Historic Massachusetts island enjoyed renewable summer with solar-plus-storage

on August 31, 2017

Energy Storage NewsUsing just 351.9kW of PV and 1MWh of energy storage in a microgrid, a tiny island off the Massachusetts coast successfully met more than 50% of its electricity demand over summer.

Historic Cuttyhunk Island, just a few miles from Martha’s Vineyard, a summer destination for the rich and famous, has less than 50 residents outside of seasonal tourist peaks and about 300 residents during the summer season.

The island is famous for being one of the trading posts with the British pre-independence but has now found a degree of energy independence for itself. Solar Design Associates, a Harvard-headquartered company, designed and installed the PV array, which has 1,020 panels, and the lithium-ion battery energy storage system.

As with most electrified island territories, Cuttyhunk Island has always relied on burning diesel fuel, which is brought to the island on a barge, which is of course expensive, polluting and relies on supplies being able to negotiate bad weather conditions and other logistics. The project received financial assistance from the US Agriculture Department’s grant scheme for rural electrification projects.

While the new microgrid will not eliminate diesel use entirely, during this year it is expected to reduce consumption by 30,000 gallons, a representative of Gosnold Electric Light Commission, which oversees utilities on Cuttyhunk, said. In fact while helping the residents and visitors to rely on more than 50% renewable energy over summer, during off-season periods, that proportion can rise to 80% renewables.  The massively diminished population numbers in those times are a factor in this – some accounts refer to there being less than 20 residents on the island at some points in the year.

“The microgrid’s performance and reliability have exceeded all our expectations, and we are on track to burn 30,000 fewer gallons of diesel fuel this year,” Gosnold Electric Light Commission’s Paul Elias said.

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Energy Storage NewsHistoric Massachusetts island enjoyed renewable summer with solar-plus-storage

In Storage vs. Peaker Study, CAISO’s Outdated Cost Estimates Produce Higher Price Tag for Storage

on August 31, 2017

energy storage greentech mediaPushback against the proposed Puente natural gas plant in California now hinges on whether energy storage could do the job instead.

The first whack at the question, in a study by the California Independent System Operator, found that storage could provide the needed local reliability, but at 2.7 times the cost.

A GTM analysis of CAISO’s calculations, though, found that they rely on lithium-ion cost projections from 2014, which makes them just about ancient history in terms of the fast-moving storage industry. Battery costs keep falling faster than predicted, and in 2014 the industry was barely getting started.

CAISO doesn’t have access to proprietary cost data; the grid operator’s study makes clear the numbers are more of a ballpark calculation. It’s up to the California Energy Commission to decide whether to allow NRG to build its Puente gas plant in Oxnard for 2020, or whether more up-to-date cost data on alternative solutions would be helpful. 

“At a minimum, the prices assumed for energy storage and solar in the CAISO study are not reflective of today’s market for either technology,” said Shayle Kann, head of GTM Research. “It’s always hard for regulators to keep up with markets that are adapting as fast as both solar and storage are, but in particular storage costs are falling fast enough that using data from 2014 is like relying on gas prices from before the shale revolution.”

Environmentalists have rallied to squash Puente, arguing the plant perpetuates a history of Oxnard as a “sacrifice zone for polluting power plants,” even though alternatives now exist. The city itself opposes the plant and called it “expensive, obsolete before it is open” in comments on the draft of CAISO’s study. 

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GreenTech MediaIn Storage vs. Peaker Study, CAISO’s Outdated Cost Estimates Produce Higher Price Tag for Storage

PPA signed for Middle East’s ‘largest’ solar-plus-storage project

on August 31, 2017

Energy Storage NewsThe power purchase agreement (PPA) for what is claimed to be the Middle East’s largest solar-plus-storage project has been signed.

Jordanian PV manufacturer and EPC Philadelphia Solar is developing the 11MW generation site, which will be paired with a 12MWh lithium-ion battery. The system will perform peak shaving and load shifting duties to support the grid during daytime hours.

The Irbid District Electricity Company has signed a 20-year PPA for power from the site. The signing was overseen by minister of energy and mineral resources Saleh Al Kharabsha.

Philadelphia Solar will install its own 320Wp polycrystalline modules and its own single-axis tracker for the project. Further details on the energy storage system were not provided and Philadelphia Solar was not available for further comment.

Jordan is energy-poor and relies heavily on fossil fuel imports from neighbouring countries. Historically, diesel and fuel oil have been the dominant sources of electricity but recent renewable energy tenders have helped to decrease this dependence.

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Energy Storage NewsPPA signed for Middle East’s ‘largest’ solar-plus-storage project

Eastman Kodak opens energy storage center in business park

on August 30, 2017

Democrat-and-ChronicleThe Kodak Cell Assembly Center opened Tuesday in Eastman Business Park. 

Created in partnership with the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium, also known as NY-BEST, the center is expected to create nine direct jobs by 2019. Its developers hope the energy storage hub will also attract new businesses to the 1,200 acre campus and to the Finger Lakes region. 

“The energy storage industry is growing exponentially and the new Cell Assembly Center, when combined with New York’s existing state-of-the-art facilities for battery development, prototyping and commercialization, will further strengthen New York’s ability to attract and grow energy storage companies in New York,” said William Acker, executive director of NY-Best. 

Also attending the grand opening were representatives of Empire State Development, which is supporting the partnership through a $1.2 million Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant. The total cost for the endeavor is $5.9 million.

In a statement, Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Danny Wegman and Anne Kress said, “The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council is focusing on these types of partnerships which we believe will translate into next generation scientific discoveries. This effort will harness the expertise of private and research companies as well as local universities.”

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Democrat and ChronicleEastman Kodak opens energy storage center in business park

Renault and Connected Energy Bringing Second-Life EV Battery Storage to Europe

on August 30, 2017

Hybrid-CarsRenault electric vehicles are providing second-life batteries for energy storage in Europe.

Groupe Renault has installed two quick charging stations in Belgium and Germany with partner, UK-based Connected Energy. It’s the starting point of installing the E-STOR energy storage technology on highways in Europe.

E-STOR was developed by Connected Energy to offer all the benefits of stored energy, say the companies.

Renault is a top seller of battery electric vehicles in Europe, and will have access to a plentiful supply of used lithium-ion battery packs. Where will they get them? They’ll comes from the Renault Zoe, Kangoo Z.E., Twizy, Fluence Z.E., and SM3 Z.E.

Connected Energy’s storage system recharges the Renault EV batteries at low power, and can release the stored energy at high power. They’ll be tied to a network of fast-charging stations throughout Europe.

The two companies are selling the cost benefits and multiple applications of the technology. It is predicted to cut high electricity costs involved with tapping into the power grid. It can reach customers who own their own homes, manage multiple-unit residences, and operate industrial facilities.

“Groupe Renault is supporting the development of charging infrastructures to simplify the daily life of electric vehicle drivers. Using our second-life batteries in fast EV charger contributes to progress by providing charging station operators with economical solutions. Moreover, it is a perfect example of circular economy implementation,” said Nicolas Schottey, head of the electric vehicle batteries and charging infrastructures program.

EV batteries are performing adequately for eight-to-10 years of service in the electric cars. Stationary applications extend the shelf life significantly into the circular economy before needing to be recycled.

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Hybrid CarsRenault and Connected Energy Bringing Second-Life EV Battery Storage to Europe

Report: Energy storage would benefit more than 5 million commercial customers

on August 30, 2017

Solar-BuilderThe U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Clean Energy Group (CEG) have released the first comprehensive public analysis detailing the potential size of the commercial behind-the-meter battery storage market in the United States. NREL analyzed over 10,000 utility tariffs in 48 states, finding that more than five million of the 18 million commercial customers across the country may be able to cost-effectively reduce their utility bills with battery storage technologies.

These findings, grouped by utility service territory and state and illustrated in a series of maps and tables, are presented in NREL and CEG’s white paper, Identifying Potential Markets for Behind-the-Meter Battery Energy Storage: A Survey of U.S. Demand Charges.

Details on the research

The researchers looked at the number of commercial customers eligible for utility rate tariffs that included demand charges of $15 or more per kilowatt, an industry benchmark for identifying economic opportunities for behind-the-meter storage. They concluded that approximately five million customers were at or above this demand charge threshold, accounting for over 25 percent of commercial customers in the United States. This represents a substantial market opportunity for behind-the-meter battery storage, which can be installed to control peak demand and lower electricity bills by reducing demand charges.

The analysis determined that economic opportunities for storage exist not only in first-mover states like California and New York, but also across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast. For example, tens of thousands of commercial customers in Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio may be subject to utility tariffs with sufficiently high demand charges to make storage a viable economic investment. Anticipated future declines in battery storage costs would enlarge the market potential in these and other states.

“With this analysis, we have identified the areas where customers have the greatest potential to benefit from investments in battery storage,” said Seth Mullendore, coauthor of the paper and a project director at CEG. “Utilities know where these opportunities exist, and now the rest of us have that information too.”

Nearly all medium to large commercial customers in every state are subject to utility demand charges, yet customers often do not understand how these charges are structured or accounted for. The charges affect private and nonprofit businesses, as well as a wide array of additional customers, including community facilities, public buildings, and multi-family housing properties. In many cases, these demand charges can comprise anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of a customer’s utility bill.

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Solar Builder MagReport: Energy storage would benefit more than 5 million commercial customers

Former SpaceX battery engineer’s start-up lines up US$30m funding and US$65m sales

on August 29, 2017

Energy Storage NewsAn EV and stationary energy storage battery start-up headed by former SpaceX, Tesla, Apple, Amazon and Samsung designers and engineers has mobilised almost US$100 million of financing and contracts to kickstart manufacturing operations.

Led by Michael Patterson, an entrepreneurial CEO with a taste for disruptive tech startups, California-based Romeo Power is currently building a 113,000 square-foot, fully automated manufacturing facility, scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. Once opened, it should produce 1GWh of battery capacity on a single shift, reaching 4GWh capacity per shift during 2018.

Attempting to stake its claim in an already-competitive market, producing its own cylindrical lithium-ion cells for mobility and a product named Powerstack for stationary energy storage based on the same battery pack design, Romeo has just announced the raise of US$30 million in seed financing.

CEO Patterson said the company, which launched in 2015, was scaling manufacturing “as fast as we can” due to high demand and “incredible momentum in a short period” and called the market opportunity for energy storage technologies “massive”.

In addition to the US$30 million financing, from unnamed investors, the company also claims to have US$65 million in “initial orders scheduled for delivery in 2018” already, assuming they can meet those manufacturing targets.

The company is touting the fact that its engineers are led by CTO and co-founder Porter Harris, who was behind development of batteries for the Dragon spacecraft and F9 rocket at Elon Musk’s NASA-contracted interstellar delivery service, SpaceX.

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Energy Storage NewsFormer SpaceX battery engineer’s start-up lines up US$30m funding and US$65m sales

DIY powerwall enthusiasts rival Tesla in home energy storage units

on August 29, 2017

Daily-PlanetTesla first announced the Powerwall in 2015—a rechargeable lithium-ion battery energy storage unit intended for home usage that retails at over €5,000. Now, on social media and online forums, users are sharing DIY powerwall instructions involving recycled laptop batteries, enabling people to power their homes at a fraction of the cost.

Several powerwall hobbyists have created rigs with much more storage capacity than the 14 kWh Tesla offers. YouTuber, Daniel Römer, claims to have built a powerwall that can store over 100 kWh—over seven times what the Tesla version can store. Another YouTuber, Peter Matthews, says he’s made a battery that can store 40 kWh of energy that harvests power from over 40 rooftop solar panels.

A growing online community

Matthews also founded DIYpowerwalls. With over 6,000 members, it’s the most popular powerwall Facebook group. YouTubers like Römer and Matthews have gathered large followings, signalling the popularity of the trend.

Among the most known DIY powerwall YouTubers is Jehu Garcia, who boasts a channel subscriber base of over 100,000. Garcia plans to build a battery system to power a recycling facility; it would be capable of storing 1 megawatt of power or 1000 kWh.

Alternative energy enthusiasts recommend using 18650 lithium-ion batteries. These batteries can be found inside electronics, like laptops. They can be purchased online, from a computer store, or second-hand—which also helps reduce waste. According to Carl E. Smith, the CEO and president of Call2Recycle, approximately 95 per cent of consumer batteries sold in the US are ultimately thrown away, when almost all batteries can be recycled.

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Daily PlanetDIY powerwall enthusiasts rival Tesla in home energy storage units

VSUN edges closer to home storage market for vanadium batteries

on August 29, 2017

Renew Econonmy AUVSUN Energy, the vanadium redox flow battery storage offshoot of mining group Australian Vanadium, has firmed up plans to target Australia’s nascent home energy storage market – most likely with a base model of 15kWh – and to set up a local manufacturing base as it works to drive down battery costs and catch the wave of home solar and storage.

Australian Vanadium managing director Vincent Algar said on Friday that the company was “very well advanced” in negotiations with a number of international manufacturers of vanadium redox flow batteries, including the German based outfit, Schmid, which already makes a residential VRB system for the European market.

Algar said that the company was also working on meeting certain technical “tick the box” inverter compatibility requirements, necessary to the introduction of domestic-scale VRB into the the Australian market.

Australian Vandium this week revealed that it had terminated its exclusive dealership agreement with German vanadium flow battery maker, Gildemeister, on the basis it was too restrictive to VSUN Energy’s growth plans.

It will, however, continue to market the company’s CellCube battery stacks, on a non-exclusive basis, while it continues negotiations with a number of VRB makers.

In an interview with RenewEconomy on Friday, Algar said he was excited about the technology’s prospects in the Australian residential energy storage market, despite differences in cost, and a yet-to-take-off market already crowded with competitive li-ion options.

Currently, a 15kWh VRB system sits somewhere at the $25,000 mark, he said, but – as has happened with lithium-ion – he says projections are that VRB will start to come down the cost curve as the money and focus of the clean tech market turns more and more towards innovative stationery storage solutions.

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Renew Economy AUVSUN edges closer to home storage market for vanadium batteries

Analysis: Will the Perry Study Actually Help Microgrids and Energy Storage?

on August 28, 2017

Microgrids and energy storage improve electric reliability. So it was perplexing to see how little attention they received in a major study on grid reliability issued this week by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Businesses, communities and institutions across the country have stepped up installation of microgrids in recent years to ensure power supply when the central grid fails. Since Superstorm Sandy, states have dedicated at least $200 million for microgrid installations. And in 2016, alone, utilities put up at least $1.2 billion to pursue microgrids and related distributed energy.

Yet the federal government mentioned microgrids only twice – and briefly – in its 181-page”Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability.” Energy storage did a bit better with three paragraphs and a chart.

“This is supposed to be a reliability report, but it focuses on generation and transmission,” said Steve Pullins, vice president for energy solutions at Hitachi America. “With 90 percent of the events that lead to a customer outage initiating in the distribution network, only 10 percent of those events have anything to do with generation and transmission. So why does the report focus > 90 percent of its attention on the 10 percent problem?”

He added: “As far as I am concerned, this report is only 10 percent relevant to reliability. I am greatly disappointed. This will be in my book on ‘Missing the Point.’”

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Microgrid KnowledgeAnalysis: Will the Perry Study Actually Help Microgrids and Energy Storage?