256 Million in Tesla’s Solar Cell Factory in NY

on December 28, 2016

energy storage greentech mediaPanasonic Corp (6752.T) will invest more than 30 billion yen ($256 million) in a New York production facility of Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors (TSLA.O) to make photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, deepening a partnership of the two companies.

Tesla’s shares were up 3.5 percent at $220.75 in early trading on Tuesday.

Japan’s Panasonic, which has been retreating from low-margin consumer electronics to focus more on automotive components and other businesses targeting corporate clients, will make the investment in Tesla’s factory in Buffalo, New York.

The U.S. electric car maker is making a long-term purchase commitment from Panasonic as part of the deal, besides providing factory buildings and infrastructure.

Bloomberg: Yamanashi Vies for Energy Storage Investment

A patch of land in the shadow of Mount Fuji is becoming a testing ground for energy storage, with some of Japan’s leading companies trying to develop technologies such as spinning flywheels and fuel cells.

The Yamanashi Prefectural Government is hoping that by attracting companies such as Panasonic Corp. and Toray Industries Inc. it can become a kind of Silicon Valley for energy storage development.

As part of a project in the city of Kofu, the prefecture has built a 1-megawatt solar power station that is being made available to developers of storage devices who want to run tests under closed conditions, according to Masaki Sakamoto, an official in charge of the project.

“It’s not easy to find a large-scale solar power station available for pilot projects,” Sakamoto said. “The best scenario would be that advanced research being conducted here leads to more collaboration between major and local companies and the creation of supply chains.”

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GreenTech MediaPanasonic to Invest $256 Million in Tesla’s Solar Cell Factory in NY

2016: A ‘transitional year for storage,’ industry set to break records

on December 28, 2016

energy storage utility driveFollowing on the heels of record breaking year, energy storage in 2016 is on track to break through last year’s record.

The year-over-year increase will likely not be as dramatic as 2015’s 243% increase over 2014, but several developments in 2016 show that the storage market is developing in ways that could clear a path for accelerated growth in future years.

In its third quarter, the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association said they expect the U.S. energy storage market to grow to 260 MW in 2016, up from 226 MW in 2015.

Analysts, however, say that it is not just the size and number of the installations in 2016 that is notable, but the quality and specific characteristics of those installations.

2016 has been a “transition year” for U.S. energy storage, said Brett Simon, energy storage analyst with GTM Research. And Alex Eller, energy storage analyst with Navigant Research, said “2016 has seen a much more diverse energy storage market, both in terms of the types of systems (market segments) being deployed and the business models.” While utility scale installations dominated the market in previous years, Eller said 2016 has seen more progress at all market levels. He pointed to contracts for demand response capacity and utility ownership programs as key drivers in that transition.

In June, for instance, Consolidated Edison, along with SunPower and Sunverge, announced a $15 million pilot program for a virtual power plant.

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Utility Dive2016: A ‘transitional year for storage,’ industry set to break records