Energy Storage Association names first ever CEO

on June 30, 2017

The Energy Storage Association announced that advanced energy industry veteran Kelly Speakes-Backman will become the organization’s first CEO, effective July 1.

“As evidenced by our recent ’35 by 2025 Vision’ announcement, in which we see the potential for 35 GW of new energy storage additions to the U.S. power grid by 2025, our industry is in the midst of an explosive growth stage,” noted Praveen Kathpal, vice president of AES Energy Storage and chair of ESA’s board of directors. “As our industry expands, ESA must also expand to ensure our messages are clearly heard by regulators, industry players and other stakeholders, while also supporting our members with the insight and tools necessary to navigate the dynamic environment such growth creates. Kelly’s diverse experience as a state regulator, industry executive and trade association leader will enable ESA to take the next step in its evolution to fully support the energy storage industry as it enters this rapid expansion phase.”

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to lead ESA in service to its members and the energy storage industry overall in this era of exponential growth,” added Speakes-Backman. “For over 20 years, I have worked to help the energy efficiency, distributed energy and renewable energy sectors evolve. I’m going to do everything in my power – working closely with ESA’s members, government officials and the energy industry – to make sure energy storage becomes an integral linchpin of the modern power system.”

Speakes-Backman joins ESA from the Alliance to Save Energy, a premier trade association representing the energy efficiency sector. As the Senior Vice President of Policy and Research, she directed the policy efforts, working closely with industry and policy makers to advance energy efficiency. Prior to that, Speakes-Backman served as a Commissioner at the Maryland Public Service Commission and the Director of Clean Energy for the Maryland Energy Administration. Earlier in her career, she held strategy, marketing and sales roles at SunEdison, UTC Power, Wärtsilä and Jenbacher.

As part of ESA’s evolution, Matt Roberts will assume the role of Vice President. In this capacity, Roberts will build upon the growth, policy impact, and market recognition that ESA accomplished under his leadership over the last three years as ESA’s first executive director.

“Working together our industry has grown tremendously, and is transforming the future of the power sector. We are very excited to build upon ESA’s successes and look forward to working with Kelly on advancing ESA’s mission to propel the energy storage sector into a multi-billion dollar industry,” said Roberts. “Now that we are at this stage I can fully devote my energies to what I have been most passionate about: growing ESA’s impact by empowering our members and educating stakeholders throughout the power ecosystem.”

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Electric Light and PowerEnergy Storage Association names first ever CEO

Energy Storage Leaders Named by Navigant & News about ESA, NYSERDA and U.S Mayors

on June 30, 2017

Green Charge Networks, Stem, and Sunverge top a new list published by Navigant of companies that lead in distributed energy storage.

The energy storage leaders are driving growing use of the resource as means to lower costs for customers and for the larger grid. Commercial buildings use energy storage for back-up power during outages and to reduce their utility demand charges. Meanwhile, energy storage also can act as a virtual power plant and provide a capacity resource for the grid.

“Leaders in the distributed-scale ESS sector have built on innovative software platform capabilities to focus on playing multiple roles across the delivery value chain,” says William Tokash, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “As a result, they can drive down costs, enable financing innovation, and establish customer access advantages relative to their peers.

An executive summary of the report,  Navigant Research Leaderboard Report: Distributed-Scale Energy Storage Systems Integrators, is available on Navigant’s website.

Other energy storage leaders on Navigant’s list are: Johnson Controls, Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Tesla/SolarCity, Sharp, sonnen, Greensmith and Lockheed Martin Energy.

And speaking of energy storage leaders…

Energy industry veteran Kelly Speakes-Backman will become the Energy Storage Association’s first chief executive officer on July 1.  Speakes-Backman joins ESA from the Alliance to Save Energy, where she was senior vice president of policy and research.

As part of the organizational change, Matt Roberts’ role will change from executive director to vice president.

ESA is making the changes to ramp up its push for 35 GW of energy storage by 2025.

Big leadership changes underway in New York too

New moves also are underway at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), where Massachusetts clean energy veteran Alicia Barton is now president and CEO.  Barton takes over from John Rhodes, who became chair of the Public Service Commission. He replaces Audrey Zibelman, who joined the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Barton was most recently at the law firm of Foley Hoag in Boston and previously worked as chief of operations for the Global Utility group at SunEdison. She also served as CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a quasi-public agency.

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Microgrid KnowledgeEnergy Storage Leaders Named by Navigant & News about ESA, NYSERDA and U.S Mayors

ESS, EVs could overtake consumer electronics for energy storage demand in 2018, Lux says

on June 30, 2017

Energy Storage NewsLux’s breakdown of the market as forecast by analyst Chris Robinson and team. Image: Lux Research.

As early as next year, demand for energy storage in consumer electronics could be overtaken by markets for electric mobility and stationary energy storage, Lux Research has forecast.

To date, the market for energy storage, mostly in the form of electrochemical lithium-ion batteries has been largest in supplying batteries for smartphones, laptops and other consumer goods. However, the twin accelerating markets for renewable energy integration and plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) could outstrip this demand as early as 2018, the Boston-based research and analysis firm has claimed.

According to analyst Chris Robinson, lead author of a new report, Quantifying growth opportunities in the $105 billion energy storage market: “The emergence of plug-in vehicles from Tesla and its competitors will reshape the energy storage market, while increasing renewable deployments will make stationary storage energy another source of growth.”

Robinson said technology in energy storage had advanced greatly in recent years, benefitting consumer electronics and other applications for batteries alike.

The total energy storage market will be worth US$100 billion by 2025, Lux predicted, with around US$69 billion market value for the transportation sector. While stationary storage will be a smaller market, with US$19 billion revenues predicted for that year, Robinson and team said it will be the fastest growing sector to demand high volumes of energy storage. By 2025, stationary energy storage will add up to 34GWh of demand, Lux’s forecasts state, with highest demand growth in India and China. Long duration storage in particular is expected to see demand increase.

This year, consumer electronics’ demand for energy storage will constitute around 27GWh, dwarfed by the anticipated 46GWh of energy storage demand for transport. The consumer electronics market will nonetheless grow, at a rate of about 6% a year, but rapidly declining battery prices mean revenues will remain relatively flat, according to Lux.

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Energy Storage NewsESS, EVs could overtake consumer electronics for energy storage demand in 2018, Lux says

Will Second-Life Batteries Benefit The Entire Energy Storage Market?

on June 29, 2017

Energy Storage ForumWe are pleased to share our Energy Storage interview with Dr. Carolin Funk,  Chief Operating Officer, FreeWire Technologies, USA. Dr. Carolin was a speaker at the 10th Energy Storage World Forum in May 2017 in Berlin. Learn more about the 11th Energy Storage World Forum and the 5th Residential Energy Storage Forum 2018 in Berlin by downloading the program

And here are the questions from our editor. Enjoy the interview!

What are the global technological market innovations that drive the next generation Energy Storage solutions? And in your opinion, what are the biggest challenges?

A number of variables contribute to, and detract from, growth in the energy storage market. As with many industries, we are seeing economic and political factors playing vital roles. Cost reductions from adjacent markets, such as battery-powered electronics (like electric vehicles) and large-scale renewable energy growth (such as solar) are paving the way for increased storage, while regulation around grid stability and renewable adoption has been extremely inviting as well. That being said, significant challenges exist in the market, too. In particular, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to energy storage, meaning a certain amount of customization is required. Value stacking and flexible solutions are the key to finding the right option across customer segments and scaling up manufacturing.

At ESWF in Berlin you tapped into very interesting topic “Will second-life Battery Systems Ever Be More Cost Effective Than An Efficient Battery Recycling Industry?” Is there a straightforward answer and where are the things headed?

The battery world is constantly innovating, meaning there are no straightforward answers! That being said, a number of patterns are emerging in the second-life battery ecosystem that allow us to make some predictions about what factors will be most influential. Right now, there is very little regulation, meaning that utilizing second-life batteries is an economical choice. However, as prices for new batteries fall, and the market becomes more saturated with second-life batteries, we will see new trends emerge based on this changing landscape.

FreeWire believes that second-life batteries have the potential to benefit the entire energy storage market; however, all the players will need to rally together to share insights and make this opportunity a viable one. The question of whether or not it will be more cost-effective than recycling will also depend on the simultaneous development of the lithium-ion battery recycling industry. Battery costs, industry expectations, and other variables — such as regulation — will factor into cost-effectiveness. Whether we are looking at the future of recycling or energy storage, voices from each of these different corners will likely impact the direction of the market. The worst thing that can happen is just seeing these batteries locked up in warehouses; as long as all the different partners work together to offer a better solution, recycling and reuse can both be viable alternatives.

What kind of partnerships do we need to build between different members of the value chain to make energy storage successful?

There are a number of invaluable partnerships on both the supply and demand sides of the process. Fostering relationships early on in the development of energy storage systems with original suppliers (such as lithium-ion battery manufacturers) and policymakers is key to a lean, reliable supply chain. On the other end of the spectrum, tapping into the right markets for demand is vital. Partnering with large-scale adopters of energy storage, such as utilities, ensures a healthy understanding of customer need and viability.

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Energy Storage ForumWill Second-Life Batteries Benefit The Entire Energy Storage Market?

Utilities Need Storage to Keep Renewable Energy Growing

on June 29, 2017

State standards are driving electric utilities’ use of renewable energy — but without battery storage capacity, electricity generated from wind, water or the sun may soon saturate the market in certain regions.

Ten years ago, utilities underestimated how much renewable energy they would use due to states’ regulations and the falling cost of wind and solar power. But without large-scale battery storage, the increases observed so far could be at risk of plateauing.

The growth and breakthroughs in renewable energy contributed to lowering the country’s carbon footprint since renewable and nuclear energies do not create carbon dioxide; a saturation in the renewable energy market could also hurt some states’ ambitious climate goals.

The Energy Information Administration estimates carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector fell about 5 percent last year and the year before, the largest-ever decline for two years in a row since 1973.

A study out this month funded by the Energy Department looked at the relationship between planning and electricity procurement for 12 utilities in 10 Western states through 2015. The study showed Western utilities bought three times more wind energy more than regulators expected based on the utilities’ resource plans.

This uptick may not be surprising due to newer laws in 29 states and the District of Columbia that require utilities to get a set amount of renewable energy. In addition, eight other states have renewable energy goals (as opposed to enforced standards). Montana, for instance, had set a renewable portfolio standard in 2005 to use 15 percent renewable energy by 2015.

NorthWestern Energy, a Montana utility, currently surpasses the standard, with 60 percent of its electricity coming from hydropower and wind generation. But the company says renewables aren’t as reliable as other sources of power.

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Morning ConsultUtilities Need Storage to Keep Renewable Energy Growing

Smart Energy Storage Methods Helping Companies Save Money and Power

on June 29, 2017

Companies are increasingly turning to intelligent energy storage solutions to reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency and enable renewable energy.

According to, benefits of intelligent energy storage include:

  • Demand charge reduction – Intelligent energy storage reduces demand for energy from utilities, thus reducing the company’s carbon footprint while saving money. It also allows it to respond automatically to spikes in energy usage without increasing electricity costs.
  • Onsite power generation – Companies can use intelligent energy storage to implement renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. This offsets energy demand and reduces its carbon footprint. Companies employing this method can sell unused power back to the grid, resulting in an even greater impact to the bottom line.
  • Improved backup control – Blackouts and other power shortage situations can threaten a company’s productivity. However, intelligent energy storage can detect shortages and implement stored power reserves automatically so that a company’s operations are uninterrupted.
  • Intelligent building management – Building automation systems (BAS) and building information management (BIM) increases facilities’ operational efficiency by automatically monitoring building systems. BAS and BIM are supported by intelligent energy storage, which increases the efficiency by which buildings use, generate and store energy.

Hybrid Energy Storage Systems (HESS) — an energy efficient storage alternative — have gained media attention of late. The advantages to deploying an HESS include lower cost, increased system efficiency, increased system lifetime due to optimized operation, and the ability to do more and last longer with less overall storage capacity.

States, as well as companies, are adopting energy efficient energy storage initiatives. Today, the New York legislature announced that it has unanimously passed a bill establishing an energy storage deployment program.  The bill, S. 5190, aims to promote the installation of energy storage systems.

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Energy Manager TodaySmart Energy Storage Methods Helping Companies Save Money and Power

GE Is Quietly Building Energy-Storage Innovations

on June 28, 2017

The Motley Fool Energy StorageWhen most people think of energy storage, they probably think of Elon Musk and Tesla‘s (NASDAQ:TSLA) splashy moves with the Powerwall and Powerpack. PanasonicSamsung, and LG Chem are also eyeing the energy-storage market in one form or another, building out capacity that could supply an expected boom in lithium ion battery demand. 

Lost in the shuffle is General Electric (NYSE:GE), a key supplier to the electricity market worldwide. The company builds everything from fossil-fuel power plants to wind turbines and the components that make up the transmission and distribution grid. And it may have some energy-storage solutions other companies just can’t match. 

Hybrid energy storage

Potentially the most meaningful energy-storage product GE released recently is a hybrid battery storage and gas turbine power plant. The product is designed to replace spinning reserves that are required to keep the grid functional as volatile wind and solar assets fluctuate in their output throughout the day. But instead of burning just natural gas to keep those reserves spinning, there’s a battery acting as a buffer. 

When the storage system is called upon, there’s a 10 MW lithium-ion battery that will ramp up power quickly, with up to 50 MW of natural gas generation. GE estimates the system will result in fuel savings, reduce maintenance cost, and lessen greenhouse-gas emissions that are burned keeping spinning reserves available. 

In this case, the battery isn’t a massive energy-storage system the grid can call upon, such as what Tesla or AES Corporation are building. It’s a buffer between the variable resources on the grid and the fossil-fuel plants that need to back up those resources. 

Energy storage for renewables

In the future, it would make sense that either battery energy storage or a hybrid power plant will accompany major renewable-energy power plants. If GE paired a battery with its wind turbines or a hybrid power plant, it could add tremendous value to the grid, reducing the variability that grid operators have to deal with. Eventually, it could even pair these products with inverters it already sells for the booming solar market. 

few weeks ago, when I suggested that GE should buy First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), I mentioned that energy storage is the kind of product it could easily fold into its offering to make the solar product more valuable. And with GE trying to grow its inverter business, it would make a lot of sense to vertically integrate its offering with solar and energy storage. 

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The Motley FoolGE Is Quietly Building Energy-Storage Innovations

Energy Storage Association Brings On New Leadership

on June 28, 2017

energy storage greentech mediaThe energy storage industry group has beefed up its leadership team as it prepares for a rapid scale-up of the companies it represents.

The Energy Storage Association hired Kelly Speakes-Backman as its first CEO, starting July 1. Executive Director Matt Roberts is moving to a new role as vice president for external affairs, where he will focus on messaging and strategic planning. Nitzan Goldberger also joined the leadership team as state policy director, coming from the policy shop at Borrego Solar. 

The expansion comes shortly after Roberts announced an ambitious goal for the energy storage companies he represents: to deploy 35 gigawatts by 2025. The industry itself has posted rapid progress — the 234 megawatt-hours of capacity deployed in the first quarter of 2017 marked a 945 percent increase from the first quarter of 2016. Now the diminutive industry group is growing its infrastructure to follow suit.

Speakes-Backman jumps into the fray armed with experience as an energy regulator, as well as in private industry.

She served as the director of clean energy for the Maryland Energy Administration under Governor Martin O’Malley, before becoming a commissioner at the Maryland Public Service Commission. That particular PSC keeps popping up as a key player in clean energy leadership — other alums include Anne Hoskins, now chief policy officer at Sunrun, and Abby Hopper, CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Prior to the government postings, Speakes-Backman worked as marketing director in the early days of SunEdison, and at several other energy companies, including Wartsila. She came to ESA from the Alliance to Save Energy, the energy-efficiency trade group, where she directed policy work.

That cross-cutting experience with solar, efficiency and conventional energy colors Speakes-Backman’s approach to storage.

“Energy storage is the hub of all of these clean energy technologies that can help catapult us into a more modern, cleaner, more efficient grid,” she said in an interview. “I want to figure out how to get to this 35 gigawatts through practical implementation. Who do we need to coordinate with?”

That practical implementation will focus on two major hurdles: market access and recognition of value streams, Speakes-Backman said.

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GreenTech MediaEnergy Storage Association Brings On New Leadership

CSP Eyes Strong Growth with Thermal Energy Storage to Compete Against PV

on June 28, 2017

energy storageConcentrating solar power (CSP) has existed since 1866, but for the last couple of decades, photovoltaic (PV) has been the dominant solar technology. Now with technological advancements and energy storage, CSP is poised to make a significant comeback. Cleanergy AB, a Stirling CSP technology provider based in Sweden, has signed an agreement to deploy a 200-MW CSP project in China. Datang Holdings New Energy Technologies Ltd in China will secure government approvals and financing for this CSP project.

The project will be built in two phases: 50 MW in 2018 and 150 MW with latent heat storage. There are three forms to store heat: latent, sensible, and thermochemical. The latent heat storage uses the process of melting or crystallizing a material known as Phase Change Material (PCM). Cleanergy believes that it will be essential for all renewable technologies to be equipped with energy storage as penetration of renewable energy increases in the grid. “For CSP specifically, the competitiveness against PV hinges on a more efficient solution for delivery of dispatched energy,” commented Jonas Eklind, president and CEO of Cleanergy.

Aalborg CSP, another CSP provider, made a joint development agreement with SaltX Technology to offer cost-effective, fully-scalable, and dispatchable renewable energy solutions. Based in Sweden, SaltX has invented a patented technology to store thermal energy with salt.

“EnerStore, SaltX’s large-scale storage, is a thermochemical storage, which chemically holds the thermal energy in the salt so that the temperature 500 degree Celsius can be taken out at the same level without maintenance heating and with no or marginal heat losses,” explained Karl Bohman, CEO of SaltX Technology. “In addition, the EnerStore material, with the nano-coating, does not corrode as opposed to molten salt. It is non-toxic and can be recycled at the end of its life cycle.”

Eklind’s comment echoed this. “In order to compete with PV, the storage component in CSP is critical,” he said.

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Renewable Energy WorldCSP Eyes Strong Growth with Thermal Energy Storage to Compete Against PV

Stem energy storage network delivers power grid relief in California

on June 27, 2017

Stem Inc. activated several of its virtual power plants, networks of energy storage systems located at business and institutions throughout the state, multiple times during a heat wave last week, automatically dispatching stored energy to provide emergency demand response services to the California System Independent System Operator (California ISO) and three power utilities.

As a heat wave approached California on June 19, 2017, energy prices in the day-ahead wholesale market rose, signaling a need for resources that could act quickly to increase energy supply or reduce demand to prevent widespread blackouts. Having regularly offered stored energy from its network into the California ISO markets since 2015, Stem’s latest bids started to clear.

Stem first committed to reduce energy demand for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison at 5 pm PT on June 20 through the Day-Ahead settlement process the night before. Then at 5:15 pm on June 20, while already dispatching in four areas within the PG&E and SCE service territories, additional Stem offers to provide energy with less than five minutes’ notice were accepted further south in three parts of San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) service territory. Stem stepped up, dispatching energy storage systems at customer locations across seven utility zones to deliver on-time and more than promised.

In this one hour, Stem delivered stored energy from its customer network to seven strained areas of the CA grid simultaneously at the height of a heat wave. Acting as virtual power plants, aggregations within the Stem network automatically responded to rising wholesale prices in as little as five minutes to dispatch 1.6 MW of targeted relief, 21 percent more than committed. Stem’s network similarly dispatched fast, on-demand power 10 more times across the three utilities’ service territories in the remainder of the week as the heat continued.

In California, Stem uses the CAISO Proxy Demand Response (PDR) mechanism to aggregate DERs, and has been a very active participant in their wholesale market over the last three years. CAISO prices have cleared higher than the bids of storage-based demand response providers more frequently than expected in 2017. For example, Stem’s network responded to 150 “real-time,” or five-minute dispatch events for SDG&E from January to May of 2017. Stem is the leader in bidding aggregated distributed energy resources (DERs) into wholesale markets in California and across the U.S.

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Electric Light and PowerStem energy storage network delivers power grid relief in California