APS Announces One of the Largest Battery Storage Initiatives in the U.S.

on February 28, 2019

Customers of Arizona Public Service (APS) will soon power their homes and businesses with solar after sunset thanks to three major clean-energy initiatives.

APS will add battery storage to its existing fleet of solar power plants, build new solar plants with storage and use storage to deliver cleaner energy to customers at times of peak energy usage. As a result, APS customers will be able to use solar energy even after the sun goes down. Family dinners, prime-time television and bedtime reading lights will all be powered by a cleaner energy mix.

“Arizona is already a national leader in solar energy. The challenge is, no one has figured out how to stop the sun from setting at night,” said APS Chairman and CEO Don Brandt. “As storage technology improves and declines in cost, we will increasingly be able to store the power of the sun cost effectively to deliver when our customers need it.”

APS already provides customers with an energy mix that is 50% clean and getting cleaner. These initiatives will add 850 MW of battery storage and at least 100 MW of new solar generation by 2025, for a total of 950 MW of new clean-energy technology.

“The Energy Storage Association congratulates APS for cementing its leadership among utilities by integrating energy storage into its system operations and realizing savings for consumers,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of ESA. “We especially applaud APS for partnering with third parties in this effort, sending a strong signal for businesses to invest in energy storage in Arizona. We look forward to that day when energy storage is the central tool for maintaining a reliable and resilient, efficient, sustainable and affordable grid.”

Adding Storage to Existing Solar Plants

APS owns and operates throughout the state large-scale solar plants that will be upgraded with 200 MW of battery storage systems. A team led by Invenergy will install six of the new battery systems at solar plants in Maricopa County and Yuma by 2020. The remaining two upgrades will be completed by 2021.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsAPS Announces One of the Largest Battery Storage Initiatives in the U.S.

Maryland Offers Energy Storage Tax Credit…Plus News About Schneider, ENGIE, Veolia And CleanSpark

on February 28, 2019

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) is accepting applications for its 2019 energy storage tax credit program, designed to boost use of the resource among households and businesses in the state.

Maryland made national news in 2017 as the first state to pass a bill allowing taxpayers to claim an income tax credit on energy storage devices. In the program’s first year, 61 residential customers and one commercial customer took advantage of the tax credit.

“We are encouraged with the performance of the program in year one, knowing that building on current energy storage technology is key to the state’s renewable energy future,” said Mary Beth Tung, MEA Director.

The energy storage tax credit is available to residential and commercial taxpayers who install a qualifying energy storage system on their property in 2019. For this year, MEA made available $300,000 for residential tax credits and $450,000 for commercial tax credits. Maryland makes the awards on a first come, first served basis.

The energy storage tax credit is calculated as 30 percent of the total installed cost of the energy storage system for up to $5,000 for residential systems and $75,000 for commercial systems.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 15, 2020

Schneider Electric, ENGIE, and Veolia lead on energy as a service
Navigant Research has identified Schneider Electric, ENGIE, and Veolia as leaders in energy as as service (EaaS), an approach that Navigant expects to grow into a $22 billion annual market by 2026.

The three companies are among 10 that Navigant examined in its new Leaderboard Report on use of EaaS by commercial and industrial businesses.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsMaryland Offers Energy Storage Tax Credit…Plus News About Schneider, ENGIE, Veolia And CleanSpark

Global Oil Plows Billions Into Solar & Energy Storage

on February 28, 2019

Global oil companies are plowing billions of dollars per year into solar and into energy storage, as more nations seek to switch their energy sources away from fossil fuels. In only 5 out of 15 acquisition deals done in solar over the past two years, over $8 billion was spent, according to an analysis by Mercom Capital Group.
Similarly, out of 7 funding deals by oil companies over the past two years, more than $240 million was provided to solar companies, Mercom calculates.

For battery storage investments, 6 acquisition deals were reported during the past two years, without values, Mercom says. During the same time period, 7 funding deals were done, involving nearly $133 million, Mercom says.

The largest of the oil investments into solar was by Germany’s E.on, with a $5.8 billion investment into Innogy, earning it a stake of 76.8% of the company in June 2018, Mercom shows. The next largest acquisition was by France’s Total, with a $1.7 billion investment in Direct Energie for a 74.3% stake.

The value of the largest oil investment in battery storage was not disclosed, but is likely the acquisition by the Netherland’s Shell of Sonnen, earlier this month. The largest funding operation of a battery storage company was a loan of $70 million from Shell in May 2018 for Sonnen.

Many more oil companies are in the solar and battery storage investment fray. Royal Dutch Shell has acquired a 44% stake in solar developer Silicon Ranch for $217 million, Chevron has made investments in solar, BP spent $299 million for a 43% share of Lightsource’s combined 1.4 gigawatts portfolio of wind and solar, and Total Energy Ventures owns 56% of solar panel manufacturer SunPower, and has invested about $160 million in 20 renewable energy startups including solid-state lithium-ion batteries, according to the Motley Fool.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsGlobal Oil Plows Billions Into Solar & Energy Storage

EPC Decmil Breaks Ground On 255MW Solar Farm In Australia, Energy Storage To Be Added

on February 27, 2019

Maoneng Australia has said energy storage can improve the reliability of solar and “minimise the technical and commercial impacts” of electric system modernisation, as the developer broke ground on a 255MW solar project in New South Wales, Australia.

EPC contractor Decmil announced that is has broken ground on the 255MW Sunraysia solar plant in Balranald, New South Wales, Australia. A large-scale grid-connected energy storage project, named Sunraysia Emporium, will be located adjacent to the solar plant, although further details have not yet been given.

Construction on the PV plant will require 350-400 workers, with the installation of more than 755,000 JinkoSolar PV panels mounted onto single-axis trackers from NEXTracker, more than 4,000km of cables and 100,000 piles over 800 Hectares. The PV project is expected to generate approximately 529GWh of energy per year when commissioned; which is the equivalent to powering up to 50,000 households.

The solar farm is connected to a 33/220kV substation co-located on-site where the energy is transferred to the Transgrid 220kV Balranald Substation. From there the energy is then transferred either towards Buronga/VIC or Darlington Point/NSW. As part of the works, approximately 400km of new fibre optic cable will be installed between the Buronga and Darlington Point substations to improve communication and control of the solar farm.

The project is supported by two Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) under which UNSW Sydney and AGL Energy (AGL) will purchase energy over 15 years. It reached financial close with John Laing in October last year.

“As a responsible renewable energy developer, we are cognisant of the impact which renewable energy has, both good and bad. To improve the reliability and to minimise both the technical and commercial impact of our developments moving forward, we aim to implement energy storage systems capable of time-shifting large amounts of energy throughout the day. Only by doing this, as a matter of best practice, will we be able to transition towards a 100% renewable energy future,” said Qiao Nan Han, VP of Maoneng Group.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEPC Decmil Breaks Ground On 255MW Solar Farm In Australia, Energy Storage To Be Added

Behind-The-Meter Energy Storage Surges Ahead Of Utility-Operated Batteries

on February 27, 2019

Behind-the-meter (BTM) energy storage—on-site options that allow energy customers to store capacity for use as needed—surged in 2018. In fact, for the first time, customer-operated BTM storage surpassed front-of-meter capacity (operated by electric providers) in the second quarter of 2018.

Multiple factors—including high demand charges, reliance on solar, changes to energy tariffs and lower storage costs—are driving the trend, according to industry experts.

Demand charges—the portion of an electric bill that reflect a customer’s peak level of demand—can account for 30 to 70% of a customer’s electricity bill. They typically are based on the highest average electricity use during a specific time period.

“[Storage] gives customers a lot of power over when they consume electricity during the day,” explained Eric Gimon, independent consultant and senior fellow at Energy Innovation. By storing energy purchased during low-cost periods, customers “can work around all kinds of schemes that utilities have for energy rates.”

“If my storage system allows me to reduce my consumption during the window when the demand charges are high, that can be very valuable,” noted Gimon, who predicts that the growth in BTM energy storage will be disruptive to the industry.

Increased reliance on solar power also is pushing interest in energy storage.

“You can buy a solar-plus-storage system where the storage evens out the output from your solar, and where the combined cost per kilowatt hour is cheaper than what the utility’s selling you,” Gimon said. “So, that’s getting people interested.”

As an example, in the next few years, the combination of solar and battery storage could supply an Arizona electric customer with 80 to 90% of their electricity needs less expensively than buying from their utility company, according to a McKinsey & Co. report.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsBehind-The-Meter Energy Storage Surges Ahead Of Utility-Operated Batteries

Senators Drafting Legislation To Include Standalone Energy Storage In ITC

on February 27, 2019

Federal and state officials stressed the importance of energy storage in the clean energy economy and the need for a supportive regulatory environment at the Energy Storage Association’s annual Policy Forum in Washington, D.C.

More than 200 energy storage industry stakeholders and leaders in attendance heard United States Sen. Martin Heinrich announce plans to introduce bipartisan legislation to expand the Investment Tax Credit to include standalone energy storage. He said that Sen. Cory Gardner would co-sponsor the bill.

“The deployment of storage needs to be at the center of our ongoing effort to move toward a cleaner and more reliable electrical grid,” Heinrich said. “We know that renewables grow from strong and enduring tax policy and I am proud to announce that I will soon be reintroducing the Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act.”

In 2018, cities and states across the country set ambitious targets to reach 100% clean energy, and energy storage will play a key role in helping them reach those goals. Keynote speaker Neil Chatterjee, chairman of FERC, discussed regulations that open the markets for storage to compete on a level playing field with other technologies. Specifically, FERC Order 841, which will be implemented in 2019, could dramatically boost the market for investment in energy storage.

“I believe in the potential of storage to be a transformative technology for our grid,” Chatterjee said. “Storage is a game changer. I see exciting potential to lower costs and enhance reliability for customers.”

Storage is already eligible for the federal ITC when paired with solar, but bipartisan, bicameral legislation would clarify the eligibility of standalone storage. In turn, this would level the playing field for all energy technologies and send economic signals that trigger long-term investment in the U.S. The energy storage industry supported over 90,000 jobs in 2017, according to the U.S. Energy and Employment Report, but an ITC would generate even more jobs across the nation. The ITC is scheduled to sunset in 2023, so experts expect more projects to come online in 2019.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsSenators Drafting Legislation To Include Standalone Energy Storage In ITC

Power Lines: The Next ‘Green New Deal’ Battlefront?

on February 26, 2019
E and News

If the goals of the “Green New Deal” are a political minefield, so, too, are the most likely strategies for reaching its target of very high national levels of renewable energy output.

A shelf of authoritative studies under the Department of Energy’s sponsorship dating back to George W. Bush’s presidency define how to take a big step in that direction. Their answer — build a network of long-distance, ultra-high-voltage transmission lines to widely share wind and solar power across the continent’s time zones.

But the strategy has faced overpowering headwinds of not-in-my-backyard opposition from residents and not-through-my-state political pushback. It’s also been rare for Congress to put aside partisan politics and pass major legislation facilitating transmission corridors.

“If you’re going to do a 100 percent clean energy portfolio — that is really 70 to 80 percent of electric power from renewables — I don’t know how you avoid huge transmission builds,” said Richard Sedano, president of the Regulatory Assistance Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank advocating a clean energy future. “It’s either that or overbuilding the system so much with surplus renewables and batteries” that consumers will be hammered.

“I don’t see how you have a national clean energy standard without significant federally mandated or incented transmission build cutting across regions of the country,” added Travis Kavulla, a former Montana utility commissioner and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, now with the R Street Institute in Washington, D.C.

DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) issued the Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study in 2010, with strategies to provide 20 percent of the electricity supply east of the Rocky Mountains from wind energy by 2024. It counseled: “The integration of 20 percent wind energy is technically feasible, but will require significant expansion of the transmission infrastructure and system operational changes.”

The most detailed of the analyses is NREL’s ongoing Interconnections Seam Study based on massive computer simulations of power flows. It outlined one scenario with three ultra-high-voltage direct-current lines spanning the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River, with other new lines moving western power eastward.

Because grid operators can control the direction of power flows on direct-current lines, surplus afternoon solar power from the Southwest could stream into Southeastern states at dusk. Other lines could ship unused wind energy from the Great Plains into major cities in the Great Lakes and East Coast regions, or the other way into California.

By linking time zones, the variability of wind and solar power at different times of day becomes a strength, not a weakness, explained project leader Aaron Bloom.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsPower Lines: The Next ‘Green New Deal’ Battlefront?

Direct Energy Signs PPA For 75-MW Solar Array In California

on February 26, 2019

California-based solar developer Sunpin Solar said that Direct Energy Business, a subsidiary of Centrica PLC, signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the full output of the recently completed 96.75-MW DC / 74.8-MW AC ColGreen North Shore Power Plant.

Situated on 485 acres of land in the city of Mecca, CA, near the Salton Sea, the project has been operational since January 2019. The ColGreen North Shore Solar Power Plant uses single-axis tracking and is interconnected to the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Utility grid. It is expected to produce around 210,000 MWh of energy per year.

Direct Energy’s PPA covers the full capacity of the solar project and will serve Direct Energy Business’ retail energy customers in California. This agreement is one of the first instances an energy service provider (ESP) has enabled a project of this size in California, according to the companies.

“Energy Service Providers like Direct Energy Business can enable investments in renewables to help California reach its energy policy goals,” said David Brast, Senior Vice President, North America Power and Gas, Direct Energy Business.

“As California continues to evolve into a competitive energy market, we will work with suppliers like Sunpin Solar to deliver more energy choices for our Direct Access and Community Choice Aggregation customers,” Brast added.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsDirect Energy Signs PPA For 75-MW Solar Array In California

Siemens Launches Home Energy Storage Battery

on February 26, 2019

With the Junelight Smart Battery, Siemens is offering its first battery storage specially geared to the requirements in private homes for the storage and use of self-generated energy.

The lithium-ion storage combines functions for intelligent and safe energy management and a modern design. Homeowners can use it to maximize the share of their self-generated energy, e.g. from photovoltaic systems, for their own consumption, to minimize their energy procurement costs and to make a long-term contribution towards the reduction of CO2 emissions.

The Junelight Smart Battery coordinates the predictive charging and discharging procedures depending on the weather-related yield forecast of the photovoltaic system and the individual consumption profile of the household.

Using the mobile Junelight Smart App, all energy flows – from production, through storage, right down to consumption and grid in-feed – can always be monitored in real time. The storage capacity can be flexibly adapted to individual needs at any time, encompassing up to 19.8 kWh. The Junelight Smart Battery is now available in Germany and will be launched in Austria in April 2019.

“More and more homeowners are generating their own solar power – and, in light of sinking feed-in tariffs and rising electricity prices, they want to use it completely for their own consumption wherever possible. The Junelight Smart Battery creates the technical basis for future-driven, sustainable and economical energy management within the home. This allows homeowners not only to lower their energy costs, they are also making a substantive contribution towards the success of the energy transition,” says Andreas Matthé, CEO of the Siemens Business Unit Low Voltage & Products.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsSiemens Launches Home Energy Storage Battery

Energy Storage Can Offset ‘Major Risky Infrastructure Investment’ Costs Of Electric Vehicles

on February 25, 2019

With carbon reduction goals a long way off from being met in Europe’s transport sector, energy storage can play a key role in coupling transportation and energy technologies, the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) has said.

The association has just published ‘Energy storage: a key enabler for the decarbonisation of the transport sector’, a position paper on how the continent should approach many of the issues associated with the rapid roll-out of electric vehicles (EVs) and their respective charging networks.

EASE argues that transport is the only sector where EU emissions reductions efforts have lagged, actually seeing a rise in carbon emissions since 1990. Electrification is underway, but without effectively managing electricity networks to accommodate the new vehicles and ways to power them with renewables, “significant stress and costs” could be incurred by this challenge.

For several years European trade events such as Energy Storage Europe and latterly US events such as Energy Storage North America have begun recognising the necessity and opportunity of sector coupling – not only between transport and electricity/energy but also with the heating and cooling sectors. However, EASE argues that the correct or most favourable regulatory frameworks and market designs to enable this closer cohesion do not yet exist.

The group makes a raft of recommendations for the regulatory treatment of electric mobility in general, such as arguing for free market competition for contracts to build chargers and charger networks, the recognition of EVs as an eligible energy efficiency technology, and recognition of the potential for electrification of mobility to contribute to overall environmental goals.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy Storage Can Offset ‘Major Risky Infrastructure Investment’ Costs Of Electric Vehicles