What information are investors looking for when it comes to energy storage?

on October 31, 2017

Energy Storage NewsHaving been subject to discussion for years within the academic sphere, energy storage projects have become a topic of high interest to energy sector focused investors in recent years.

Decreasing cost curves, changing regulatory environments within the energy markets such as deregulation and shifts away from subsidised renewables to market pricing modes, and evolving software capabilities, are increasing investor confidence in energy storage investments and result in increased demand for investment opportunities.

While this seems to be true especially for more mature renewable energy markets like Europe, the United States and several others, investors are facing the problem that energy storage projects as investments are – in most cases – discussed on a very abstract basis. Only considering the “big picture” and seeing the project as a future pillar of the energy market leaves out details such as the complexity coming with energy storage investments in practice.

In my opinion, the propensity to drastically reduce complexity by discussing energy storage as high-level topic has developed based on two major factors:

Firstly, energy storage is still a new topic in the market compared to the long history of energy generation and transmission. Hence, while accumulators and especially batteries seem to be part of consumers’ lives ever since, the discussion about energy storage as a viable part of the electricity market structure is relatively trendy and new. In addition, due to the high diversity of technology types and their evolution, economies of scale and market consolidation (as seen currently in the photovoltaic market) are not yet reached. This leads to different potentials, resulting in an ultimate mess of investment cases. Supported by the fact that storage investments are often declared as a “venture capital topic”.

Second, the high variety of different operational modes results in a high density in varying underlying business models. This depends heavily on local electricity market structures, including installed generation capacities, energy balance, share of renewables and subsidy situation.

In summary, the combining factors of a high density of different technology types and development stages as well as the high variety of different usage types have led to a situation where energy storage is often considered only as party of the big picture, thus not helping investors in getting viable information most relevant to them.

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Energy Storage NewsWhat information are investors looking for when it comes to energy storage?

India Takes the First Steps Toward a Utility-Scale Energy Storage Market

on October 31, 2017

energy storage greentech mediaThe Indian energy storage industry hopes a 28-megawatt-hour battery plant in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands will kick-start a utility-scale market that has been slow to emerge.

“This will help open up opportunities for such hybrid projects in India,” said Dr. Rahul Walawalkar, executive director of the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), after Indian EPC provider Mahindra Susten this month won the project tendered by state-owned coal mining company NLC India.

“With the development of a local ecosystem and skills training, we are confident that solar and storage will continue to have accelerated adoption in India in coming years,” Walawalkar said. “This should also help companies that are considering setting up manufacturing in India.”

IESA has a vision of making India a global advanced energy storage systems manufacturing hub by 2020, he said. Given India’s track record on utility-scale energy storage, the aim is ambitious, to say the least.

Prior to the Andaman and Nicobar project, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and NTPC, India’s largest power utility, had already launched three other utility-scale energy storage tenders in the country.

However, “all these tenders, with aggregate capacity of 35 megawatt-hours, have been scrapped without any reasons being given,” noted analyst firm Bridge to India in a blog post.

“Our view is that storage will need three [to] four years of techno-commercial advancements before finding scale in India,” wrote the organization. 

The lack of progress on utility-scale storage in one of the most important renewable energy markets in the world is due to a mix of pricing challenges and lack of technical expertise, according to Bridge to India.

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GreenTech MediaIndia Takes the First Steps Toward a Utility-Scale Energy Storage Market

Solar and energy storage in New England: It’s complicated

on October 31, 2017

pv-magazine energy storageWhile the global transition of energy systems away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy, electrification and distributed energy solutions is being increasingly accepted as inevitable, that does not mean that it is either easy or simple.

There are few regions in the United States where this is more true than in New England. While the overall region lags well below the national average in terms of solar and wind deployment, several states have pushed bold policies and are at times among the national leaders in terms of sophisticated approaches to system transformation.

Yesterday’s New England Solar and Storage Symposium by Greentech Media took a deeper look at the policy and market conditions of the region, without shying away from the very real challenges that New England faces.

Distributed solar in the crosshairs

For renewable energy, geography matters. New England has a wet climate with poor year-round solar radiation, and is one of the most densely populated regions in the United States. Both population pressures and an over-representation of affluent residents who are not used to seeing energy infrastructure has hindered land-based and even offshore wind.

And while the clouds, the density and historical settlement patterns also present challenges to large-scale PV projects, New England has excelled in deployment of distributed solar. Massachusetts and Vermont in particular boast some of the highest levels of residential and commercial installations on a per-capita basis in the United States.

This has been backed by aggressive policies, and one entire panel was dedicated to Massachusetts’ SMART program, a declining block grant incentive program designed to replace Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) and facilitate Governor Charlie Baker’s goal to deploy an additional 1.6 GW of solar on top of the 1.6 GW under the previous program.

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PV MagazineSolar and energy storage in New England: It’s complicated

Renewables May Become the Netflix of the Energy Sector

on October 30, 2017

energy storage greentech mediaSix key markers of market disruption hint that the energy sector might be the next industry in line for upheaval, according to a recent paper from Wood Mackenzie.

In the past century, the rapid uptake of new technologies has completely remade certain markets. Take the conversion from horses to cars for example; just over a century ago, a car would stick out on a crowded street. Thirteen years later, though, a horse-drawn carriage became the outlier. 

According to Wood Mackenzie, the energy industry presents all the signs of an industry on the cusp of disruption. Positioned at the center of the shift is the “drive for deep carbonization and the falling cost of renewables,” according to the report. Essentially, the sharp drop in prices, as well as technological advancements, have created a perfect storm to upend energy normalcy. 

“This is not just about decarbonization,” said Prajit Ghosh, head of power and renewables research at Wood Mackenzie. “It’s about rewriting the whole economy.”

The first qualifying marker is a vehicle — such as the smartphone — that can change how customers utilize services.

In the energy sector, the vehicle is less tangible than something you can hold in your hand: it’s the electrons shuttling through your wires to power everything you do. Natural gas has already overtaken coal as the largest source of power in the United States — a phenomenon the Trump administration sees as a significant disruption. Now renewables are encroaching on gas, and energy-efficiency gains have decreased demand for electricity. 

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GreenTech MediaRenewables May Become the Netflix of the Energy Sector

Portland General Electric eyes spending up to $100M on energy storage

on October 30, 2017

Portland-Business-JournalWith costs plunging, Portland General Electric Company (NYSE: POR) is prepared to pursue a lot more energy storage than the puny amount required under an Oregon mandate.

In its quarterly earnings call on Friday, the utility told analysts it will soon propose spending between $50 million and $100 million on 39 megawatts of energy storage.

Oregon legislation passed in 2015 requires PGE and Pacific Power, the state’s big investor-owned utilities, to acquire at least 5 megawatt-hours each of energy storage, with a limit of 1 percent of their 2014 peak loads.

PGE’s 2014 peak load was 3,866 megawatts, so at 39 megawatts it would be maxing out the opportunity.

How many megawatt-hours 39 megawatts translates to will depend on the nature of the proposed systems — some could provide short-term grid support services, others longer-duration energy storage.

With their costs falling rapidly, lithium-ion batteries are the dominant storage technology today, and some systems now going in can operate at full power for four hours (in other words, a 1 megawatt system can deliver 4 megawatt-hours of electricity).

PGE spokesman Steve Corson said details of the company’s plans would be made public when it files a proposal next week with the Oregon Public Utility Commission, but he outlined a wide range of possible projects.

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Portland Business JournalPortland General Electric eyes spending up to $100M on energy storage

Minnesota housing development to include community energy storage

on October 28, 2017

A new housing development in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul will use grid-interactive electric thermal water heaters to enable the Midwest’s first community energy storage project.

Country Joe Homes’ Legacy 2 development in Lakeville is building 79 homes over the next two years. Each home will have 80-gallon water heaters manufactured by Steffes Corp.

The sophisticated water heaters will allow Great River Energy (GRE) and Dakota Electric Association — the cooperative providing electricity to the development — to use them as community storage capable of integrating the state’s growing wind and solar resources.

“The water heaters behave as a battery and absorb energy, mainly at night, but they can be turned on and off in a moment’s notice,” said Gary Connett, Great River Energy’s director of member services.

“The game-changer for us is this variable generation in our future and here today. Renewables and more photovoltaics means all of a sudden we need something more dynamic than the water heater of the past,” he said. “This is where this grid-interactive water heater has benefits.”

While the utility’s current water heater program offers customers two options to charge water heaters in return for better rates on their bills, the Legacy 2 development’s water heaters allow real-time charging and energy storage, Connett said.

Water heaters can represent as much as 40 percent of a household’s energy use. Being able to nimbly control water heaters will allow Great River Energy to offer sophisticated energy services to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, the regional grid operator.

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Midwest Energy NewsMinnesota housing development to include community energy storage

Tata’s Delhi utility, German development agency cooperating on PV, energy storage, energy efficiency

on October 27, 2017

Energy Storage NewsIndian Discom (distribution company) Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (Tata Power-DDL) and German government-owned entity GIZ have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work jointly on promoting rooftop solar, energy storage systems, EVs and smart grid initiatives.

The two bodies plan to research and conduct studies on these areas and organize capacity building programs jointly for channel partners, project developers, financial institutions, government departments, distribution utilities, and public sector undertakings (PSUs).

Another aim is to promote standardised rooftop PV systems for the broader Indian public by the year 2022. GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), is a development agency focusing on consulting and capacity building activities in areas including rural development, sustainable infrastructure, energy and climate change. 

Praveer Sinha, CEO and managing director, Tata Power–DDL, said: “The collaboration with an institution like GIZ will provide impetus towards adoption of clean, efficient and smart technology in the utility space. We are confident that the collaboration will help us to learn and achieve a greener and sustainable solutions. usage of energy efficient technology is a unique and cost-effective solution to our consumers to optimize operational efficiency and thereby help us to provide them value added services.”

Joerg Gaebler, principal advisor, GIZ said, “We expect the collaboration with Tata Power-DDL will help us in designing and implementing tailored solutions by developing a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by distribution utilities in promoting mature clean technologies like rooftop photovoltaics.”

The governments of India and Germany are already closely aligned in energy maters and the two are collaborating on enhancing the Indian grid’s ability to absorb renewable power.

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Energy Storage NewsTata’s Delhi utility, German development agency cooperating on PV, energy storage, energy efficiency

PSE&G installs, commissions 1MWh battery system for microgrid project in New Jersey

on October 27, 2017

Energy Storage NewsEos Energy Storage has installed and commissioned a 1MWh Eos Aurora battery system at a wastewater treatment plant in Caldwell, New Jersey.

This system will serve as a main component of utility Public Service Electric and Gas Company’s (PSE&G) on-site energy storage microgrid that will help keep the facility operational during extended power outages.

The microgrid system includes an Eos Energy Storage system, along with an 896kW solar PV system designed and installed by Advanced Solar Products. Siemens Energy Management integrated the Eos Aurora system, solar facility, and existing diesel generator — utilising Eos Znyth technology as the base of the microgrid. Znyth use zinc hybrid cathodes, which Eos claims makes its batteries 30% to 40% lower cost than comparable lithium-ion systems.

The company is shipping its systems this year for US$160 per kWh and once it scales up into larger utility-scale systems, Eos says it could give solar-plus-storage projects an LCOE of below 10 cents per kWhUtility Engie is testing Eos Znyth batteries, stacked into Eos’ ‘Aurora’ branded grid-scale systems, in Brazil, while Eos also has an agreement to collaborate with engineering giant Siemens on developing energy storage systems with AC power conversion and controls.

The Caldwell wastewater treatment plant microgrid stands as part of a 3MW portion of PSE&G’s Solar 4 All program — a plan that looks to develop projects that mesh solar with other technologies to strengthen the electricity grid.

Todd Hranicka, director of solar energy at PSE&G, said: “One of the goals of our Solar 4 All program is to help support the growth and development of solar and related industries in New Jersey. So we were especially happy to include the battery technology from a fellow New Jersey company like Eos into a project that helps make our electric system and a piece of critical infrastructure more reliable and resilient.”

Construction of the storage system was a joint undertaking between Advanced Solar Products, Eos, and Siemens Energy Management.

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Energy Storage NewsPSE&G installs, commissions 1MWh battery system for microgrid project in New Jersey

China Central Government Energy Storage Policy Encourages Use of Large Vanadium Flow Batteries

on October 27, 2017

marketwiredTORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Oct. 25, 2017) – Sparton Resources Inc. (TSX VENTURE:SRI) (“Sparton” or the “Company“) is pleased to report that that the Chinese Central Government has recognized battery technology as the key technology in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

On September 22, 2017 the China National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) and the National Energy Commission (“NEC”), jointly released Document 1701, “Guidance on the Promotion of Energy Storage Technology and Industry Development”.

In this comprehensive and far reaching document, various private, State and Federal institutions, and energy generating utilities in China, are encouraged to support, further develop, and make expanded use of various forms of evolving energy storage technologies. The NDRC and NEC, in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and other relevant departments, have been mandated to coordinate, establish and improve measures to effectively promote energy storage initiatives.

China is the world leader in renewable energy power generation. The need for supporting energy storage programs, using various technologies, has been long recognized as part of China’s long-term planning. Document 1701 affirms that the storage industry is of strategic significance for building a modern, clean, low carbon, safe and efficient energy industry.

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Market WiredChina Central Government Energy Storage Policy Encourages Use of Large Vanadium Flow Batteries

Get Ready for Energy Storage Combinations We’ve Never Seen Before

on October 26, 2017

energy storage greentech mediaBattery storage is breaking into an ever longer list of grid-scale configurations, as new business cases arise.

Every major solar developer has begun at least contemplating storage paired with solar, even if few large projects have yet been built. GE has already paired batteries with its gas generators for fast-ramping grid services; it expects the setup to prolong the life of the gas asset.

Last week the roster of possibilities expanded when two companies announced new storage plant combinations: batteries with solar and wind power to provide consistent electricity in Australia, and a hydropower plant-plus-storage to tap the challenging PJM frequency regulation market.

The onus is on the developers to prove these newfangled plants can make money, but they’ve already expanded the range of uses for grid storage technology.

Wind and solar and storage, oh my!

Windlab and Vestas will develop a solar-plus-wind-plus-storage project in Queensland, Australia called the Kennedy Energy Park by the end of 2018. This will include 43.2 megawatts of wind capacity, 15 megawatts of solar and 2 megawatts of storage.

That’s the first system of its kind that’s been publicly announced, said Hong Durandal, a business analyst covering hybrid systems at MAKE.

A single control system will operate all three resources, to optimize energy production and availability. Vestas will provide a 15-year active output management service for the site.

“By pairing two different generating assets such as solar and wind with energy storage, the system is more reliable and flexible than individual standalone solutions,” Durandal said. “A wind-solar-battery system is more resilient against unforeseeable circumstances such as prolonged cloudy days with poor sunlight or days with low wind speeds.”

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GreenTech MediaGet Ready for Energy Storage Combinations We’ve Never Seen Before