North Carolina Panel Bullish on Energy Storage

on December 11, 2018

Energy storage will not only help North Carolina replace coal-powered electricity in the state in the coming decades but may also offset the need for new natural gas plants as well.

A study of the energy storage landscape was submitted to the state’s General Assembly in early December that will serve as a roadmap to help lawmakers and regulators fully develop the technology. North Carolina is currently in the initial phases of deploying energy storage facilities; however, the report authored by the team of university experts concluded that storing electricity could not only smooth out peak demand periods, but would also become a reliable everyday piece of the region’s fuel mix.

“In the moderate range of capacity, like the 300 megawatts (MW) of energy storage capacity that Duke Energy has proposed to build over the next 15 years, power storage could offset the construction of a gas power plant altogether,” said Jeremiah Johnson, a member of the report’s team of authors and an associate professor at North Carolina State University. “At the high end, more than a gigawatt (GW), you can offset the need for multiple power plants.”

The report notes that North Carolina is facing an increasing penetration of renewable energy amid pressure to decrease coal-fired electricity production. “We believe that now is the appropriate time to consider the role that energy storage may play in the state’s future power system. Energy storage can help ensure reliable service, decrease costs to rate payers, and reduce the environmental impacts of electricity production,” the report said.

A team of experts from North Carolina State and North Carolina Central University was given the task by the legislature of assessing the potential for energy storage in the state under a bill signed in 2017. The study team looked at a wide range of potential benefits and challenges to energy storage in a state where the technology is just getting off the ground.

The group was dubbed the NC Policy Collaboratory and looked at battery, stored hydropower, and ice thermal storage. Because of the ability needed to store electricity for literally a rainy day, the group focused on three issues: identifying regulatory steps needed to allow energy storage expansion to proceed, including assisting local governments with decisions on zoning and other land-use permitting; determining what policies are necessary to make energy storage cost effective; and recommending steps that will increase the pace of energy storage deployment.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNorth Carolina Panel Bullish on Energy Storage

MIT’s Sun in a Box Aims to Solve Energy Storage Problems

on December 10, 2018

In the quest for conserving energy, researchers are leaving no stone unturned. As far as recent efforts go, the most highly-publicized development has been the Tesla-created giant battery — the Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR) in South Australia — which recently reported savings of $40 million in its first year. However, the Neoen-owned HPR is still just a giant lithium-ion battery, and lithium is not in unlimited supply.

Fortunately, researchers at MIT have come up with a concept for what is being referred to as the “sun in a box.” Officially given the far less catchy name, of the Thermal Energy Grid Storage-Multi-Junction Photovoltaics (TEGS-MPV), the concept involves harvesting energy from heated silicon.

Sun in a Box

The Sun in a Box would consist of two storage tanks, one with comparatively cool silicon, kept at 1,920° Celsius (3,500° Fahrenheit), and the other with molten silicon kept at 2,370° Celsius (4,300° Fahrenheit). The silicon is kept at those temperatures using excess renewable energy from solar panels or wind farms.

When more energy is needed, the white-hot molten silicon is pumped through special tubes, causing them to emit light. The light is then picked up by multijunction photovoltaics — a type of solar cells — and converted into energy. As light is emitted, the silicon is cooled and ready to be passed back into the cooler storage tank, where it waits until more energy is needed and it is heated again to restart the process.

The Storage Units

Of course, the 33-foot wide tanks need to be incredibly insulated to store silicon at such high temperatures. As such, they are made of graphite, some of which reacts with the silicon to form silicon carbide, creating a thin protective layer ion the inside of the tank that keeps it lukewarm to the touch outside.

According to a statement issued by MIT, the researchers believe that each unit could be able to power a community of 100,000 homes solely on renewable energy. Asegun Henry of the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering explains that the sun in a box units are “geographically unlimited” and offer a more affordable version of renewable energy than hydroelectric which is currently the most inexpensive form of clean energy.

In discussing the potential for the TEGS-MPV, Henry posits, “We’re developing a new technology that, if successful, would solve this most important and critical problem in energy and climate change, namely, the storage problem.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsMIT’s Sun in a Box Aims to Solve Energy Storage Problems

Energy Storage Storm Grows in Strength

on December 10, 2018

PV-MagazineThe solar power pipeline is already popping, now the batteries needed to get us to 80% with wind+solar are starting to get down to the mad and exponential growth we’re told to expect.

Per the US Energy Storage Monitor, from Wood Mackenzie Renewables & Power along with the Energy Storage Association (ESA), total energy storage deployed expanded by 60% in terms of energy and 300% on a power basis in the third quarter of 2018 versus the prior year. However, given a strong Q2 both volumes as measured by energy and power were flat or declining in Q3 ’18 versus the previous quarter.

In total, 61.3 MW / 136.3 MWh of energy storage was installed during Q3 2018. California continued to achor the market, while Hawaii and New York had strong quarters. Behind the meter installations accounted for around 57-60% of the volume on a power basis deployed.

Going out mostly until 2023, the report noted that the front of the meter pipeline expanded to approximately 33 GW of power. This pipeline more than doubled from just over 15 GW reported at the end of the second quarter.

This pipeline does not include behind the meter deployments, and as noted in this report these represented approximately 60% of the volume this quarter. Future growth is expected to heavily expand on the utility scale.

For instance, PG&E recently approved four energy storage projects totalling 567 MW / 2.64 GWh. These include a 300 MW / 1200 MWh system by Vistra Energy, and a 182.5 MW / 1,095 MWh six hour system by Tesla, which are the largest battery projects seen by pv magazine USA staff in the United States to date.

The report estimates that $474 million worth of energy storage will be installed in 2018, and that by 2023, it will break $4.5 billion, representing 10X revenue growth over five years.

The report also suggested that the start of Massachusetts’ SMART program represents a “massive near term opportunity for solar-plus-storage”. The report forecasts that the program will lead toward 80 MW of energy storage installed in total, with Massachusetts’ installed storage expected to grow from 5.4 MW in 2018 to 54 MW in 2019.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy Storage Storm Grows in Strength

Molten Silicon Storage Enough to Power City, Says MIT

on December 10, 2018

PV-MagazineA team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has proposed a new energy storage concept, which they claim is far cheaper than current energy storage technologies. The MIT team points to the scalability of its so-called ‘sun in a box’ concept, saying that a single large system could power a small city of 100,000 households around the clock.

The new MIT storage concept taps renewable energy to produce heat, which is then stored as white-hot molten silicon. The U.S. researchers have dubbed the technology Thermal Energy Grid Storage – Multi-Junction Photovoltaics.

The technology uses two large 10-meter wide graphite tanks, which are heavily insulated and filled with liquid silicon. One tank stores silicon at a temperature of 1926°C. The “cold” tank is connected via a bank of tubes and heating elements to a “hot” tank in which liquid silicon at a temperature of 2370°C is stored.

Excess energy from an adjacent PV system, for example, is used to generate heat, via Joule heating – a process by which an electric current passes through a heating element – to bring up the temperature of the “cold” silicon and move it to the hot tank.

When electricity is needed, the molten white-glowing liquid silicon is pumped through an array of tubes that emit light. The tubes are routed past high-efficiency solar cells, called multi-junction photovoltaics, with the light from the molten silicon then being turned back into electricity. Through that process the silicon cools down and flows back into the “cold” tank, to be used again.

“One of the affectionate names people have started calling our concept is ‘sun in a box,’ which was coined by my colleague Shannon Yee at Georgia Tech,” Asegun Henry, the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering says. “It’s basically an extremely intense light source that’s all contained in a box that traps the heat.”

In the conceptual stages of the technology’s development, which material to make the storage tanks out of was a concern. Potentially using graphite was thought to be a risk due to the possibility that graphite and silicon could react at these high temperatures.

When the team built a miniature tank for testing purposes, they found that while the silicon did react with the graphite to form silicon carbide, the new material stuck to the tank’s inner walls, to create a protective layer. After that thin layer was formed no further reaction occurred, proving that the use of graphite tanks is viable.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsMolten Silicon Storage Enough to Power City, Says MIT

Experts Lay Out Options For Future of Energy Storage in North Carolina

on December 7, 2018

NCA team of experts from NC State University and N.C. Central University has released a report detailing energy storage options that the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) can use to inform energy policy. The report has short- and long-term implications for both power grid and renewable energy development in North Carolina.

The report stems from language in House Bill 589, which was signed into law in July 2017. The legislation called for a study to “address how energy storage technologies may or may not provide value to North Carolina consumers based on factors that may include capital investment, value to the electric grid, net utility savings, net job creation, impact on consumer rates and service quality, or any other factors related to deploying one or more of these technologies. The study shall also address the feasibility of energy storage in North Carolina, including services energy storage can provide that are not being performed currently, the economic potential or impact of energy storage deployment in North Carolina, and the identification of existing policies and recommended policy changes that may be considered to address a statewide coordinated energy storage policy.”

The NCGA assigned the study to the NC Policy Collaboratory, which was previously established by the state legislature to utilize and disseminate the environmental research expertise of the University of North Carolina system for practical use by state and local government. The Collaboratory delegated the report to a team of more than a dozen experts, primarily based at NC State, and the final version was submitted to the NCGA on Dec. 3.

The expert panel drew on a wide range of research, and solicited stakeholder input, to assess the benefits and costs associated with a range of energy storage technologies – from lithium-ion batteries to pumped hydro.

“The stakeholder input process was important to capture the views of the more than 200 interested organizations and companies that participated at some level in our research discussions and had a desire to understand how storage could impact North Carolina’s energy future,” says Steve Kalland, executive director of the NC Clean Energy Technology Center at NC State.

In terms of costs, the panel evaluated each of the available technologies based on current data. However, given the rapid – and ongoing – decline in lithium-ion battery costs, the team also included projected costs for that technology in 2030.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsExperts Lay Out Options For Future of Energy Storage in North Carolina

End of 2009 Feed-In Tariff Brings New Era for Japan’s Solar Homes

on December 7, 2018

Energy-Storage-NewsAround half a million residential PV system owners signed up to Japan’s feed-in tariff policy for 10-year contracts, that will soon expire, may be able to find new ways to benefit from their solar using battery storage.

The surplus electricity purchase system, as Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) describes the feed-in tariff (FiT), was introduced in 2009 as a means of broadening Japan’s energy mix to integrate higher shares of renewable energy.

Subsequent to the Fukushima nuclear accident that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, which resulted in the shuttering of the country’s nuclear generation capabilities over fears of safety, the country later introduced an even more aggressive subsidy programme to boost renewable generation.

The FiT introduced in 2012 resulted in multiple gigawatts of mainly large-scale solar (dubbed ‘mega solar’ by the Japanese industry) being developed, the country being the world’s number two PV market in 2013 and 2014.

However, while 2012 FiT contracts made electricity purchase from PV and other renewables mandatory by utilities for 20 years, the earlier introduced FiT applied only to surplus PV generation not being self-consumed at the host property and contracts were for just 10 years.

Kyushu Electric Power, one of Japan’s 10 major regional utilities – and grid operators – announced this week that it will begin a pilot programme to enable residential PV system owners to join a virtual power plant (VPP) via the use of batteries.

US manufacturer Sunverge, which was involved in several international VPP pilots before making the technology commercially available, has teamed up with Kyushu Electric Power and the network of home energy storage batteries the project partners hope to create will be controlled by Sunverge’s Dynamic VPP software platform. The project is aimed at creating a VPP offering that could be scaled up and applied widely across Japan.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnd of 2009 Feed-In Tariff Brings New Era for Japan’s Solar Homes

“Sun In A Box” Would Store Renewable Energy For The Grid

on December 7, 2018

MIT engineers have come up with a conceptual design for a system to store renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, and deliver that energy back into an electric grid on demand. The system may be designed to power a small city not just when the sun is up or the wind is high, but around the clock.

The new design stores heat generated by excess electricity from solar or wind power in large tanks of white-hot molten silicon, and then converts the light from the glowing metal back into electricity when it’s needed. The researchers estimate that such a system would be vastly more affordable than lithium-ion batteries, which have been proposed as a viable, though expensive, method to store renewable energy. They also estimate that the system would cost about half as much as pumped hydroelectric storage — the cheapest form of grid-scale energy storage to date.

“Even if we wanted to run the grid on renewables right now we couldn’t, because you’d need fossil-fueled turbines to make up for the fact that the renewable supply cannot be dispatched on demand,” says Asegun Henry, the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “We’re developing a new technology that, if successful, would solve this most important and critical problem in energy and climate change, namely, the storage problem.”

Henry and his colleagues have published their design today in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

Record temps

The new storage system stems from a project in which the researchers looked for ways to increase the efficiency of a form of renewable energy known as concentrated solar power. Unlike conventional solar plants that use solar panels to convert light directly into electricity, concentrated solar power requires vast fields of huge mirrors that concentrate sunlight onto a central tower, where the light is converted into heat that is eventually turned into electricity.

“The reason that technology is interesting is, once you do this process of focusing the light to get heat, you can store heat much more cheaply than you can store electricity,” Henry notes.

Concentrated solar plants store solar heat in large tanks filled with molten salt, which is heated to high temperatures of about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. When electricity is needed, the hot salt is pumped through a heat exchanger, which transfers the salt’s heat into steam. A turbine then turns that steam into electricity.

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Fractal Energy Storage Consultants“Sun In A Box” Would Store Renewable Energy For The Grid

Navigant Research’s Energy Storage Tracker Identifies Over 1,900 Projects in Latest Update

on December 6, 2018

BOULDER, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new report from Navigant Research tracks global energy storage projects, providing data on the country, region, market segment, capacity, status, technology vendor, systems integrator, applications, funding, investment, and key milestones of each project.

Energy storage grants stakeholders flexibility on the generation, transmission, distribution, and end-use sides of the grid. As a result, the energy storage landscape has grown increasingly sophisticated through 2018, marked by new types of projects that are being monetized by innovative business models. Click to tweet: According to a new report from @NavigantRSRCH, worldwide, more than 1,900 energy storage projects exist, marking an increase of about 200 projects since last year.

“Several new companies have entered the market across the energy storage value chain while legacy companies have sought to bolster their presence,” says Ian McClenny, research analyst with Navigant Research. “The growing need to modernize global electricity grids and the evolution of business cases for deploying storage ensure that this market will continue to grow quickly over the coming years.”

Other factors driving the energy storage market forward include the restructuring of electricity markets and an increase of variable generation sources. In addition, Navigant Research expects energy storage to increasingly become a viable option to meet changes in load, which will play a critical role in the structure and operation of the power grid.

The report, Energy Storage Tracker 4Q18, provides a comprehensive resource of global energy storage projects. The Tracker includes a database of 1,935 projects and tracks the country, region, market segment, capacity, status, technology vendor, systems integrator, applications, funding, investment, and key milestones of each project. In addition, the report includes an analysis of the technology choice within each major region for energy storage, analysis of the leading regions for energy storage capacity and projects, and market share analysis for technology vendors for deployed projects and projects in the pipeline. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNavigant Research’s Energy Storage Tracker Identifies Over 1,900 Projects in Latest Update

The Shifting Makeup of the Fast-Growing U.S. Energy Storage Market

on December 6, 2018

The U.S. energy storage market continued its rapid expansion in the third quarter of 2018, and new state storage incentives and mandates and FERC Order 84 have doubled the country’s pipeline of projects to a record-setting 33 gigawatts. But battery supply constraints, slower than expected progress by some utilities, and new fire codes in the key market of California are headwinds facing the industry through this and next year.

These are some of the key data points from the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor released this week by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Energy Storage Association (ESA), which reported 61.3 megawatts and 136.3 megawatt-hours of storage deployed in the third quarter of the year. These are slightly below the second quarter’s figures, but nearly twice the scale of projects reported from the same quarter last year.

And the types of projects being deployed has shifted over the past year as well. For example, the third quarter’s front-of-meter, utility-scale battery projects were down 14 percent year-over-year when measured in terms of their megawatt power ratings. But in terms of megawatt-hours – how long they can provide their rated power capacity – the projects deployed in the third quarter were up 178 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

This is largely because, unlike the short-duration frequency regulation projects that have made up the lion’s share of historical front-of-meter deployments, more recent projects are starting to tackle longer-duration challenges such as providing capacity and load shifting. Four-hour systems are becoming the norm for front-of-meter projects, the report noted.

In terms of sheer duration of storage deployed, 2018 hasn’t yet caught up to the records set by the massive Aliso Canyon procurements in California during late 2016 and early 2017. But a host of policy and market developments are setting the stage for faster storage growth, such as Arizona’s continued push into solar-plus-storage projects, Xcel Energy’s plan for 275 megawatts of batteries to support nearly 2 gigawatts of wind and solar power, or NV Energy’s plan for 100 megawatts of storage to accompany more than a gigawatt of new solar.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsThe Shifting Makeup of the Fast-Growing U.S. Energy Storage Market

Battery Energy Storage System Uses Artificial Intelligence to Lower Energy Bills and Provide Utility Grid Services

on December 6, 2018

Power-MagazineNEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2018 — Peak Power Inc., a leading energy services provider, announced today that it has successfully completed the installation of 375 kW / 940 kWh of battery energy storage with GHP Realty, a division of Houlihan-Parnes Realtors, LLC, at their headquarters at 4 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains, New York. This project was funded in part through an incentive from a Con Edison Energy Efficiency program.

“Peak Power is proud to partner with GHP Realty, a well-respected leader in the New York real estate community,” said Derek Lim Soo, CEO of Peak Power. “The electric industry is changing and energy storage systems can add tremendous value by reducing costs for building owners, while providing added resiliency and fast response grid services to the utility.”

This project represents one of the largest energy storage installations in a commercial building in New York. It features Lockheed Martin’s Gridstar 2.0 energy storage technology, paired with Peak Power’s intelligent software platform, Synergy. The Synergy software optimizes the operation of distributed energy assets such as battery energy storage, electric vehicles, and solar. It forecasts moments of peak demand on the grid through the use of Big Data and Machine Learning, a form of Artificial Intelligence. This project also utilizes Peak Power’s Building Insight Platform (BIP) which uses internet embedded sensors within the building as part of a comprehensive energy management system.

“This project offers a glimpse into our clean energy future in which customers will have reliability and resiliency,” said Vicki Kuo, director of Energy Efficiency for Con Edison. “The owners of this building took advantage of our incentive program to install a technology that will lower their energy costs and enable them to earn revenue by reducing their usage when demand on our grid is high.”

The energy storage system will generate significant long term savings and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from electricity use. It will also help reduce the need for power from Con Edison’s grid at times when the demand for electricity is high, which usually occurs on hot summer days. That will help Con Edison keep its service reliable for its 3.4 million customers in New York City and Westchester County. Energy storage systems are crucial for the future of the electrical grid to more effectively and efficiently balance variable generation with demand.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsBattery Energy Storage System Uses Artificial Intelligence to Lower Energy Bills and Provide Utility Grid Services