Energy Storage, Less Widespread Renewables Provide Four Percent of U.S. Capacity

on May 26, 2017

power engineeringThe U.S. Energy Information Administration has estimated energy storage and renewable fuels other than hydro, wind and solar together provide four percent of electric capacity in the United States.

As of the end of last year, 195 utility-scale geothermal units were in operation, totaling 3.7 GW. The largest cluster of these are the Geysers complex in Northern California, which has a capacity of 943 MW.

Wood and wood waste biomass makes up the largest share of biomass at 10.2 GW of capacity. Municipal solid waste, landfill gas and other waste biomass have capacities of 2.2 GW, 2.12 GW and 0.8 GW respectively.

California leads the nation in hydroelectric pumped storage, geothermal, landfill gas and battery capacity, while Florida leads in municipal solid waste. Virginia’s Bath County is the site of a 3 GW hydreoelectric pumped storage plant, which is the largest in the nation. All geothermal capacity is located in seven states in the western United States, while landfill gas and wood waste generators are in 44 states and 32 states respectively.

Nearly all currently operating batteries and flywheels were added after 2010. Battery storage now totals 540 MW, with half located in California, Illinois and West Virginia. Nearly all of the nation’s 44 MW of flywheel storage are located in New York and Pennsylvania. 

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PowerEngineeringEnergy Storage, Less Widespread Renewables Provide Four Percent of U.S. Capacity

Arizona utility claims ‘historically low price’ for solar-plus-storage project’s power

on May 26, 2017

Energy Storage NewsArizona utility Tucson Electric Power (TEP) claims that the cost-effectiveness of a new large-scale solar-plus-storage facility under construction will allow it to provide “more solar energy to more customers for less money”.

TEP said that a 100MW solar PV array coupled with a 30MW/120MWh energy storage system will be completed and connected by the end of 2019. The utility said output from the solar farm would be purchased at a “historically low price”.  An affiliate of NextEra Energy, which only last month said it will build another 10MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system in Arizona for utility Salt River Project, will construct the system.  

According to TEP, the utility will be able to source renewable power for less than three cents per kilowatt-hour from the combined installation for a 20-year period. However, the utility said that the price, which was the only figure quoted in its announcement of the project, excluded the cost of the energy storage system. Nonetheless, TEP said that this was less than half the sum agreed under “similar contracts” in the past few years.

“This new local system combines cost-effective energy production with cutting edge energy storage, helping us provide sustainable, reliable and affordable service to all of our customers for decades to come,” TEP senior director for renewable energy and energy supply Carmine Tilghman said.    

Announcement feeds into state-wide debate over cost of rooftop solar

While the project announcement appears to be exciting news for Arizona, following on the heels of news of three much smaller utility-scale energy storage systems by TEP, it has a slightly more, potentially, controversial side to it.

Currently there is a dispute over the cost of and compensation for rooftop solar power ongoing in the state. TEP itself has proposed a new rates structure for rooftop solar customers that would cut solar credits and instate time-of-use (ToU) rates earlier this month.

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Energy Storage NewsArizona utility claims ‘historically low price’ for solar-plus-storage project’s power

EES Forum: Latest trends in energy storage and management

on May 25, 2017

From energy storage systems for private homes and commercial applications to energy management and smart systems integration to e-mobility and large-scale storage systems: ees Europe, the continent’s largest and most visited exhibition for batteries and energy storage systems, will be presenting the latest trends and technologies in the industry in cooperation with the International Battery and Energy Storage Alliance (IBESA) from 31 May–2 June.

The exhibition is taking place in parallel with Intersolar Europe, the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry and its partners. The ees Forum is dedicated entirely to the most important markets and practical experiences in the production, sales, installation and application of batteries and energy storage systems, and features presentations and discussions from specialists and experts from all over the world.

Innovative storage solutions are driving the energy transition forward. As power from fluctuating energy sources is not available at all times of day or during all seasons, energy has to be stored and released again when necessary. Storage systems are therefore the ideal companion for photovoltaic (PV) installations. This combination makes a significant contribution to ensuring a stable and safe future energy supply with renewable power.

At the ees Forum (hall B1, booth B1.151), experts, exhibitors and startups will be offering insights into the latest developments in the energy storage industry on all three exhibition days. Right at the start, the market research institute EuPD Research will be reporting on the status quo and the future of the energy storage market in the keynote speech titled Current Trends and Market

Forecasts in the German and Global Energy Storage Market on May 31 at 10:15am. Subsequent presentations will address the legal conditions for the profitability of energy storage systems, installation and operation safety, and quality assurance.

The afternoon of the first day of the forum will focus on the finalists for the ees AWARD, who will be presenting their award-winning, innovative energy storage solutions at the podium starting at 1:00pm.

New technology for lithium-ion batteries, modular, easy-to-manage battery solutions as well as highly scalable mini-grids and new business models along the value-added chain for batteries and energy storage are among the many innovations that will be presented. Following this, the winners of the renowned industry prize will be announced at the Innovation and Application Forum (hall A4, booth A4.530) from 5:00pm.

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Solar Novus TodayEES Forum: Latest trends in energy storage and management

Harnessing the Potential of Energy Storage

on May 25, 2017

power engineeringEnergy storage has been called a “game changer,” a “panacea,” and a “disruptor.” It has garnered widespread interest from electric companies, residential customers, businesses, manufacturers, regulators, and policymakers. Its potential for growth has been described as “astronomical” and “colossal,” and its benefits sometimes touted as incalculable. Indeed, energy storage has the potential to be a true game changer.

It is a very promising technology that, along with other elements of a diverse resource mix, will benefit consumers by allowing greater penetration of renewable energy; creating more dynamic generation, transmission, and distribution systems; and enabling transportation electrification, microgrids, smart grids, smarter cities and communities, and all the visions of the future energy grid.

Energy storage technologies include batteries, flywheels, compressed air, thermal storage, and pumped hydropower. These technologies all provide a way to save previously generated energy and to use it at a later time, which is why energy storage is such a useful and versatile resource for electric companies and their customers.

Although energy storage has been around for decades in one form or another, only recently has it become a viable technology able to provide multiple benefits to customers as well as the energy grid, and energy storage is well on its way to becoming an integral part of our electricity system. While costs are still relatively high for many energy storage devices, costs are rapidly declining for some storage technologies, facilitating their deployment.

Yet, as penetration of energy storage increases, the limitations of existing rules and regulations are becoming increasingly apparent, prompting a review of state and federal policies aimed at reducing regulatory barriers and allowing these technologies to participate in the marketplace on a comparable basis with other resources.

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PowerEngineeringHarnessing the Potential of Energy Storage

Ecotricity announces plans for its first energy storage project

on May 25, 2017

business green energy storageEcotricity will today announce plans to install a 2.5MW battery project at its Stroud HQ, making the green energy specialist the latest high profile company to move into the fast-expanding energy storage market.

The company confirmed it has secured planning approval for a change of use at its Wallbridge building in Stroud and is now working on plans to install a battery storage system at the site capable of matching the output of a large wind turbine.

“We’ve been looking at energy storage for some time now – waiting for the technology to make it possible,” said Ecotricity founder and chief executive, Dale Vince, in a statement. “And we’re excited that we’re now at that point.”

He added that the project should benefit Ecotricity customers and could potentially act as a forerunner for further investments in energy storage technologies.

“Not many people know that, as an energy company, we have to manage the energy our customers use every half an hour – energy storage will better allow us to do that, meaning we can more efficiently supply energy and better manage the green energy we generate,” he explained. “This is a trial project for us – and we’re going to learn a lot about energy storage and how it can help us. And we’re hoping it will be the first of many more energy storage projects to come.”

A spokesman for the company confirmed the project was at a relatively early stage and Ecotricity was currently working to select a battery provider.

He added that the company will be looking at a “number of mechanisms” for generating revenue from the project. The nascent energy storage market allows operators to sell a range of services, including demand response, load balancing for grid operators, and back up capacity through the government’s capacity market.

Ecotricity said the project should also help curb carbon emissions by displacing the diesel generators and gas power stations that are typically used to meet short peaks in demand for power.

The plans are the latest in a series of votes of confidence for the UK’s fledgling energy storage market. For example, last week Italian energy giant Enel announced it had acquired a construction-ready 25MW project in Newcastle that is now plans to invest €20m in delivering, while demand management software specialist Limejump announced it had secured the contract to manage the 6MW Network Storage Facility in Leighton Buzzard.

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Business GreenEcotricity announces plans for its first energy storage project

Energy storage key to reliable solar power systems

on May 24, 2017

The GuardianTo sustain the growth profile of alternative energy systems like solar power, experts have stressed the need for the deployment of effective and quality energy storage systems like batteries.

In an interview with the Founder and Executive Director of Greenicles Solar, Lanre Okanlawon, he said there is a gradual shift from the previously cynical and doubtful stance evident of about three years ago, to a more receptive and positive outlook, stating that public perception is changing.

Okanlawon said: “In 12 months, the Solar Nigeria programme alone installed solar electricity for 170,000 homes across Nigeria. This and many other successful projects carried out by solar power installation companies have positively impacted the market and reduced reliance on the unstable power from PHCN.”

He added that apart from achieving power independence, many customers confirm there has been money savings and elimination of noise from generators by going solar.

However, he said there is an area of concern that seems to be causing dissatisfaction among a small but vocal number of customers. “Because solar panels generate electricity only when exposed to sunlight, they are heavily reliant on an energy storage medium to store the power generated during the day for use at night. This is where batteries become very essential for solar power applications,” he said.

He recalled that there had been much development in battery energy storage for solar power applications globally. Batteries have been found to ease the deployment of solar to both the most advanced societies and the most remote parts of the world.

According to him, a typical solar power system consists of solar panels, a charge controller, inverter, circuit breakers and a bank of batteries. On average, the batteries make up, at least, 40 per cent of the total material cost of a typical solar power system in Nigeria, that is, an off-grid or hybrid solar electricity system.

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The GuardianEnergy storage key to reliable solar power systems

Decades-Old Technologies Could Be Key To Future Energy Storage

on May 24, 2017

Manufacturing-NetThe growing global emphasis on renewable energy placed a premium on the ability to store electricity from intermittent sources for long periods of time.

Tesla Inc. made the most prominent effort to tackle that challenge in 2015 by bolstering its lithium-ion vehicle batteries for homes, business and utilities.

But other companies are talking a new look at older technologies in hopes that they could provide long-term power more economically than chemical batteries. The Wall Street Journal profiled three such businesses this week.

California-based Eagle Crest Energy plans to convert a former iron mine east of Palm Springs into a pumped hydropower facility.

The $2 billion project would install pumps that send large amounts of water into reservoirs during times of abundant, cheap power — namely, during daylight for solar farms in the nearby desert.

At night, the water would be released down the mineshaft and generate hydropower with the help of gravity alone. The Palm Springs-area project would generate enough electricity to power nearly a million homes for up to 10 hours.

Another California company, Amber Kinetics, developed an advanced version of a flywheel that, after it is powered up by renewable energy, can continue spinning at high speeds — and generating power — for hours at a time.

Finally, the Journal detailed plans by Canadian company Hydrostor to develop an energy storage system based on compressed air that would be pumped into a large, underground tank filled with water.

Each system, proponents hope, could eventually accommodate rising energy demands even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

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Manufacturing.NetDecades-Old Technologies Could Be Key To Future Energy Storage

Move Over Tesla, Europe’s Building Its Own Battery Gigafactories

on May 24, 2017

bloombergBattery-making gigafactories are about to arrive in Europe, challenging a lead Tesla building at a plant in Nevada and opening the way for a quicker shift toward green power for both cars and utilities.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday is scheduled to break ground at a 500 million-euro ($543 million) plant to assemble lithium-ion energy-storage units for Daimler AG, which produces Mercedes-Benz and Maybach luxury cars.

The facility 130 kilometers (81 miles) south of Berlin highlights a push by both major automakers and power companies into energy storage. The technology is crucial to drive the next generation of green vehicles and to hold electricity from wind and solar farms for when it’s needed most. With two dominant industries moving in the same direction, the cost of batteries is likely to plunge quickly, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“As battery costs fall and their energy density increases, we could see cheaper battery-electric cars than their fuel-burning equivalents by 2030,” said Nikolas Soulopoulos, an analyst with the London-based research arm of Bloomberg LP.

Global battery-making capacity is set to more than double by 2021, reaching 278 gigawatt-hours, up from about 103 gigawatt-hours now, according to BNEF. Europe’s market share is expected to almost double over that time from 2.5 percent.

Large-scale factories planned in Sweden, Hungary and Poland, as well as Daimler’s battery assembly plant in Germany, are expected to feed demand from automakers such as Volkswagen AG and Renault SA. That will cut the cost of lithium-ion packs by 43 percent and make electric cars a mainstream reality, the researcher estimates.

For a note from BNEF on when electric cars will rival regular ones on price, click here.

For the utilities, cheaper batteries reduce the cost of storage units that smooth the variable flows of electric power to the grid from renewables. At Enel SpA, the biggest distributor in Italy, pairing a battery with a wind farm helped grid managers improve forecasts for electricity output from the plant by as much as 30 percent.

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BloombergMove Over Tesla, Europe’s Building Its Own Battery Gigafactories

Vivint Solar to use Mercedes-Benz batteries for solar energy storage in US homes

on May 23, 2017

Power Technology energy storageVivint Solar has entered an exclusive strategic collaboration to launch Mercedes-Benz’s customisable home energy storage system in the US.

Vivint Solar and Mercedes-Benz Energy will jointly provide customers with high-performance, German-engineered batteries combined with Vivint Solar’s expertise in designing, installing, and servicing rooftop solar energy systems.

This service will enable Vivint Solar’s customers to gain enhanced control over the renewable power they generate. The new solution will not only provide customers with a backup electricity source, but also help reduce energy costs.

Mercedes-Benz Energy’s Americas chief executive officer (CEO) Boris von Bormann said: “With batteries featuring the best in automotive engineering from Mercedes-Benz, and high-quality solar energy systems from Vivint Solar, our solution allows customers to take the next step toward a sustainable energy future.

“The launch of our home battery system in Europe has been successful and we are thrilled to be working with Vivint Solar to bring a reliable and compelling solar plus storage offering to American homes.”

“Our solution allows customers to take the next step toward a sustainable energy future.”

In regions with time-of-use electricity rates, customers can use the batteries to store excess solarpower generated by the combined system during the day and then use it during periods of peak energy usage in the evening and at night when electricity rates are usually higher.

With each storage system featuring modular 2.5KWh batteries, they can be combined to store as much as 20KWH, making customisable and easy to scale.

Under the deal, Vivint Solar will be responsible for customising each system based on the customer’s individual electricity consumption requirements. The company will provide an important tool to help manage energy costs, while utilising clean renewable energy.

In the US, California will be the first Vivint Solar market where the company will provide the new solution directly to households.

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Power TechnologyVivint Solar to use Mercedes-Benz batteries for solar energy storage in US homes

CEC’s plan to ease the way for energy storage, ‘the last piece of the puzzle’

on May 23, 2017

EcogenerationTargeted reform of Australia’s outdated electricity market – rather than long-term public funding – is the key to unlocking the full benefits from energy storage technology as the country shifts to renewable energy, according to a policy paper released by the Clean Energy Council.

CEC chief executive Kane Thornton said energy storage technologies have a critical role to play in the development of an affordable, clean and secure energy system.

“There remains substantial work to do in modernising Australia’s energy rules and allowing energy storage to fully participate in the market, bringing the benefits of the technology to both the grid and consumers more broadly,” Thornton said.

Much higher levels of storage will smooth the way for large-scale wind and solar projects, where generation is variable during the day or in the case of solar non-existent at night.

“Australia currently lacks a strategic package of energy market reforms that will help to turbo-charge energy storage and tear down the barriers that stand in the way to its wider use around the country.”

The paper, which can be found at the CEC’s website, lists 13 recommendations for reforms it considers will speed up introduction of energy storage, including:

  • The energy market adopt a five-minute settlement regime to provide a more effective market signal;
  • Distributors make it easier to gain approval for grid-connected battery retrofits;
  • Governments allow premium feed-in tariffs to be traded in exchange for a subsidy for a battery.
  • Introduction of a legally enforceable Australian Standard for product safety of lithium ion batteries.

Energy storage isn’t only about batteries; it can include hydrogen fuels and pumped hydro.

“Energy storage is the last major puzzle piece of an evolved energy system. It can complement more variable sources of generation, like wind and solar power, while also providing services that bolster the resilience of the system,” Thornton said. “It also lightens the load during peak demand, reducing the need for expensive network investment and augmentation.”

Energy storage costs – especially battery storage – are falling, the CEC says, and the briefing paper includes a chart from Nature showing the levelised cost of electricity reduction of lithium ion batteries over 10 years to 2015.

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Eco GenerationCEC’s plan to ease the way for energy storage, ‘the last piece of the puzzle’