DOE advisory panel’s energy storage report on hold

on February 28, 2018

A key advisory panel to the Department of Energy wants to move ahead on a biennial assessment required by law of how the agency is doing in its support of the U.S. energy storage technology.

But the committee is waiting to hear back from DOE on its response to recommendations in its last report from 2016 before it can move ahead in earnest, said Ramteen Sioshansi, a professor at Ohio State University and the chairman of the Energy Storage Subcommittee of DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC).

“My strong preference would be to have a response to the ’16 assessment before doing the ’18 assessment,” Sioshansi said. While waiting, his panel will “do a little bit of preliminary ground work on the ’18 assessment,” he said.

The storage subcommittee submitted its 2016 assessment in September of that year. The report made recommendations in 15 areas, ranging from program goals, demonstration projects and funding to the economics of energy storage and its interplay with current electricity market designs.

Typically, DOE has responded to such reports from the EAC or its subcommittees in a matter of months, accepting or rejecting recommendations.

“There was a lengthy transition period so I can understand some things may be taking a little longer to get out of the department, so that’s understandable from my perspective,” said Sioshansi. “I understand there are a bunch of eyes looking at [the response],” he added. “They want to put out a response that they’re happy with.”

The biennial assessment on energy storage is required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. It is supposed to evaluate how DOE is meeting the goals of a five-year plan to support energy storage industry efforts in electric drive vehicles, electricity transmission, and distribution and stationary applications.

At the meeting of the EAC in Arlington, Va., last week, during a segment on regulatory reforms, members of the committee were presented with a list of options, among which were doing away with the five-year plan and the assessments every two years.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsDOE advisory panel’s energy storage report on hold

Aqueous energy storage device promises rapid charging of portable electronics

on February 28, 2018

Researchers at Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a new type of aqueous energy storage device that they claim can be charged in less than half a minute.

Employing aqueous electrolytes instead of flammable organic solvents, the device is claimed to enable a boosting charge with high energy density, potentially making it suitable for a range of portable electronic devices.

According to the group, which was headed up by Prof Jeung Ku Kang from the Graduate School of Energy, Environment, Water, and Sustainability the system owes its performance to a design that assembles fibre-like polymer chain anodes and sub-nanoscale metal oxide cathodes on graphene.

Conventional aqueous electrolyte-based energy storage devices have a limitation for boosting charges and high energy density due to low driving voltage and a shortage of anode materials.

Energy storage device capacity is determined by the two electrodes, and the balance between cathode and anode leads to high stability. In general, two electrodes show differences in electrical properties and differ in ion storage mechanism processes, resulting in poor storage and stability from the imbalance.

The research team came up with new structures and materials to facilitate rapid speed in energy exchange on the surfaces of the electrodes and minimise the energy loss between the two electrodes.

The team made anodes with graphene-based polymer chain materials. The web-like structure of graphene leads to a high surface area, thereby allowing higher capacitance.

For cathode materials, the team used metal oxide in sub-nanoscale structures to elevate atom-by-ion redox reactions. This method realised higher energy density and faster energy exchange while minimising energy loss.

The device can be charged within 20 to 30 seconds using a low-power charging system, such as a USB switching charger or a flexible photovoltaic cell.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsAqueous energy storage device promises rapid charging of portable electronics

Energy storage breakthrough could boost EV range and slash charge time

on February 28, 2018

Electric cars could soon have as much range as petrol and diesel cars — and recharge in a matter of minutes — thanks to what researchers are calling a “breakthrough” in energy storage technology. Teams from Bristol University and Surrey University have created a new material for supercapacitors, which store electric charge, that could see EVs recharge in as little as 10 minutes compared to the eight hours it can take for EVs with lithium-ion batteries. And according to the researchers, it boasts enough energy density to see EVs surpass even the top range of current leading models, such as Teslas. Elon Musk himself has previously said a breakthrough in EV technology would likely come from supercapacitors, rather than batteries.

The technology was originally being developed for mobile devices — researchers wanted to create a transparent polymer for Google Glass-like applications — but once the team discovered the energy storage potential of the material it refocused its efforts. Now it believes the polymer could be more energy-dense than lithium ion, holding 180 watt-hours per kilogram, while lithium ion holds around 100-120 watt-hours per kilogram.

However, the technology has some drawbacks. Its capacity to charge quickly means it loses charge relatively rapidly, too. Leaving a supercapacitor car on your driveway for a month would see it lose most of its charge, for example. So it’s likely the first cars offering this tech would come with a small conventional battery, too. Nonetheless, while it may still be early days, this technology has the potential to eradicate some of the biggest barriers to EV take-up. According to Dr. Donald Highgate, research director for company Superdielectrics, which worked with the universities on the project, “It could have a seismic effect on energy, but it’s not a done deal.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy storage breakthrough could boost EV range and slash charge time

New York PSC takes steps to expand energy storage

on February 27, 2018

Utility-DiveNew York’s vision for cleaner a more distributed utility grid will rely heavily on energy storage, and last week regulators took two steps to help grow the resource.

The commission in a statement explained that the new rules for Con Edison “significantly increase” energy storage technologies’ ability to export power to the utility’s primary and secondary voltage distribution systems. According to PSC Chairman John Rhodes, the new rules crafted a more straightforward process to allow private energy storage systems to export electricity to ConEd’s distribution system.

In the commission’s second decision, regulators increased the maximum-rated capacity for storage projects from 2 MW to 5 MW. The change boasted support from several stakeholders including the Natural Resources Defense Fund, Pace Energy and Climate Center, Solar Energy Industries Association and Vote Solar.

The decision comes as Cuomo is targeting 1.5 GW of storage by 2025. But observers say the final number could be even higher, and will likely use 2030 as a target year to remain aligned with the 50% renewables goal set in its the state’s Clean Energy Standard.

To achieve the storage goal, the PSC and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority are developing an Energy Storage Roadmap. Commission staff are expected to release the report for comment in the second quarter.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNew York PSC takes steps to expand energy storage

Energy storage leap could slash electric car charging times

on February 27, 2018

The-GuardianResearchers have claimed a breakthrough in energy storage technology that could enable electric cars to be driven as far as petrol and diesel vehicles, and recharge in minutes rather than hours.

Teams from Bristol University and Surrey University developed a next-generation material for supercapacitors, which store electric charge and can be replenished faster than normal batteries.

This could allow cars to recharge in 10 minutes, rather than the eight hours it can take to replenish the lithium-ion batteries in current electric vehicles.

The technology has sufficient energy density to comfortably surpass the 200 to 350-mile ranges of leading battery-powered cars such as Teslas, according to its backers.

Dr Donald Highgate, the director of research at Superdielectrics – a company that worked with the universities on the research, said: “It could have a seismic effect on energy, but it’s not a done deal.”

Supercapacitors have existed for decades and can store and release power rapidly. Tesla’s Elon Musk has said a breakthrough in transportation is more likely to come from supercaps than batteries.

Superdielectrics was originally developing a polymer that could be transparent and hold electronic circuits for potential use in Google Glass-style applications.

But after realising the energy storage capabilities of the material, it changed tack in 2014 and has produced 10cm² demonstrations that can power a tiny fan or LED bulb.

There are drawbacks to the technology, however. If you left a supercap car for a month at an airport car park, it would have lost much of its charge by the time you returned, the researchers admitted. For this reason, they expect the first such cars to also have a small conventional battery.

The Bristol-Surrey teams believe the polymer they are using could be more energy-dense than lithium ion, holding 180 watt-hours per kilogram compared with 100W⋅h/kg-120W⋅h/kg for commercial lithium ion.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy storage leap could slash electric car charging times

Solar PV and Energy Storage to Propel the European Direct Current Power Market to 40 million by 2025, says Frost & Sullivan

on February 27, 2018

LONDONFeb. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Frost & Sullivan’s latest analysis, European DC Power Distribution Market, Forecast to 2025, finds the market is expected to reach $40.1 million in 2025 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.2% over the forecast period 2017-2025, driven by the increasing integration of solar photovoltaic system (PV) and energy storage in residential and commercial buildings. Despite combined savings opportunities from direct current (DC)-powered LED lighting and energy efficiency regulations and targets, the market is challenged by strong barriers such as existing AC infrastructures and lack of DC-ready end-user products.

“The United KingdomIrelandGermanyFranceSwitzerlandNetherlands, and Nordic countries will witness faster growth than other countries due to energy efficiency renovations and successful pilot project implementations,” said Anirudh Bhaskaran, Energy & Environment Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “Office, retail, and industrial warehouses will be immediate targets with LED lighting serving as the gateway for participants to enter the DC power distribution market.”

The analysis provides an assessment of disruptive trends and technologies, drivers and restraints, market share, and competitive analysis of significant players such as SiemensSchneider ElectricABBBosch, and Legrand. Revenue forecast by country and end-user vertical are also provided.

Strategic imperatives for success and growth include:

  • DC-powered LED lighting and USB-C complied electronic products are critical for successful implementation of DC power distribution in homes and commercial buildings;
  • Distributed energy sources and LED lighting are key growth opportunities for participants to create additional revenue in this highly emerging market;
  • Using LED lighting as a test bed for implementing DC power distribution in buildings due to its scalability and economic feasibility;
  • Focusing on buildings installed with solar PV and battery energy storage to convert full AC into hybrid AC-DC infrastructures;
  • Partnerships between end-use product manufacturers and DC infrastructure suppliers for the adoption of DC power distribution; and
  • Collaboration between governmentsindustry associations, and manufacturers to promote and accelerate DC power distribution in buildings.
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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsSolar PV and Energy Storage to Propel the European Direct Current Power Market to 40 million by 2025, says Frost & Sullivan

Energy storage remains key component of clean-energy agenda

on February 26, 2018

NJ-SpotlightIf New Jersey is going to achieve the Murphy administration’s ambitious clean-energy goals, storing the energy created by renewable power sources such as solar and wind will be crucial.

To that end, a controversial nuclear subsidy bill up for consideration today in committees and posted for a vote on Monday in the state Senate also sets goals of 600 megawatts of energy storage by 2021, and 2,000 megawatts by 2030.

Few are asking whether the energy-storage targets are achievable, even though the industry is just starting to deploy the technology, or what the costs could be, which are almost certain to be partly borne by utility customers.

But there is widespread consensus that energy storage not only makes intermittent sources of power like solar and wind more reliable — the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow — but also offers other benefits to ratepayers in the long run.

Meeting peak demand

With extensive commercial energy storage available, the power grid will no longer need large reserve margins of power ready to provide when electric needs peak, nor will there be as much need for expensive “peaker” plants, according to Paul Patterson, an energy analyst with Glenrock Associates.

That means cheaper costs to electric customers, predicted Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, who calls energy storage the forgotten child of the clean-energy revolution. “It will benefit ratepayers in the long term.”

But only if policymakers work out kinks in the regulatory system here in New Jersey that have frustrated state efforts to move the technology, which uses batteries to store energy produced by a wide array of sources, forward.

Three years ago, the state Board of Public Utilities gave out $3 million in grants to 13 projects to build energy storage alongside renewable energy facilities. None moved forward, caught up in a regulatory barrier imposed by PJM Interconnection, the operator of the regional power grid, according to Peter Peretzman, a spokesman for the state agency.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy storage remains key component of clean-energy agenda

FERC Historic Energy Storage Ruling: A Doomsday Countdown for Natural Gas Peakers?

on February 26, 2018

Greentech-MediaIf storage is the Swiss army knife of the electric grid, then U.S. energy regulators are breaking out their tool belts.

Last week brought a historic ruling at FERC. Commissioners told regional grid operators to create rules valuing the grid services of energy storage. Will it screw natural gas peakers — or maybe cut, saw, file, prune, hook or crimp them?

Later in the podcast, infrastructure redux. The White House’s infrastructure plan is out. When it comes to energy, the Trump administration is making pipelines a priority, and largely bypassing clean energy.

We’re heading down to Mexico for our final segment. GTM was there for our solar summit last week, and we’ll share a bit of insight into the forces behind one of the hottest — and cheapest — solar markets in the world.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsFERC Historic Energy Storage Ruling: A Doomsday Countdown for Natural Gas Peakers?

The Growing Energy Storage Market

on February 26, 2018

CleantechnicaThe InterSolar North American exhibit kicks off in San Francisco on July 10 this year. InterSolar is the global organization that brings everyone interested in solar power together to network and learn about the latest trends in the industry.

This year, a lot of the exhibitors and attendees will be talking about energy storage technology. According to GTM Research’s Energy Storage Monitor report for the fourth quarter of 2017, storage is the fastest growing segment of the solar market.

There are two basic types of energy storage – front of the meter, commonly known as grid-scale storage, and behind the meter, in which individual property owners and businesses make use of storage options installed on their own premises to better manage onsite solar systems and take advantage of lower utility rates available when demand for electricity is low. GTM reports that many more utility companies are beginning to include energy storage in their long-term planning.

All across America, states are making integrated resource planning a requirement for utility companies, or the companies themselves are including energy storage options in the rate proposals they are submitting to state regulatory agencies.

Looking down the road, GTM Research sees battery storage growing nearly tenfold in the next 5 years, from 295 megawatts in 2017 to 2.5 gigawatts in 2022, of which almost half is projected to be “behind the meter.”

Grid-scale energy storage allows utility companies to even out the flow of electricity sloshing around the utility grid. It will be a vital part of converting the utility industry from one in which a few large generating stations supply power to millions of customers spread over hundred of miles into one that features thousand of power producers who share their electricity locally.

That shift will usher in the era of many smaller microgrids linked by a few long-distance interconnecting transmission lines, which will reduce the cost of building and maintaining such a large energy grid with its many substations and transformers.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsThe Growing Energy Storage Market

FERC order opens ‘floodgates’ for energy storage in wholesale markets

on February 23, 2018

Utility-DiveThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week unanimously approved an order that could prove to be a landmark in the development of energy storage.

FERC’s order “opens the floodgates for storage participation” in wholesale power markets, Ravi Manghani, director of energy storage at GTM Research, said.

Order 841 directs operators of wholesale markets — Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs) — to come up with market rules for energy storage to participate in the wholesale energy, capacity and ancillary services markets that recognize the physical and operational characteristics of the resource.

A level playing field

“The rules will codify mechanisms that will establish a level playing field that, ideally, is relatively comparable across regions,” Daniel Finn-Foley, senior energy storage analyst at GTM Research, told Utility Dive.

FERC specifies that those rules must:

  • Ensure that a storage resource can provide all the services it is technically capable of providing,
  • Ensure that an energy storage resource can be dispatched and can set market clearing prices as both a buyer and a seller,
  • Account for the physical and operational characteristics of storage resources through bidding parameters or other means,
  • Establish a minimum size for participation in RTO/ISO markets that does not exceed 100 kW, and
  • Specify that the sale of electricity from the RTO/ISO markets to a storage resource that the resource resells must be at the wholesale locational marginal price.

FERC gave RTOs and ISOs nine months to file tariffs that comply with the order and another year to implement those tariff provisions.

Finn-Foley called the FERC rules “a starting point” for the development of energy storage projects in wholesale markets. “It is as if the industry has had one hand tied behind its back,” Finn-Foley said.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsFERC order opens ‘floodgates’ for energy storage in wholesale markets