A Big Year For Big Battery Storage Projects

on January 31, 2017

Energy Matters AURecently completed big battery projects in various parts of the world offer a taste of what’s to come in 2017 for large-scale energy storage.

Last Friday, AltaGas Ltd. officially opened the Pomona Energy Storage Facility, situated in the East Los Angeles Basin of Southern California. At 20 megawatts of electricity storage capacity, AltaGas Ltd. says it is currently the largest battery storage facility in operation in North America.

AltaGas will be able to provide Southern California Edison (SCE) with the 20 MW of  capacity for a continuous four hour period as required. This represents the equivalent of 80 MWh of energy discharging capacity; which it says is enough to provide the electricity needs of approximately 15,000 homes over the four-hour period.

“Providing energy from electricity stored in lithium-ion batteries provides clean reliable energy that complements California’s renewable energy portfolio while adding to the versatility of our asset base which is well situated for pursuing other energy storage developments,” said David Harris, President and CEO of AltaGas.

While the company says the project is the largest in North America, it may be a title it needs to share. Early last week, Electrek reported Tesla and Southern California Edison have completed a 20 MW/80 MWh energy storage facility at SCE’s Mira Loma substation; which uses the new Tesla Powerpack 2 .

Like the new Powerwall 2, the Tesla Powerpack 2 commercial energy storage solution features twice the energy storage capacity of its predecessor and also has new inverter; designed and manufactured by Tesla.

Elsewhere, Greentech Media reports India has launched its first grid-scale battery storage system, a 10-megawatt Advancion energy storage array designed for peak load management.

In related news, India’s first grid-scale solar energy plus storage tender reportedly attracted strong interest, with 13 developers submitting bids. The tender was for 5MW battery storage systems to be integrated into two separate solar energy projects of 50MW each at Kadapa Solar Park.

Over in Germany, the stage is also set for a very busy 2017. A recent study forecasts there will be a threefold increase in large battery projects this year, from around 60 megawatts last year to 200 megawatts this year.

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Energy Matters AUA Big Year For Big Battery Storage Projects

Remote Communities Stop Burning Their Midnight Oil with Large Scale Energy Storage

on January 31, 2017

energy storageUntil recently, the world’s most remote off-grid communities have relied on traditional diesel generators to supply their electricity needs. This has created significant cost and reliability issues. Sometimes, it can cost more to transport the fuel to the site than it actually cost to purchase in the first place. Should adverse weather disrupt travel then there is a risk of running out of fuel. Furthermore, the gensets need regular expensive maintenance.

For these reasons a growing number of communities are now turning to solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind turbines. And in many cases, they are adopting microgrid solutions in which the diesel generation and renewable plant complement each other. The aim is always to ensure the reliability and autonomy of the electricity supply and to optimize operating costs.

This is where a large scale lithium-ion (Li-ion) energy storage system (ESS) can play a vital role in mitigating the variable and unpredictable nature of wind and solar plants. The ESS can perform a number of roles, including control of ramp rates, power smoothing, power shaping, peak shaving and frequency regulation.

It is useful to consider the situation at a typical remote site. Using standard power electronics a PV installation might contribute up to 20 to 30 percent of the power that would be generated by the diesel genset during daytime hours. If we add dedicated software then the PV penetration could increase to 50 percent. For example, a 1-MW microgrid might accept up to 300 kW, but this could be raised up to 500 kW of PV in the best case. Since the PV output is limited to sunlight hours, highly variable and does not necessarily meet the required consumption profiles, its contribution to the overall energy mix is naturally limited.

However, when an ESS is introduced, it is possible to maximize the contribution of renewables, increasing the penetration and harvesting all of the PV power. Fuel savings of 50 to 75 percent then become a realistic possibility.

Three recent examples show how energy storage is now making an important contribution for some very remote communities.

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Renewable Energy WorldRemote Communities Stop Burning Their Midnight Oil with Large Scale Energy Storage

Recycle vs Reuse: Why EV batteries may not often get a second-life as stationary storage systems

on January 31, 2017

Energy Storage NewsFollowing years of hype and underwhelming products, the plug-in vehicle market had a breakout year in 2016. Not only do consumers now have the option to buy an electric vehicle with more than 200 miles of range and pay less than US$40,000, but the year was littered with announcements of automotive OEMs committing serious resources to building their own electric vehicles – and not just compliance cars. Cost reduction in Li-ion batteries has enabled this revolution, as have better performing batteries optimised specifically for electric vehicles. Increasing Li-ion demand will help to continue to lower energy storage costs, but also bring up an important issue: what should be done with the batteries after they are used in vehicles?

Historically batteries are recycled, and the lead-acid battery remains one of the most recycled products humans produce, but the high cost of processing most Li-ion chemistries makes this process unprofitable. This has fostered interest in reusing batteries for other applications, mostly for stationary energy storage applications, which would delay but not eliminate the need for battery recycling. On the surface this seem like an excellent opportunity to recapture value that would otherwise be wasted in Li-ion recycling batteries. While this is true in some applications, there are several reasons why reusing EV batteries is not ideal for most stationary energy storage applications.

Complexities of second-life use

Reusing Li-ion batteries in second-life applications is not as simple as removing a battery from a vehicle then installing it directly into a stationary system. Before a battery can be reused, it first must be manually removed from a vehicle and the pack disassembled into individual cells. The cells must then be tested to determine the battery’s state of health, sending batteries without sufficient remaining capacity to be recycled. Even within the batteries suitable for reuse, cells must be sorted by similar remaining capacity, or else the second-life system performance would suffer. These are labor and energy intensive processes, but efforts in both academia and industry are underway to reduce costs. Introducing automation in the process will reduce time and labor costs, as will convincing battery manufacturers to use clearer labels and design for disassembly.

Even with better processing techniques there are some limitations to our current understanding of the second-life battery opportunity. As the first mass-market electric vehicle was released about six years ago, and few vehicles have reached the end of their life, there isn’t a clear indication of how much remaining capacity can be expected from these batteries after typical use. There will be further variation among the different chemistries being used in the Li-ion batteries: the nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA) batteries preferred by Tesla are unsuitable for most stationary applications, even when new, due to poor cycling characteristics. Other chemistries such as lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) preferred by other manufacturers in batteries made by LG Chem, Samsung SDI and BYD are better suited for second-life applications.

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Energy Storage NewsRecycle vs Reuse: Why EV batteries may not often get a second-life as stationary storage systems

US administration: Energy storage and other grid investments vital to security and resilience

on January 30, 2017

Energy Storage NewsEnergy storage should be properly valued and supported at federal level in the United States, according to a government document analysing and evaluating energy policy released by officials of the outgoing Obama administration.

The Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), a directive ordered by the president in 2014, is on its second instalment, with the first instalment published in April 2015. Although the name implies it be published once every four years, the review’s task force’s work is ongoing and therefore published in these instalments. The documents are designed to inform policymakers and will therefore undoubtedly be on reading lists for President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration.

While the April 2015 instalment, titled “Energy, transmission, storage and distribution infrastructure” looked at pipelines, wires and other aspects of the whole energy network in the context of how it could be modernised “to promote economic competitiveness, energy security and environmental responsibility”, the latest instalment looks at these three key areas within the confines of the electricity sector. Titled “Transforming the nation’s electricity system”, the report projects out to 2040 and makes more than 70 recommendations that it says “must be implemented to optimise and modernise the electricity sector”.

Looking at electricity from generation to end use, the report lauds progress made in certain areas, such as the rapid growth of environmental technologies as an industry in the US, quoting that 1.6 million people are employed in this sector, raising revenues of US$320 billion and exports worth US$51 billion, according to 2015 figures. It also highlights that in the US, air pollution has fallen even as electricity generation has grown between 1970 and 2014.

Among other key findings, it also recognises the growing need for system flexibility as more variable generation from renewables is added to the grid, which is transitioning from controllable generation and variable load to variable generation. This requires better controllable load, the report states, and cites energy storage, along with fast ramping natural gas generation and demand response as among a “number of flexibility options”.

From an economic and industrial standpoint, the report finds that the proliferation and combination of distributed generation such as solar PV, smart home devices and electric battery storage is leading to new business opportunities, which it says will “require a wide array of skills”.

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Energy Storage NewsUS administration: Energy storage and other grid investments vital to security and resilience

Texas added energy jobs in November for first time in two years

on January 30, 2017

Texas added energy jobs in November for the first time since Dec. 2014, when employment peaked during the oil boom and quickly fell as oil prices plunged.

Overall, Texas’ oil and gas industry has entered a recovery, as rig counts, oil prices and drilling permits rise, said Karr Ingham, an economist who compiles the Texas Petro Index, a mix of numbers that measure the health of Texas energy economy.

But while the state of energy industry is  improving, Ingham said, the recovery is likely to be long and slow. While the the November job gains are auspicious, they don’t begin to offset the tens of thousands of jobs lost during the downturn.

“Essentially, all we’ve done is stop bleeding at this point,” Ingham said .”But at least we aren’t continuing to bleed.”

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FuelFixTexas added energy jobs in November for first time in two years

New EU Energy Strategy To Create Up To 900,000 Jobs

on January 28, 2017

oilpriceOn 30 November 2016, the European Commission officially released its “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, also known as “Winter Package” i.e., moving the EU to meet its climate change target with numerous legislative proposals to reform the EU energy market. This legislation will have an important impact on the electricity market and the development of renewable-energy going forward.

The European Commission wants the EU to be ahead on the global clean energy transition. For this reason the EU has committed to cut C02 emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030, while modernizing the EU’s economy, delivering jobs and growth for all European citizens. The legislative proposals include a new target for energy efficiency, achieving global leadership in renewable energies and proving a fair deal for consumers.

The Winter Package proposes an increase in the share of renewables in the energy generation mix to 27 percent, with half of this target being met via renewable electricity generation. With regards to energy efficiency, the European Commission proposed a target of a 30 percent increase by 2030 – a target slightly higher than the minimum 27 percent target which had been set by Member States in 2014. The Winter Package marks the beginning of a new energy revolution in Europe, recognizing that the region’s energy challenges have evolved over the last decades.


Since BREXIT, EU executives are seeking to highlight the advantages of being part of a unified bloc, with one of the executive priority being consumer right, pending to lower energy prices, reducing energy bills and removing barriers for generators to sell their renewable electricity and feed the grid.

For the time being, the EU executives have some work to do in order to show how the wholesale power market has dropped since the global financial crisis and the invoices of the end-user continue to increase around 3 percent year-on-year.

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OilPriceNew EU Energy Strategy To Create Up To 900,000 Jobs

Texas Electric Cooperatives to showcase state-of-the-art energy storage system at its Master Distribution Center

on January 27, 2017

yahoo financeAUSTIN, Texas and SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Texas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (TEC), an association representing some of the largest electricity cooperatives in the United States, today announced a partnership with cleantech leader Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) to offer AMS services to its member cooperatives, and host an advanced energy storage system installed and operated by AMS at its Master Distribution Center in Georgetown, Texas.  

This partnership will allow TEC to offer its 75 member cooperatives preferred pricing for advanced energy storage systems and AMS services.  The system that TEC will install at its own 160,000 square foot Master Distribution Center will reduce TEC’s peak energy demand, while providing support to the electric grid.  It will also provide training and educational opportunities for all of TEC’s member cooperative electric utilities.  The project effectively demonstrates how utilities can use advanced energy storage to maximize efficiencies, reduce costs and enhance the reliability and security of their electric grids.

“Battery storage represents the next step in optimizing our use of renewable energy,” said Johnny Andrews, Chief Operating Officer, TEC Manufacturing & Distribution Services.  “We are excited to provide this technology to our members and to showcase how battery storage can maximize the efficiency of their electric grid. TEC is constantly looking for new and better technological solutions to support our members in their delivery of electricity.”

Under the agreement, AMS will design, install and operate a 200 kWh advanced energy storage system at TEC’s Georgetown Master Distribution Center, which supports electrical cooperatives across Texas and serves as TEC’s classroom training facility.

“We are excited to be working with Texas Electric Cooperatives,” said Susan Kennedy, AMS’s Chief Executive Officer.  “TEC is a national leader in the cooperative electricity business, and this project will not just contribute to grid modernization and resiliency for its member agencies in Texas; it will serve as a tremendous learning opportunity for cooperatives serving rural areas across the U.S.”

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Yahoo FinanceTexas Electric Cooperatives to showcase state-of-the-art energy storage system at its Master Distribution Center

Tesla’s Set to Launch the World’s Largest Energy Storage Project

on January 27, 2017

FuturismLast year, Tesla announced that it was working with Southern California Edison (SCE) to create the largest lithium-ion battery in the world. This project will install 20 MW (80 MWh) Powerpack systems at the Mira Loma substation to provide grid-scale power in response to possible power shortages. Tesla announced that they were looking to deliver these systems to the substation by the end of 2016.

Now, Electrek reports that not only is the project up and running, but the company was actually able to meet the ambitious deadline they set, with the substation having been completed in late December of 2016. According to Electrek:

“While Tesla and SCE haven’t officially launched the new substation yet, sources familiar with the new Powerpack installation told Electrek that it was completed a few weeks back – late December – and brought online so that the electric utility can start using it to manage peak demand.”

The substation is equipped with 400 units of the Tesla Powerpack 2, each capable of providing 210 kWh of energy —over double the capacity of the first generation Powerpack.


Given its total capacity, the substation can hold enough energy to power 2,500 homes for a full day. However, it will be used to support SCE’s existing power sources instead so that it can service a bigger number of households. By storing electricity outside of peak hours, the substation can help deliver electricity even when demand is high and reduce reliance on natural gas peaker plants.

There are other projects currently in the works that could rival the scale of this initiative, but the Tesla-SCE energy storage project is the only one that’s already in operation. This is also the first large-scale utility application of Tesla’s Powerpacks. And should it prove to be successful, it could pave the way for traditional peaker plants to be replaced by battery-powered, energy storage stations.

This project alone marks a shift among current power suppliers who want to focus on finding cleaner and more reliable sources of energy. And following its merger with Solar City, Tesla is in a key position to continue work on various large-scale solar and energy projects.

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FuturismTesla’s Set to Launch the World’s Largest Energy Storage Project

Storage Can Earn Cost- and Market-Based Rates, FERC Says

on January 27, 2017

WASHINGTON — Energy storage facilities should be permitted to provide multiple services and earn both cost- and market-based revenue streams, FERC said last week in a policy statement clarifying its prior rulings on the issue.

“Enabling electric storage resources to provide multiple services (including both cost-based and market-based services) ensures that the full capabilities of these resources can be realized, thereby maximizing their efficiency and value for the system and to consumers,” the commission said in the statement, which was approved on a 2-1 vote (PL17-2).

The commission said that storage resources, which can switch from providing one service to another almost instantaneously, may not be cost competitive without multiple revenue streams.

Chairman Norman Bay and Commissioner Colette Honorable said their position is supported by most of those who testified at the commission’s technical conference Nov. 9 or provided comments afterward. “Commenters believe that the key question is not whether to allow multiple-use applications for electric storage resources but how to allow and enable such applications,” they said. (See FERC Panelists Debate Storage Uses, Compensation.)

Bay and Honorable said the statement was needed to address “potential confusion” over FERC precedent in two previous rulings.

Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur dissented. LaFleur wrote that she agreed that the “commission should be flexible and open to proposals that go beyond the model contemplated” in the prior orders but said the issue should have been considered as part of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking the commission issued Nov. 14. (See FERC Rule Would Boost Energy Storage, DER.)

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RTO InsiderStorage Can Earn Cost- and Market-Based Rates, FERC Says

New funding unveiled for energy storage and other smart technologies

on January 26, 2017

solar-power-portalThe government has released plans to spend £28 million on reducing the cost of energy storage, advancing demand side response technologies and improving energy efficiency measures for UK industry.

After putting storage and energy efficiency at the centre of new efforts to reduce the cost of decarbonisation, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has today unveiled the new funding across a range of initiatives.

Under the new investment announced by Nick Hurd, minister of state for climate change and industry, up to £9 million will be spent on a competition to reduce the cost of energy storage, including electricity, thermal, and power-to-gas storage. This will include a further £600,000 for feasibilities studies of potential large-scale future storage demonstrators.

Applicants will be able to apply to two tranches under the energy storage cost reduction competition in March and June, while registration for the energy storage feasibility study competition is be required by 27 April.

Hurd said: “Innovation in energy will play an important role to shape our low carbon future to rebuild an outdated energy system. That’s why we’ve increased our financial support, helping to create jobs and opportunities for people across the UK.”

BEIS failed to include any support for mature renewable energy technologies in its industrial strategy, instead opting for offshore wind. This has continued in today’s funding announcements, with £1.3 million to be invested in an Offshore Wind Innovation Hub.

Up to £7.6 million will also be available for demonstrator projects intended to advance energy demand side response technologies, with 9.2 million to be spent on an industrial energy efficiency accelerator.

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Solar Power PortalNew funding unveiled for energy storage and other smart technologies