Off-Grid School Australia’s First to Run 100% on Solar, Battery Storage

on October 26, 2018

A new-build school in the northern coastal suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, has become the first in Australia to be powered 100 per cent by rooftop solar and battery storage.

Atlantis Beach Baptist College in Two Rocks – which opened for business in February 2017 – sources all of its power, 24/7, through 20kW of rooftop PV and 30kWh of battery storage. Solar heat pumps are used for hot water.

The off-grid school initially chose to operate on diesel fuel generators, because the cost of connecting to the grid in early 2017 – around $250,000, according to the school’s principal – was ruled out as economically unfeasible.

The switch to solar – which was completed this month – was coordinated by Sydney-based company Upstream Energy, allowing the College to switch to solar and storage for no up-front cost.

To pay for the system, ABBC buys the solar power at a fixed rate from Upstream each month, just as it would do for grid power, with an electricity retailer.

Upstream says the solar and storage system – currently quite small – will grow in line with the campus, as more students enrol and more buildings are built. Upgrades will also come at nil capital cost.

At this stage, the school caters to students from pre-kindergarten to Year 10.

“The annual energy consumption of the campus is approximately 25,000kWh and the new solar and storage system will deliver up to 32,390kWh of sustainable energy at a substantially lower cost than what it would cost … to procure a grid connection,” Upstream Energy managing director Nathan Begley told the North Coast Times.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsOff-Grid School Australia’s First to Run 100% on Solar, Battery Storage

Engie Reuses EV Batteries for Energy Storage Project

on October 26, 2018

French multinational electric utility Engie has deployed an energy storage system in Holland that is powered entirely by second-life batteries from Renault electric vehicles.

The 150 kW/90 kWh E-STOR system in Rotterdam has been developed by UK energy storage technology developer Connected Energy and has been installed on a section of the TenneT distribution network.

The Rotterdam project is the first part of a three-stage project by Engie and Connected Energy. This first step is a seen as ‘proof of concept’, designed to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of using E-STOR second-life battery systems for frequency response services.

Engie says the results so far “are extremely positive: E-STOR has been proven to integrate seamlessly into Engie’s flexibility pool of industrial assets and has already generated its grid balancing revenues”.

In a wider context, the project is part of the Re-Use Re-Power initiative developed by Engie. Phase 2 and Phase 3 will see Engie and Connected Energy deploy much larger E-STOR systems at other sites in Northern Europe for grid balancing services.

The deployment at Rotterdam is also significant at a technical level: the E-STOR utilises a new system architecture which enables second-life electric vehicle batteries to be operated in series, which the company says thereby increases power and capacity while reducing cost.

A control room has also been built where the operations of the system can be demonstrated.

Connected Energy chief executive Matthew Lumsden said: “We are delighted with the positive results and feedback from the first stage of this exciting journey with Engie. Our second-life E-STOR battery containers have been proven to deliver on a technical and economic level: they should provide a guaranteed 10-year service in the frequency market with a substantial cost benefit versus new batteries.

“This is just the start of sequence of much bigger system roll-outs – 2019 is looking extremely promising indeed.”

Marcel Didden, project manager of the Re-use and Re-Power project, said: “Using second life car batteries is known to have technology challenges due to the different ageing history of the batteries. As this Rotterdam unit has been approved by the Dutch TSO to provide frequency reserve, Connected Energy has proven to manage these complexities.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEngie Reuses EV Batteries for Energy Storage Project

Tesla Admits to Cell Supply Constraints As Energy Storage Ramps Up

on October 25, 2018

Energy-Storage-NewsAs well as Elon Musk remarking that the company may have had its “best ever quarter” for solar since the SolarCity takeover, Tesla’s energy storage deployments have enjoyed a ramp up, while a fellow exec hinted the stationary battery business is constrained by cell supply.

The solar roof tile remains delayed from reaching volume production until next year. Nonetheless, in an earnings call with analysts, Musk commented that “we saw higher revenues and better profitability in our energy business. In fact, it may have been our best quarter ever for solar”. Tesla CTO and self-professed battery tech fanatic JB Straubel said later in the call that cell supply is “somewhat tight” for the energy business which includes the Powerwall and Powerpack residential and grid storage products.

Tesla reported third-quarter energy storage deployments of 239MWh, an increase of 18% from the previous quarter (203MWh) and 118% compared to the prior year period. Energy storage continues to be the major catalyst in the segment revenue growth, which reached the second highest ever level of US$399.3 million. The company touted that due to the storage install growth, tripling of energy storage deployments in 2018, compared to 2017 was on track, despite expected seasonality issues in the fourth quarter of 2018. Supporting the growth claims was the eventual increase at Gigafactory 1 of its Powerwall production in the quarter, which was having an effect on reducing its order backlog. has reported on several grid-scale projects supplied or soon to be supplied with Tesla’s Powerpack battery systems during the quarter, including a contract to deliver a 52MWh storage system for a 280MW wind farm in Australia, the inauguration of New Zealand’s first grid battery storage facility and an order from Amazon for a 3.77MW system at the retail giant’s ‘fulfilment centre’ in Tilbury, England. Meanwhile the 129MWh battery Tesla put into operation in South Australia a few months ago is reportedly generating healthy revenues as well as network cost savings.

Julian Jansen, senior analyst, Energy Storage at IHS Markit pointed out that “strategically, it’s quite simple” for Tesla to serve both the C&I and front-of-meter market segments with the Powerpack, which is scalable to either or both sets of applications. This includes acting as supplier and integrator of Powerpack systems in the US C&I market for projects developed and operated by AMS (Advanced Microgrid Solutions). Jansen said that partnership alone equates to more than 100MWh of operational Powerpacks, based on publicly announced figures from AMS.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsTesla Admits to Cell Supply Constraints As Energy Storage Ramps Up

Pumped Storage: The World’s Most Effective Battery

on October 25, 2018

Power-MagazineThe world’s biggest and most effective battery, hydroelectric pumped storage, is more in demand than ever. The technology that uses water in an upper and lower reservoir to store and provide energy on demand is proving an important player in the rapidly changing global energy market.

The biggest driver for energy storage is the need for a reliable clean energy source that can ensure the success of the global movement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). It is estimated that the pumped storage market size will surpass $390 Billion by 2024. The demand can be seen from Australia to California, the United Kingdom to China. Pumped hydro, which already accounts for 97% of installed energy storage capacity, is rapidly growing.

The push for GHG reductions and the need for energy storage at national, state, and local levels around the world continues to be the biggest market drivers in a changing energy mix. In 2016, the Paris Climate Agreement brought 195 nations together to move forward in this push. Recently the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IGCC) painted a bleak picture . The Paris agreement is not enough.

Communities are increasing the number of intermittent renewables that need large-scale energy storage options to integrate them into the electricity market, making energy available when people need it and storing excess generation when the wind blows and the sun shines, but there’s no demand for the power. While batteries, compressed air and fly-wheels are small-scale energy storage solutions, pumped storage remains the most reliable and most impactful scalable solution.

Obstacles to Meeting the Need

Despite an increase market demand for pumped storage, several obstacles continue to plague the industry. In the United States one of the biggest issues is the long and arduous licensing and permitting process for hydropower projects. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued only a small handful of pumped-storage facility licenses in recent years. It can take up to five years just to get the approvals for a project, before construction can start. There must be more integration of federal and state agencies into the early-stage licensing process for these projects. Additionally, alternative streamlined licensing processes for low-impact pumped storage hydropower, such as off-channel or closed-loop projects with minimal environmental impacts, are needed.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsPumped Storage: The World’s Most Effective Battery

Optimizing Natural Gas Generation With Energy Storage

on October 25, 2018

Utility-DiveThe 21st-century grid is transforming faster than anyone imagined ten years ago, when natural gas seemed to be our power source of the future. Today, with ever-dropping prices in renewables and storage, the future is being re-defined.

A decade ago, the advent of horizontal drilling made natural gas the darling of the U.S. power sector, and for many good reasons. Natural gas lends itself to providing both steady baseload and easily dispatchable peak load power. Inexpensive, domestically produced and significantly lower in emissions than coal, natural gas was lauded as an abundant, cost-effective vehicle for enabling the lengthy transition to a renewables future that the domestic power sector faced. However, it now appears that the transition is happening much sooner than anticipated. As the deployment of renewables plus energy storage accelerates exponentially across the country, utilities are recognizing the proven ability of storage resources to supplement and, in some cases, completely replace gas-fired generation.

Stiff Competition from Renewables and Storage

In North America, natural gas is no longer necessarily the most cost-effective nor lowest-carbon energy resource to deploy. While gas will remain an important fuel source for a diverse generation base for years to come, it is facing competition. In early 2017, for example, for the first time in history, low-cost, clean electricity from Midwest-based wind turbines supplied over 50% of all power to the grid across 14 states in the central United States, from Montana to Texas. Utility-scale solar prices in the U.S. have fallen 73% since 2010, with average prices (not including subsidies or tax credits) at $45/MWh – and as low as $23/MWh in solar-rich southwestern states. Mexico’s 2017 solar auction resulted in the lowest price seen the world has seen to date: $19.18/MWh. Globally, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has stated that renewable energy technologies should be competitive on price with fossil fuels by 2020.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsOptimizing Natural Gas Generation With Energy Storage

South Africa Makes Huge Distributed Energy Storage Commitment

on October 24, 2018

Energy-Storage-NewsSouth Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom has unveiled its Distributed Battery Storage Programme at an event this week, committing to solar-plus-storage and energy storage projects totalling 1,400MWh.

Last week, Eskom released its environmental and social management framework study (ESMF) for the programme, published in conjunction with the African Development Bank Group. The bank will assist the funding for the programme, along with the World Bank.

The wide-ranging plan will see storage deployed across all nine provinces of South Africa, in two phases of development and construction:

Phase 1: 800MWh of battery energy storage will be deployed along distribution sites operated by Eskom in Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal at various points. These projects are scheduled for completion by December 2019.

Phase 2: 640MWh of battery energy storage will be deployed in combination with 60MW of distributed solar PV. Projects will be deployed across all of the nine South African provinces, scheduled for completion by December 2021.

Meanwhile, the ESMF study lays out details of the plan and discusses the social, economic and environmental risks associated with it, making recommendations and taking appropriate measures to mitigate those risks. Eskom and South African environment authorities will be responsible for implementing the risk mitigation aspects of the ESMF.

The ESMF published last week, however, deals only with Phase 1 of the plan, although Eskom said the process for Phase 2 is expected to be along similar lines. Eskom said it anticipates its Capital and Monitoring Committee (GCIMC) to conduct and publish the Phase 2 ESMF by August 2019.

Batteries selected from list of contenders

From a range of technologies that included thermal and mechanical energy storage systems, Eskom determined that electrochemical batteries would be the “preferred solution to meet strategic requirements”. This included what it categorised as solid state batteries e.g. lead acid and lithium-ion (with the market currently skewed towards ~85% lithium by deployments) and flow batteries including zinc bromine flow, vanadium redox and sodium-sulphur batteries of the type exclusively made by Japan’s NGK Insulators.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsSouth Africa Makes Huge Distributed Energy Storage Commitment

New York Energy Storage: Destination Clear, Road Unsure

on October 24, 2018

Utility-DiveAs New York draws closer to becoming the fourth state in the nation to implement an energy storage target, stakeholders agree on the destination, but not on how to get there.

Among the issues still being hammered out are the extent of a bridge incentive for energy storage, a contract offering requirement for distribution providers, and the possibility of a central, state-run purchasing agency for the output from energy storage projects.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, has called for a 1,500 MW energy storage target, but when the state released its Energy Storage Roadmap in June, it became clear that the target could be as high as 3,000 MW.

Since then, Cuomo has bolstered the prospects of both energy storage and his goal to have the state source 50% of its power from clean energy sources by 2030 by making available $40 million to support projects that combine solar power and energy storage.

The Roadmap’s goals are “very achievable, provided there is certainty on how storage assets can make money.”

James Marshal

Market Applications Analyst, Fluence

Meanwhile, the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) has fielded comments from stakeholders in preparation for the expected December release of its order implementing the Energy Storage Roadmap.

Anticipating the implementation order

In filed comments, stakeholders generally applaud the governor’s goals, but indicate that there are some significant issues that need to be settled before energy storage takes off in the Empire State.

Many developers of energy storage projects are concerned about their access to dual or multiple markets as a way of guaranteeing sufficient revenues to support their projects.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNew York Energy Storage: Destination Clear, Road Unsure

Australian State of Victoria Inaugurates First Grid-Scale Project Through Energy Storage Initiative

on October 24, 2018

Energy-Storage-NewsA 30MW / 30MWh battery energy storage system has been inaugurated with a ceremony in Victoria, Australia, with one project partner describing the switching-on as “a real watershed moment in the continuing modernisation” of the state’s energy supply.

This morning, Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio officially opened the battery energy storage system (BESS) at Ballarat Terminal Station, Warrenheip. The lithium-ion battery project was announced in March this year, along with another 25MW/50MWh project at the 60MW Gannawarra Solar Farm.

At the time of that announcement in March, AES-Siemens joint venture company Fluence was announced as supplier of the Ballarat system, part of a consortium which includes developer Spotless (now Downer-Spotless, having been taken over by the former company), electricity and gas supplier EnergyAustralia and energy delivery company AusNet. Meanwhile the Gannawarra project is being supplied with its battery system by Tesla along with developer Wirsol and project owner Edify Energy.

The two projects are being funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Victoria’s government, with each organisation matching the AU$25 million (US$19.31 million) commitment of the other. The electricity transmission terminal at Ballarat is congested, particularly at peak times, meaning the storage system can help stabilise the grid by drawing power at times of peak generation and push it out again when demand peaks. The batteries could also prevent the need for expensive substation upgrades. Both battery projects will be operated by EnergyAustralia through long-term power purchase agreements (PPA).

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsAustralian State of Victoria Inaugurates First Grid-Scale Project Through Energy Storage Initiative

Energy Storage Seen As An Enabler for Grid Modernisation in Realising IRP 2030 Vision

on October 23, 2018

Creamer-MediaThe advent of technologies such as energy storage, small-scale embedded generation and smart grid solutions are set to fundamentally change South Africa’s electricitylandscape, outgoing Eskom generation group executive Thava Govender said during an opening address at the SA Energy Storage conference on Tuesday.

“The challenge we face today is making this invisible produc tcalled electricity visible. Once visible, electricity can be better directed and optimised. Energy storage offers the means to make electricity visible.”

The recently released draft Integrated Resources Plan 2018 targets an electricity generation mix that comprises 20% renewables by 2030, thereby confirming that South Africawill continue to integrate intermittent and variable energy sources.

“Those 2030 visions increase the need for advanced grid management mechanisms and revised grid operating philosophies to ensure the South African grid is flexible, robust and reliable,” Govender said.

He added that energy storage provided a multitude of solutions to enable a smooth transition to grid modernisation, while providing utilities with capabilities such as load shifting and backup and reserve capacity.

Govender stated that energy storage must not be considered a form of energy generation, and is probably the reason why the IRP has not quantified the requirement or mentioned the integration of energy storage, since it is rather a tool used to realise or optimise a particular form of electricity generation.

Moreover, he explained that there is immense value in battery storage. He said the African continent is rich in natural mineral resources that are used in manufacturingbatteries for energy storage.

“With Southern African Development Community countries possessing an abundance of vanadium, lithium and cobalt, it renders Africa a key player in the battery manufacturing industry globally.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy Storage Seen As An Enabler for Grid Modernisation in Realising IRP 2030 Vision

Battery Storage Funding Climbs in 2018

on October 23, 2018

PV-Magazine2018 has been a good year so far for battery storage. Not only is the U.S. residential storage market booming, but an extension of the Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) in California is paving the way for ongoing growth over the next five years.

But even before the SGIP extension passed, the dollars were flowing into energy storage. According to Mercom Capital’s 9M & Q3 2018 Funding and M&A report for Storage, Smart Grid and Efficiency, in the first nine months of 2018 funding increased in two key categories for battery storage.

According to the report, venture capital funding for battery storage increased 39% during the first nine months of 2018 to $469 million in 23 deals, while debt and public market financing grew 156% to $446 million.

By contrast the volume in project funding deals fell sharply, however Mercom Capital CEO Raj Prabhu says that this likely reflects the limited information about funding levels for battery projects more than anything else.

“Not everybody goes out and discloses information,” Prabhu told pv magazine.

The top five VC deals for battery storage in the first nine months of 2018 were all above $60 million each:

  • $100 million raised by QuantumScape
  • $80 million raised by Stem
  • $71 million raised by sonnen
  • $70 million raised by Sila Technologies
  • $65 million raised by Ionic Materials

Battery storage is already showing market momentum, and this is only expected to increase when wholesale markets begin to open to the technology via FERC Order 841.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsBattery Storage Funding Climbs in 2018