Centrica Celebrates Completion of 49MW Battery Project in England

on December 21, 2018

Energy-Storage-NewsCentrica has formally announced the completion of its 49MW Roosecote battery storage project, 18 months after construction started.

The energy major said construction of the project, one of Europe’s largest battery storage facilities, started in March 2017 and had now been fully unwrapped, just in time for Christmas.

The 49MW project is able to provide sub-second respond to fluctuations in demand and was among the 500MW of battery storage projects to have received a 15-year Capacity Market contract in December 2016 for the 2020/21 winter period.

Mark Futyan, distributed power systems director at Centrica Business Solutions, said: “The Roosecote site is truly unique, having been home to the latest technology of its time and is an exemplar of the transition we’ve made from dirty coal to cleaner, more flexible power. Christmas has indeed come early for our team!”

The site in Cumbria used to be home to a coal-fired power station that was later replaced by the country’s first combined cycle gas turbine.

It forms part of a £180 million (US$227.92 million) investment in flexible power on the part of Centrica, comprising a refurbishment and addition of a new gas turbine at the company’s King’s Lynn power station and two fast response gas-fired power stations.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsCentrica Celebrates Completion of 49MW Battery Project in England

Gates, Bezos Backing Alphabet Energy Storage Spinoff

on December 21, 2018

renewable-energy-magazineMalta Inc., which started as “Project Malta” at the Moonshot Factory, but is now an independent company, announced Wednesday that it has raised $26 million in a round of funding led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures with participation from other investors including Concord New Energy Group, a wind and solar power developer,  and Alfa Laval, a Swedish industrial company.

Bloomberg, of Bloomberg News fame, and Bezos, the founder of Amazon, are among Breakthrough Energy Ventures investors.

Microsoft founder Gates is the chairman of the fund, which also counts Masayoshi Son, the Japanese business magnate, and Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, as investors.

In a statement, Ramya Swaminathan, CEO of Malta Inc., said “Our investors share our vision to create a scalable storage solution that will facilitate further expansion of renewable energy while improving grid stability and resilience across the globe.

“Beyond capital investment, they are truly partnering with us to build a first-of-a-kind product. We appreciate their confidence in our strategy and in our team’s ability to execute on it,” Swaminathan said.

The infusion of funds will allow Malta to further develop a system that uses large containers of molten salt and cooler liquid to store electricity generated from variable sources such as solar and wind.

The system is based on well-established principles in thermodynamics for a system that stores electricity as heat in high temperature molten salt and cold in a low temperature antifreeze liquid.

While incubated at Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory, the project underwent a rigorous evaluation and de-risking process.

Swaminathan, who previously ran Rye Development, a Boston-based developer of renewable energy projects, said Malta will now work with industry partners to turn the detailed designs developed and refined at X into industrial-grade machinery for its first pilot system.

As currently designed, Malta’s system can store electricity for days or even weeks, until it’s needed. The electricity can come from any source (i.e. wind, sun, or fossil fuels) in any location.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsGates, Bezos Backing Alphabet Energy Storage Spinoff

President’s Council Urges Solar & Microgrid Use For Energy Security

on December 21, 2018

CleantechnicaRooftop solar communities may soon become the latest line of cybersecurity defense for America’s vulnerable electric utility industry, providing emergency power for local consumers while supporting the grid in the event of an attack-based outage. Indeed, a key recommendation in a recent President’s National Advisory Infrastructure Council report on cybersecurity and the grid is that solar and other renewable energy-based microgrids be developed for emergency preparedness.

At the same time that solar microgrids can provide refuge from electric grid hacking, the microgrids themselves need to implement security protocols to avoid the same sort of hacking, some experts point out.

In a draft version of the NAIC report, “Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage,” released in December, one recommendation is to “Support demonstrations of community enclaves design approaches, which may range from traditional hardening of infrastructure to microgrids that combine distributed energy resources, energy storage, and innovative consumer technologies.”

The NAIC report suggests that this can be achieved by “Deliver(ing) peer-reviewed results and lessons learned from demonstrations to provide utilities and communities with effective approaches to design, manage, operate, and fund microgrid and energy resilience capabilities.”

Some funding for such activity has already taken place. New Orleans, for example, won a grant from from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for $141 million in unused Hurricane Sandy recovery funds “to undertake the highest priority upgrades and implement advanced microgrid pilot projects in critical sections of the city.”

Rooftop solar and larger solar arrays are vulnerable to hacking through the inverter, which often has a web link to the equipment manufacturer, which provides a monitoring service to the customer, if not a link to a community solar or community aggregation operation center. This was recently highlighted in a November report by Ridge Global, a consulting firm founded by former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsPresident’s Council Urges Solar & Microgrid Use For Energy Security

Alphabet’s Hot Salt Energy-Storage Project Becomes its Own Company

on December 20, 2018

EngadgetAlphabet’s X division has played host to a string of experimental ideas, and another one is spinning out as an independent business. Malta uses cheap, abundant materials including salt, anti-freeze and steel to store power at grid scale.

Malta taps into the laws of thermodynamics to store renewable and fossil energy as heat in molten salt and cold in low-temperature anti-freeze until it’s needed — you probably still need electricity at night, when the sun isn’t shining on your local solar farm. The company is working on a pilot plant, backed by $26 million from its first funding round, which was led by a fund Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg are involved with.

Power storage is often a cumbersome, expensive problem, particularly for the likes of wind and solar farms. Providing them with a reliable, inexpensive way to keep electricity in reserve could cut down on waste, while helping renewable energy companies find the bandwidth to generate more power.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsAlphabet’s Hot Salt Energy-Storage Project Becomes its Own Company

Thermal Energy Storage: Material Absorbs Heat as it Melts and Releases it as it Solidifies

on December 20, 2018

Phys-OrgMIT researchers have demonstrated a new way to store unused heat from car engines, industrial machinery, and even sunshine until it’s needed. Central to their system is what the researchers refer to as a “phase-change” material that absorbs a large amount of heat as it melts and releases it as it resolidifies.

Once melted and activated by ultraviolet light, the material stores the absorbed heat until a beam of visible light triggers solidification and heat release. Key to that control are added molecules that respond to light by changing shape from one that impedes solidification to one that permits it. In a proof-of-concept experiment, the researchers kept a sample mixture in liquid form down to room temperature—fully 10 degrees Celsius below where it should have solidified—and then, after 10 hours, used a light beam to trigger solidification and release the stored thermal energy.

More than half of all the energy used to power mechanical, chemical, and other processes is expelled into the environment as heat. Power plants, car engines, and industrial processes, for example, produce vast amounts of heat but use a relatively small fraction of it to actually do work. And while sunlight delivers abundant radiant energy, today’s photovoltaic devices convert only a fraction of it into electricity. The rest is either reflected or absorbed and converted into heat that goes unused.

The challenge is finding a way to store all that thermal energy until we want to use it. Jeffrey Grossman, the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems and professor of materials science and engineering, has been working on that problem for more than a decade.

A good way to store thermal energy is by using a phase-change material (PCM) such as wax. Heat up a solid piece of wax, and it’ll gradually get warmer—until it begins to melt. As it transitions from the solid to the liquid phase, it will continue to absorb heat, but its temperature will remain essentially constant. Once it’s fully melted, its temperature will again start to rise as more heat is added. Then comes the benefit. As the liquid wax cools, it will solidify, and as it does, it will release all that stored phase-change heat—also called latent heat.

PCMs are now used in applications such as solar concentrators, building heating systems, and solar cookers for remote regions. But while PCMs can give off abundant heat, there’s no way to control exactly when they do it. The timing depends on the temperature of the air around them.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsThermal Energy Storage: Material Absorbs Heat as it Melts and Releases it as it Solidifies

Five Things You Need to Know When it Comes to Battery Storage

on December 20, 2018

energy-live-newsFor a subject that many have dismissed as too far into the future or not yet commercially viable, it seems there’s been a sudden change of heart.

Of all the demand-side-response related queries we receive, it’s always around battery storage that customers show the most interest.

Dan Connor, DSR Development and Delivery Manager at Energy HQ, npower Business Solutions , tells you all you need to know if you are interested in – or considering – battery storage as part of your overall energy management strategy.

Why any flexible asset can be used as a battery

For example, did you know that a cold storage system could be classified as a battery?

You can ‘charge’ it up by using extra power to reduce temperatures, then ‘discharge’ that stored energy at peak times by turning down your supply and letting your cold store warm up to your maximum permitted temperature.

Despite drawing the same grid consumption, reducing import power at peak times will deliver significant savings on peak import costs –– so reducing your overall energy bill.

Necessity drives battery market

The reason battery storage is getting so much attention is necessity. As coal-fired power stations go off line, so we lose that inertia that allowed us to balance the energy system.

The growth in renewable generation is also increasing the need for greater flexibility in the grid.

So finding new ways to balance energy supply and demand is crucial, especially as traditional methods of energy storage – i.e. hydro power stations – are already at capacity for the UK’s topography.

Understanding the technical details

Before you consider investing in battery storage, however, it’s worth increasing your understanding of how batteries work.

For example, the difference between the cells (which store energy) and the invertors (which allow you to access that energy). Also, how the relationship between the two gives you a battery’s C-rating, and what this means to your business.

Understanding the different ways you can use battery storage is also key – from load shifting to cost avoidance, revenue generation to directly-connected utility scale applications.

Any investment should also be supported by a clear view of return on investment. So it’s important to understand the value that each battery solution can potentially deliver – not only now but in five and ten years’ time.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsFive Things You Need to Know When it Comes to Battery Storage

Potential for 27,400 Energy Storage Jobs in New York: Report

on December 19, 2018

New York could support 27,400 energy storage jobs by 2030, according to a December report by the American Jobs Project and the New York Battery Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST.)

“There’s really a good collection of companies, universities and research centers to support the industry that can serve as seeds for the development of energy storage industry clusters,” said William Acker, executive director of NY-Best, a not-for-profit working to position New York as a global leader in energy storage.

“The New York Jobs Project: A Guide to Creating Jobs in Energy Storage,” offers policy recommendations to elevate local manufacturers and create good-paying jobs to complement state efforts to boost distributed energy.

3,450 energy storage jobs now in New York

Energy storage companies currently employ 3,450 workers and generate nearly $1 billion in revenue in New York, according to the report. The 27,400 jobs envisioned in the report include work in both manufacturing and installation.

Ackman said that NY-Best began working last summer with the American Jobs Project, a think tank focused on creating economic development in the advanced energy and manufacturing industries.

“We knew that there was a lot of momentum in New York to spur growth in the energy storage sector,” Ackman told Microgrid Knowledge. “The PSC [public service commission] for instance, just released a roadmap, an action plan, to open the market in New York State by establishing market rules, and we’re very eager to see, and help, develop an ecosystem that can realize the state’s goals.”

The report was released the same week that the commission approved new targets and strategiesto increase energy storage, several of them based on the roadmap.

Developing an energy storage industry ecosystem

The report identifies strategies to “address barriers and untapped opportunities” in the state’s energy storage industry.

The strategies include systemic support for entrepreneurs, access to capital, workforce development, and integration of efforts between suppliers, customers, policymakers and economic development organizations to attract investment and recruit businesses.

The two organizations have been reaching out to key stakeholders to help develop an energy storage industry “ecosystem” in New York.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsPotential for 27,400 Energy Storage Jobs in New York: Report

Energy Storage Inverter Shipments to Reach 3 GW in 2018, 7 GW in 2022

on December 19, 2018

PV-MagazineIn the recently published “Energy Storage Inverter (PCS) Report 2018”, IHS Markit revealed its findings and forecasts for the fast growing sector.

Overall, Germany-based SMA Solar Technology led the pack in terms of megawatts shipped in 2017 – around 400 MW, which is said to be roughly 200 MW more than its closest rival, South Korea’s Destin Power. Germany’s WS Tech ranked third, followed by U.S.-based Tesla and GE. Just one Chinese manufacturer made it into the top 10: Sungrow at #6.

Predictions are that shipments will increase over 50% this year, to reach 3 GW, while revenues will be almost US$400 million. IHS Markit’s solar and energy storage research manager Cormac Gilligan tells pv magazine that South Korea currently comprises 25% of the market, with the United States taking 14% and China 13%.

Looking to the future, Gilligan says that grid-connected energy storage inverter shipments are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 25% to reach just under 7 GW in 2022, while revenues should hit around $600 million.

In terms of sector, he says the ratios are expected to stay very similar, with utility-side of the meter comprising over half of sales, followed by commercial behind-the-meter and residential behind-the-meter.

The first sector is said to be driven by renewable energy credits, which promote the co-location of energy storage with solar, while the behind-the-meter segment is driven by demand charge reduction, particularly for C&I applications. “Additionally, Net Zero Energy Building and Facility (NZEB / NZEF) policy is also encouraging ESS deployment,” says Gilligan.

Key trends

Gilligan goes on to outline the key trends as anticipated by IHS Markit in the coming years. They include the growing global use of larger average power ratings, such as 1 MW+, in front-of-the-meter segments; and more DC-coupled or hybrid inverters that can handle both solar and energy storage in residential applications.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy Storage Inverter Shipments to Reach 3 GW in 2018, 7 GW in 2022

Pursuing A New Standard In Net-Zero Energy Plus Homes

on December 19, 2018

The vision of solar + storage, home automation and home building is coming to life in a small fishing community called Cortez, Fla., near the retirement and vacation communities of Sarasota and Bradenton. In Cortez, LEED residential developer Pearl Homes and sonnen, a market leader in smart residential energy storage, are teaming on a net-zero-plus and climate-positive community called Hunters Point.

The aim, according to Pearl Homes president Marshall Gobuty, is nothing short of making green living affordable to a wider market than has enjoyed it up to this point.

Hunters Point will feature 148 homes pursuing LEED Platinum certification. Each will feature rooftop solar panels, a new and affordable sonnen energy storage system, smart thermostat and electric vehicle charger. All these disparate elements will be controlled through sonnen’s energy automation and AI software platform.

This is the first instance of an energy storage system working in concert with Google Home in a master-planned community , capable of intelligently maximizing each home’s renewable energy. Those homes that have been built to this point are generating approximately 96 % of their own clean power. Being fully net zero is the goal.

In addition, Hunters Point will decongest the wires of the local utility grid, provide smart configurable backup for peace of mind in event of hurricanes and other disasters and deliver load-shaping through each day to support intelligent demand management.

The homes will be strategically designed to take fullest advantage of natural breezes for ventilation and cooling, further reducing need for fans and air conditioning.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsPursuing A New Standard In Net-Zero Energy Plus Homes

New York Moves Forward On Bold Energy Storage Goals

on December 18, 2018

solar-industryThe New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved two initiatives to dramatically increase New York’s energy efficiency and energy storage targets.

The new energy efficiency target for investor-owned utilities will more than double utility energy efficiency progress by 2025, reducing the state’s energy consumption by the equivalent of fueling and powering 1.8 million homes. The energy storage initiative sets New York on a trajectory to achieve 1.5 GW of storage by 2025, enough electricity to power 1.2 million homes, and up to 3 GW by 2030.

These targets were first announced as part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State clean energy agenda.

“As the federal government continues to ignore the real and imminent dangers of climate change, New York is aggressively pursuing clean energy alternatives to protect our environment and conserve resources,” Cuomo says. “These unprecedented energy efficiency and energy storage targets will set a standard for the rest of the nation to follow while supporting and creating jobs in these cutting-edge renewable industries.”

In June, Cuomo announced the state’s plan to jump-start the development of energy storage in New York, calling for the deployment of 1.5 GW by 2025.

To achieve the governor’s goal, the PSC has now adopted a comprehensive strategy to address barriers that have been impeding energy storage technologies from competing in the energy marketplace. These actions are intended to accelerate the market learning curve, drive down costs, and speed the deployment of the highest-value energy storage projects for maximum benefit to New Yorkers and the electric grid.

In addition to the 2025 goal, the PSC is adopting a secondary energy storage deployment goal of 3 GW by 2030, which was called for pursuant to legislation signed into law last year by Cuomo.

To further stimulate energy storage deployment across the state and spur private-sector investment, earlier this week, New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced it would invest $250 million over the next five years to accelerate the flexibility of the electric grid to give New Yorkers greater access to renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNew York Moves Forward On Bold Energy Storage Goals