MHPS, Magnum Will Build 1-GW Renewable Energy Storage Facility in Utah

on May 31, 2019

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Magnum Development, the owner of a large and geographically rare underground salt dome in Utah, have teamed to develop a massive project that could store up 1,000 MW of renewable energy year-round and provide it to variability-challenged Western power markets.

The companies this week signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop the $1 billion Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in Millard, in central Utah, MHPS CEO Paul Browning told POWER on May 30. The project has the backing of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R), who lauded the project for its potential to “put Utah on the map as the epicenter of utility-scale storage for the Western U.S.”

ACES will comprise a series of facilities above and within the Magnum Salt Dome, a geologic formation that was tectonically developed from a bedded salt deposit, and which seismic mapping suggests measures at least one mile thick and about three miles wide. Magnum has proposed future facilities at the site that could form a “Western Energy Hub”—essentially a series of mined caverns capable of storing natural gas, compressed air, and liquid energy products underground.

“With five salt caverns already in operation for liquid fuels storage, Magnum is continuing to develop compressed air energy storage (CAES) and renewable hydrogen storage options,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “Strategically located adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project, the Magnum site is positioned to integrate seamlessly with the Western U.S. power grid utilizing existing infrastructure,” it noted.

MHPS, meanwhile, is looking to build facilities to convert renewable power from Western power markets into renewable hydrogen, which would then be combusted at a 600-MW JAC-series combined cycle power plant it plans to build with a partner above ground at ACES. ACES will also be outfitted to harness CAES stored at the caverns, and MHPS plans to supplement the facility with solid oxide fuel cells and large-scale flow batteries, to ensure it can store energy 24/7, 365-day and flexibly dispatch as much as 1,000 MW at grid-scale to balance variability from renewables that are increasingly flooding Western markets.

Browning told POWER that the companies plans to build an initial 250-MW phase of underground storage by 2025. The project is currently in the development phase, and MHPS still needs to find partners to build the power plant, as well as suppliers for the solid oxide and flow battery technology.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsMHPS, Magnum Will Build 1-GW Renewable Energy Storage Facility in Utah

‘World’s Biggest’ Energy Storage Project Planned For Utah

on May 31, 2019

Mitsubishi is leading an ambitious project to develop what it claims will be the world’s largest energy storage project.

The venture will take advantage of salt caverns owned by Magnum Development.

While lithium-based technology dominates the utility-scale battery market, the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project will look to develop four competing technologies with no lithium in sight. It will have the equivalent power rating of 1GW. The energy storage capacity figure, in GWh, has not been provided. A 100MW system has been installed in the UAE with similar sized projects in Australia and China also.

The hydrogen storage element of the scheme is part of a broader strategy by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS). The company has developed a gas turbine for power plants that can operate efficiently with a mixture of natural gas and hydrogen. It has sketched out a technology roadmap that will eventually see a gas turbine using exclusively hydrogen. If the electrolysis used to create the hydrogen is powered by renewables, then that hydrogen can be considered a renewable energy source.

“In California and other states in the western United States, which will soon have retired all of their coal-fired power generation, we need the next step in decarbonization. Mixing natural gas and storage, and eventually using 100% renewable storage, is that next step,” said Paul Browning, president and CEO of MHPS Americas. “When we add gas turbines powered with renewable hydrogen to a hydrogen storage salt-dome, we have a solution that stores and generates electricity with zero carbon emissions.”

The site is adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project which Magnum says will give it access to a host f regional electricity connections. At the planned scale, the storage site will be able to serve 150,000 U.S. households with no seasonal variation.

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Fractal Energy Storage Consultants‘World’s Biggest’ Energy Storage Project Planned For Utah

Tri-StateRebuffs Guzman Energy Offer To Replace 3 Coal Plants Mostly With Renewables

on May 31, 2019

Rocky Mountain Institute turned up the heat on Tri-State last year when it issued a report concluding 1 million consumers could save more than $600 million through 2030 if Tri-State retired some of its fossil-fuel plants. Now Guzman Energy says it has sufficient capital to help retire 800 MW of coal generation while also procuring cleaner energy.

“Rapidly changing economics, combined with new carbon reduction goals in states that include the majority of Tri-State’s members, mean there’s a lot at stake for those who own and are served by Tri-State,” Guzman President Chris Riley said in a statement.

The company’s proposal, said Riley, would help Tri-State and its members to immediately lower costs, “while simultaneously reaching compliance with new laws.” And while Tri-State is not currently interested in the proposal, Riley said the company looks forward to “taking the proposal directly to Tri-State’s owners and facilitating an open and transparent dialogue.”

Tri-State officials said the Guzman proposal lacked sufficient detail and “appeared to ask for exclusive negotiations.”

“Guzman Energy brought us an imaginative and creative high-level verbal proposal, which lacked any specific or meaningful detail or terms,” Tri-State CEO Duane Highley said in a statement. The company “requested a written proposal but Guzman refused to provide one, instead deciding to go the press,” he added.

With new energy legislation and rules in both Colorado and New Mexico, the company said the timing is not right to make a major change.

“Signing [an] exclusive agreement with a for-profit entity prior to development of state rules is not in the best interests of Tri-State members,” the company said.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsTri-StateRebuffs Guzman Energy Offer To Replace 3 Coal Plants Mostly With Renewables

What’s The Value Of Energy Storage? Minnesota Aims To Find Out

on May 31, 2019

The omnibus appropriations bill, which includes $150,000 for the Commerce Department “to conduct an energy storage systems cost-benefit analysis,” will yield much-needed insight into how batteries can bring value to Minnesota’s electrical grid, storage advocates said as they praised its passage.

The legislation “paves the way for a more resilient, efficient, sustainable, and affordable grid,” Energy Storage Association CEO Kelly Speakes-Backman said after it passed.

The system analysis will help to “quantify the value of adding storage to the grid and provide information on how much energy storage is needed to meet current and future demands on the Minnesota electric system,” she added.

The bill also allows utilities to petition to recover costs associated with implementing an energy storage pilot project. The legislature identified storage pilot goals, which include controlling frequency or voltage, mitigating transmission congestion, providing emergency power supplies during outages, reducing curtailment of existing renewable energy generators and reducing peak power costs.

Xcel Energy is the largest electric utility operating in Minnesota, and is supportive of Walz’s carbon-free vision. Last year, the company committed to bringing its entire operation to 100% carbon-free generation by 2050. The utility is also planning to reduce emissions 80% from 2005 levels by 2030.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsWhat’s The Value Of Energy Storage? Minnesota Aims To Find Out

Sens. Collins, Smith Introduce Bill To Improve Nation’s Energy Storage Capabilities

on May 30, 2019

Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tina Smith (D-MN) recently led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing the Promoting Grid Storage Act of 2019.

The legislation aims to boost research and development of technologies to enhance energy storage capabilities. It complements the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act introduced by Sens. Collins and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) last week, which would support grid-scale energy storage research and development and improve the efficiency of the U.S. electric grid.

The Promoting Grid Storage Act of 2019 is also supported by Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

“Unlocking the next generation of energy storage technology will unleash the potential of renewable energy and will be a powerful tool to help slow climate change,” Collins said. “This legislation takes a holistic approach to advance promising research and support technical assistance for all types of energy storage. Together with the BEST Act, which I introduced along with Senators Heinrich, Smith, Gardner, and a bipartisan group of Senators to promote grid-scale energy storage, we are making significant strides to promote clean, renewable energy. I urge our colleagues to join us in this bipartisan effort.”

The Promoting Grid Storage Act of 2019 would authorize $1.05 billion in funding over five years to improve coordination and collaboration of Department of Energy (DOE) energy storage research efforts, fund DOE grants to assist public and private entities that want to expand their energy storage capabilities and provide grants for pilot storage systems to help move energy-storage technologies from the laboratory to deployment.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the American Public Power Association, and the Energy Storage Association have endorsed the bill.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsSens. Collins, Smith Introduce Bill To Improve Nation’s Energy Storage Capabilities

World’s Largest Renewable Energy Storage Project Announced in Utah

on May 30, 2019

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Magnum Development today joined The Honorable Gary Herbert, Governor of Utah, to announce an initiative to launch the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in central Utah. In the world’s largest project of its kind, the ACES initiative will develop 1,000 megawatts of 100 percent clean energy storage, thereby deploying technologies and strategies essential to a decarbonized future for the power grid of the Western United States.

According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, carbon emissions from the U.S. power sector have dropped 30 percent since 2005 (, because of a combination of natural gas and renewable power replacing retiring coal-fired power plants. MHPS has been instrumental in this transition and last year became the global market share leader for heavy duty gas turbines. As a next step in decarbonization, MHPS has developed gas turbine technology that enables a mixture of renewable hydrogen and natural gas to produce power with even lower carbon emissions. The MHPS technology roadmap aims to use 100 percent renewable hydrogen as a fuel source, which will allow gas turbines to produce electricity with zero carbon emissions.

Magnum Development owns and controls the only known “Gulf Coast” style domal-quality salt formation in the western United States. With five salt caverns already in operation for liquid fuels storage, Magnum is continuing to develop Compressed Air Energy Storage and renewable hydrogen storage options. Strategically located adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project, the Magnum site is positioned to integrate seamlessly with the western U.S. power grid utilizing existing infrastructure.

In many parts of the western United States, there are times of day when demand for electricity is lower than the production of renewable power. This leads to curtailment of renewable generation and negative electricity pricing. Continued deployment of renewables will require that excess power be stored for later use. To serve the needs of the entire western United States, many gigawatt-hours of storage capacity are required.

Initially developing enough energy storage to completely serve the needs of 150,000 households for an entire year, the ACES initiative will deploy four types of clean energy storage at utility scale. These energy storage technologies include:

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsWorld’s Largest Renewable Energy Storage Project Announced in Utah

World Bank’s New Global Partnership to ‘Adapt And Develop’ Energy Storage For Emerging Economies

on May 30, 2019

World Bank Group has set up a “global international partnership” to support the deployment of energy storage in developing countries, just a few months after committing a US$1 billion sum to the sector.

That earlier investment injection, aimed at ‘mobilising’ up to US$4 billion in investment for battery storage in developing countries was announced in September, starting off a “global programme to accelerate investments in battery and other energy storage media for energy systems in developing and middle-income countries”.

Announced at the One Planet Summit, the investment drive unveiled in September was aimed at enabling the mobilisation of US$4 billion in concessional climate finance from the public and private sectors, geared towards a deployment target of 17.5GW of energy storage by 2025.

Under the World Bank’s criteria, that funding is for: 1. Projects that hybridise solar and storage and displace diesel and other fossil fuels, shifting solar generated energy using batteries to cover peaks in demand. 2. Standalone batteries that can deliver grid services to vertically-integrated utilities and 3. Minigrid or microgrid solutions for remote regions, including islands.

Earlier this week, at another event, the World Bank launched the global Energy Storage Partnership to further support the sector. The idea is to foster cooperation in areas including technology R&D and demonstration, storage system applications, system integration, communications networks and other necessary infrastructure such as energy management systems.

The partnership will have a technology-neutral approach, potentially supporting all forms of energy storage and will focus on “developing and adapting new storage solutions to the needs of developing countries”, thereby creating an economic opportunity by expanding the overall market worldwide, building the sort of scale that can lead to big cost reductions and rapid technological improvements.

The World Bank said in a release that it believes the current market for batteries, driven by the electric vehicle industry, is producing mainstream technologies that “cannot provide long duration storage nor withstand harsh climatic conditions and low operation and maintenance capacity”.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsWorld Bank’s New Global Partnership to ‘Adapt And Develop’ Energy Storage For Emerging Economies

U.S. to Become World’s Largest Grid-Connected Energy-Storage Market

on May 29, 2019

The United States will this year become the world’s largest market for grid-connected battery energy storage, as solar-plus-storage and peaking capacity requirements drive increased procurement, according to IHS Markit.

Deployments of grid-connected energy storage in the United States this year are expected to amount to 712 MW, almost double of 376 MW in 2018. This will help the United States surpass South Korea, where the market might drop significantly below 600 MW.

The increasing market activity in the United States is being propelled by significant regulatory and policy developments as well as the diversification in major applications and geographic activity.​​

U.S. Market Charges Up

The strong performance of the United States in 2019 represents a complete turnaround from 2018, when U.S. deployment stagnated and that of South Korea boomed. The year 2018 set a record for grid-connected battery energy storage as global installations nearly doubled, largely driven by the growth in South Korea in the first half of the year. However, growth in the United States was slower, with deployments increasing by only about 22%.

In 2019, several major factors have come into play to fuel U.S. growth, including:

Federal policies such as FERC Order 841 are driving regional grid operators across the country to incorporate additional market mechanisms that will enable more participation of energy-storage resources in wholesale market activities.

The investment tax credit (ITC) currently available for solar is driving the development of a rapidly growing utility-scale solar-plus-storage project pipeline, particularly in the Western United States.

State-level energy storage mandates and incentives are helping to kickstart development in progressive markets that are also wrestling with relatively high levels of renewable energy penetration.

Utilities are ramping up procurements of both behind-the-meter and front-of-the-meter energy storage resources to integrate higher levels of renewables and provide additional grid services such as demand response.

Solar-Plus-Storage to Drive U.S. Energy-Storage Market

IHS Markit expects over 2 GW of energy storage to be paired with utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems from 2019 to 2023 in the United States. The availability of the ITC through 2023 for battery-storage systems coupled with solar PV has spurred development over the past year and will be the primary driver of co-locating utility-scale PV with energy storage. A majority of these systems are projected to be deployed in markets across the Western United States, including Hawaii, California, and Arizona, enabling further integration of PV in relatively saturated markets.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsU.S. to Become World’s Largest Grid-Connected Energy-Storage Market

In pictures: Intersolar Europe / EES Europe 2019

on May 29, 2019

ICYMI: This year’s Intersolar Europe was accompanied by the biggest energy storage show to take place at the Munich industry bonanza. For those of you that couldn’t be there, or were perhaps too busy with meetings to take in the whole show, here are some pictorial highlights and some quick commentary. All pics by Andy Colthorpe.

Solarwatt has gone full circle from PV module and equipment production, to energy storage, to holistic solutions including EVs and now, seemingly, making carports for Bond Villains.

‘Hybrid’ was a key word in almost every conversation and in differing contexts. International players in inverters and other PV power equipment are adding products to their ranges that see energy storage as a key part of enabling more flexible, distributed energy solutions both on and off-grid.

A rare European trade show appearance for Tesla, bringing its residential, grid and commercial-scale storage systems as well as the long, long, long-awaited Model 3.

We’ve already gone ‘back to the future’ with the electric DeLorean! It wasn’t cheap to do but ecap mobility claims it’s got a 200km range and 200kmph top speed, using a 42kWh battery.

Flow batteries appear to be a niche that manufacturing and engineering company Schmid wants to explore along with its PV business.

Many of the big PV players in fact had integrated and separate offerings for battery (and/or heat) storage and electric vehicle charging, with SMA and SolarEdge pitted directly opposite one another at the show.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsIn pictures: Intersolar Europe / EES Europe 2019

Energy Storage Can Keep The Lights On, Cut Carbon Emissions

on May 29, 2019

Most of us won’t forget those rolling blackouts that took place across California in early 2000. I remember them well, since I was the one who had to manage the power grid and turn off the lights more than a dozen times.

Since then, energy engineers and operators like myself have made a life’s work out of keeping the lights on as California works to reduce carbon emissions and add more renewable energy into the power grid to meet California’s clean energy goals.

California is going to need a lot more of it and other long-duration storage technologies if we are going to be able to meet the state’s clean energy goals.

The challenge is this: California remains dependent on natural gas plants and imported power from other states to meet demand in the evening when the sun goes down and solar energy isn’t available.

Today, we are using up to 15,000 megawatts of natural gas and imported energy to meet peak demand. That is about three times the entire demand of the state of Nevada. It’s massive. And, it’s in direct conflict with California’s carbon reduction goals.

As an energy operations guy, I am forever concerned about impacts to grid operations from state laws and policies that make keeping the lights on a challenge. I am equally concerned, however, that those overseeing the decisions for the state’s long-term clean energy and economic success aren’t getting behind the best asset we have to assure resources are there when we need them.

I am referring to long-duration bulk energy storage, a solution that could meet the challenge.

It’s pumped hydro, and it is one type of bulk energy storage technology that has been operating in California and around the world for decades. It pumps water uphill when the sun is shining or wind is blowing, and then releases it to power turbines when renewable energy isn’t available.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy Storage Can Keep The Lights On, Cut Carbon Emissions