California Could Restrict Who Can Install Energy Storage

on July 31, 2019

On August 6, the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) will hold a vote which could have serious consequences for the largest residential energy storage market in the nation. In specific, CSLB is considering restricting the ability of solar installers who hold a C-46 solar installation license, but not a C-10 electrical license, to install batteries.

California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA) issued an action alert yesterday afternoon, calling on its members to come to Sacramento and fight the proposal to restrict battery installations. “We need you and your colleagues to attend this hearing to voice opposition to this decision and to protect the solar and storage market going forward,” reads the alert.

In an interview with pv magazine, CALSSA Executive Director Bernadette Del Chiaro was explicit about the danger that this represents:

Safety issues?

As everyone who reads the news or has boarded a flight knows, lithium-ion batteries can enter a dangerous state where the heat buildup gets out of control. And while improper installation can cause problems, research by pv magazine suggests that most instances of thermal runaway are the result of poorly designed software with inadequate safety controls.

CALSSA argues that two and a half years of public hearings and reports have not turned up evidence of a safety risk to justify the proposed changes. Instead, it alleges that CSLB is considering this change due to pressure from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), with support from the state’s investor-owned utilities.

Whether or not these specific accusations are accurate, utilities across the nation have consistently worked to kill rooftop solar markets. In California, the shift to mandatory time-of-use rates under Net Metering 2.0 created an incentive to pair solar with storage. And if utilities can restrict how many workers can install these systems, this will inevitably have effects not only on the behind-the-meter battery storage market, but also the rooftop solar market in the state.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsCalifornia Could Restrict Who Can Install Energy Storage

100MWh ASEAN ‘Pathfinder’ Project For Wärtsilä

on July 31, 2019

Wärtsilä remains tight-lipped on the exact location of a hybrid power plant 100MW / 100MWh energy storage in Southeast Asia which will “leverage abundant wind and solar resources”.

The company has signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with an unnamed customer. Wärtsilä SE Asia regional director Nicholas Leong told that the project “will help the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meet its commitment to achieving 23% of its primary energy needs from renewables by 2025, and put the region on the path to achieving 100% renewables”.

It is thought to be the largest battery energy storage deal in the region, which has seen very few grid-connected systems deployed, although has reported on various microgrid projects in remote areas including a Tesla lithium-ion battery project by Solar Phillippines to increase energy security for a village prone to brownouts and a project in rural Thailand which runs on solar and a hybrid of lithium and flow batteries. Solar Philippines did say in 2017 that it would be developing a 50MWh project paired with a 150MW PV system in the country.

The project will lean heavily on the capabilities of Greensmith Energy, the battery energy storage system integrator Wärtsilä acquired in 2017. This includes Greensmith Energy Management (GEMS) software platform and its GridSolv-brand standardised energy storage hardware solution.

Wärtsilä is touting the role of combined renewable energy-gas engine-battery energy storage hybrid power plants, with group VP for Europe Melle Kruisdijk recently telling this site that the company’s legacy technology can therefore complement and enable renewables.

Despite its strong grounding in building gas engines, initially for large ships and then later for land-based applications, the Finnish company is pushing a “100% renewable energy vision” which Kruisdijk outlined in that interview. Greensmith’s system integration capabilities are as central to that premise as their ability to put batteries into energy networks, Kruisdijk said.

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Fractal Energy Storage Consultants100MWh ASEAN ‘Pathfinder’ Project For Wärtsilä

BNEF: Energy Storage To Surge Past 1,000GW Worldwide By 2040 As Costs Halve

on July 31, 2019

The global stationary energy storage market is set for surging growth over the next two decades, as sharp declines in lithium-ion battery costs and rising demand for wind and solar power drives capacity to more than 1,000GW worldwide by 2040.

That is the latest forecast today from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which has revised up its predictions from last year as the market gears up to “multiply exponentially”.

The influential energy analyst now expects a 122-fold boom in stationary energy storage installations by 2040, which it estimates will require $622bn of investment over the next two decades – $40bn higher than its previous forecast.

Most of the expected capacity increase, from 9GW deployed in 2018 to an estimated 1,095GW by 2040, will come from grid-scale applications that are being driven by sharp declines in lithium-ion battery costs that have already plummeted by 85 per cent since 2010.

Yet BNEF expects a further halving of lithium-ion battery costs per kilowatt hour, as demand takes off from both stationary energy storage installations and the burgeoning electric vehicle market. The plummeting cost of energy storage capacity is set to have significant ramifications for a global electricity system increasingly dominated by intermittent renewables, the update argues.

Low cost batteries are expected to be used in a widening number of applications, BNEF said, from balancing demand on the electricity grid between times of peak and lowest demand to helping shift power to different parts of the grid where it is needed most and driving down domestic energy bills through new smart home technologies.

But Logan Goldie-Scot, head of energy storage at BNEF, added that he expected the majority of storage applications over the next two decades to be focused at the grid-scale, rather than providing behind-the-meter solutions for homes and businesses.

“In the near term, renewables-plus-storage, especially solar-plus-storage, has become a major driver for battery build,” he said. “This is a new era of dispatchable renewables, based on new contract structures between developer and grid.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsBNEF: Energy Storage To Surge Past 1,000GW Worldwide By 2040 As Costs Halve

Industry researchers launch Energy Storage Research Center

on July 31, 2019

A group of energy industry joined together recently to launch the Energy Storage Research Center on the engineering campus of Southern Research in Birmingham, Ala.

The project is a collaboration between Southern Research, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute, Southern Company, Alabama Power, and the state of Alabama.

“As an R&D leader, Southern Company continues to advance technologies that can help us better meet customers’ needs in the rapidly evolving energy landscape,” Southern Company R&D Director Roxann Walsh said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The Energy Storage Research Center will broaden our work with stakeholders and technology developers to better understand energy storage systems and how to fully use this technology to build the future of energy.”

The facility will serve as a resource to help the industry test and develop energy storage technologies. Initially, the center will evaluate a flow battery system developed by Avalon Battery.

“We will need newer, better, more cost-effective energy storage in a low-carbon future – and R&D efforts like the Energy Storage Research Center will help bring these cutting-edge technologies to full deployment,” Walsh said.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsIndustry researchers launch Energy Storage Research Center

345 MWh Energy Storage Investment Seen As A Low Risk Growth Strategy

on July 30, 2019

There was not lot of public data pv magazine USA could find on these projects, however, it was most important to note that a conservative electricity utility – the one that emits the second largest volume of greenhouse gases by an electric utility in the United States – sees energy storage as part of its “growth and low-risk business strategy of developing or acquiring interests in projects covered by long-term contracts.” And it quite jives with this publication’s pontification that energy storage is investment grade.

Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, has partnered with esVolta to develop four energy storage facilities located, some located in Southern California Edison (SoCal) territory. The four facilities total more than 86 MW / 345 MWh. Southern Power has fully closed on the investment in one of the four projects, with the other three subject to completion.

Other projects recently developed by esVolta in California and beyond, below, might give insight into what is being invested in here.

In the fall, esVolta won four other projects in SoCal territory – the Wildcat Energy Storage project (above image) will feature a 3 MW/12 MWh near Palm Springs, and the three Acorn Energy Storage (Acorn I in below image) projects will total 6.5 MW/26.5 MWh in Thousand Oaks. The Wildcat Energy Storage project is intended to bolster local distribution networks enabling wires upgrades to be deferred. The technical aspects of the projects were outlined in SoCal’s “Energy Division Technical Review and Disposition” (pdf).

In a press release published in January, esVolta President & Founder Randolph Man noted that the contract responsibilities in their projects vary – as in some, the utility customer purchases capacity, while the developer retains the ability to provide additional value-added energy and ancillary services into the local market. Whereas, at their 6.5 MW/26 MWh Don Lee system in Escondido, the utility bought the whole bundle of services.

esVolta’s Stratford Energy Storage project (featured image of article) is an 8.8 MW/40.8 MWh system located in the city of Stratford, Ontario, Canada, and is the largest battery storage facility in Canada. The facility provides voltage control, frequency regulation, and system peak reduction operations.

Partially overshadowed because of other larger projects, esVolta also participated in PG&E’s ground breaking (and now at risk due to a bankruptcy) 567 MW / 2.27 gigawatt-hours (GWh) energy storage solicitation last year. The 75 MW / 300 MWh Hummingbird facility is esVolta’s largest project to date and it is primarily intended to relieve local capacity constraints caused by retiring fossil fuel units.

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Fractal Energy Storage Consultants345 MWh Energy Storage Investment Seen As A Low Risk Growth Strategy

Energy Storage Could Reduce Emissions That Cause Climate Change

on July 30, 2019

Electricity grids that incorporate storage for power sourced from renewable resources could cut carbon dioxide emissions substantially more than systems that simply increase renewably sourced power, a new study has found.

The study, published today in the journal Nature Communications, found that storage could help make more efficient use of power generated by sources such as wind and solar and could help power grids move away from relying on fossil fuels for energy.

“With solar and wind, you can’t flip them on immediately when you need more power,” said Ramteen Sioshansi, a co-author of the study and professor of integrated systems engineering at The Ohio State University. “So the more renewable energy you put into your system, the greater your need to be able to forecast when those energy sources might be available — unless you can find an affordable, reliable way to store that energy.”

The study was among the first of its kind to evaluate the role energy storage might play in making renewable resources more reliable on a grid-wide basis.

The researchers looked at the power grids in California and Texas, then modeled the ways in which energy storage might make better use of energy from renewable sources — and the ways in which storing energy from renewable sources might affect the amount of carbon dioxide the energy grid pumps into the atmosphere.

They found that in California, without energy storage, one-third of the renewable energy could be lost or never collected in the first place. And adding energy storage technologies — batteries and the like — could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent.

Under the study’s models, holding energy from renewable sources also made the system much more efficient: Just 9 percent of renewable energy was lost.

In Texas, a state that generates a smaller percentage of its energy from renewable sources than California, the researchers found that adding energy storage technologies to the grid could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 57 percent. Under that model, just 0.3 percent of the renewable energy in Texas’s system would be lost.

“Renewables are good, but they have their own challenges,” said Maryam Arbabzadeh, a research fellow at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study. “The sun is not always shining; the wind is not always blowing. Sometimes the amount of solar and wind power doesn’t match the demand. As we think about how to de-carbonize our systems, a combination of all of these technologies could be beneficial for the system to minimize carbon dioxide emissions.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy Storage Could Reduce Emissions That Cause Climate Change

Tesla Has A New Energy Product Called Megapack

on July 30, 2019

Tesla has launched a new utility-scale energy storage product called Megapack modeled after the giant battery system it deployed in South Australia as the company seeks to provide an alternative to natural gas “peaker” power plants.

Megapack is the third and largest energy storage system offered by Tesla. The company also sells the residential Powerwall and the commercial Powerpack systems.

Megapack, which Tesla announced Monday in a blog post, is the latest effort by the company to retool and grow its energy storage business, which is a smaller revenue driver than sales of its electric vehicles. Of the $6.4 billion in total revenue posted in the second quarter, just $368 million was from Tesla’s solar and energy storage product business.

Tesla did deploy a record 415 megawatt-hours of energy storage products in the second quarter, an 81% increase from the previous quarter, according to Tesla’s second-quarter earnings report that was released July 24. Powerwalls are now installed at more than 50,000 sites.

The Megapack offering could provide an even bigger boost if Tesla can convince utilities to opt for it instead of the more common natural gas peaker plants used today. And it seems it already has.

Tesla’s Megapack will provide 182.5 MW of the upcoming 567 MW Moss Landing energy storage project in California with PG&E.

The so-called Megapack was specifically designed and engineered to be an easy-to-install utility-scale system. Each system comes fully assembled — that includes battery modules, bi-directional inverters, a thermal management system, an AC main breaker and controls — with up to 3 megawatt-hours of energy storage and 1.5 MW of inverter capacity.

The system includes software, developed by Tesla, to monitor, control and monetize the installations, the company said in a blog post announcing Megapack.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsTesla Has A New Energy Product Called Megapack

How Hardware-in-the-Loop Drives Microgrid Control Innovation

on July 29, 2019

With the promise of improved efficiency and resiliency, and a reduced carbon footprint, the total capacity and spending on microgrids is projected to quintuple by 2028. From universities, hospitals, military bases, airports, and even single properties, microgrid projects range from complex retrofits of existing electrical infrastructure to modern greenfield designs. There is belief that we are in the midst of a reverse Copernican Revolution, where generation will be distributed away from the center to the grid’s edge. Microgrids will even import/export power from each other and help support the main grid. Electric utilities’ existing business models are under threat, and they have been forced to pay attention with some even seeing business opportunities.

By definition, a microgrid must be able to island itself and rely on its distributed energy resources (DERs). As the excellent feature article in June’s IEEE Power Electronics Magazine on AC microgrid control and management strategies notes, this “is not an easy task”, involving up to three levels of hierarchal control. At the “local” DER level, Primary Control is typically bundled per DER to maintain voltage and frequency stability, and reliability. Secondary Control, often associated with the microgrid controller, acts on the entire microgrid to manage deviations in voltage frequency and amplitude to ensure power quality and reliability.

HIL will be used to create cleaner vehicles and supply chains, and increase their levels of connectivity to renewable resources and infrastructure.

Tertiary Control covers power import/export to the main grid and to other microgrids. Both Secondary and Tertiary Control Levels can also be implemented using central or distributed approaches with the latter offering potential redundancy and cost benefit. While the Tertiary level is mainly used currently to optimize import/export economics based on electricity and energy markets, it can also serve to improve power quality in the higher-level system. All three control levels serve critical operational or economical functions within the microgrid and are connected relying upon digital communication. Furthermore, while AC microgrids are currently most common, full or partial DC configurations offer certain advantages and are gaining interest.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsHow Hardware-in-the-Loop Drives Microgrid Control Innovation

Off-Grid Microgrid to Power Oil and Gas Operations in Tunisia

on July 29, 2019

Italian multinational energy corporation ENI is building an off-grid, solar-storage microgrid at an oil and gas facility in Tunisia and integrating it with existing, on-site natural gas generation.

All the energy produced by the off-grid microgrid will be used to power the facility’s upstream operations.

Metka EGN, a wholly owned subsidiary of Greece’s Mytilineos, is providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services that will result in the deployment of the 5-MW solar PV and lithium-ion battery energy storage sysstem. Located at ENI Tunisia’s ADAM oil concession, in what’s known as the Tataouine governate of Tunisia, the microgrid is expected to come online in early 2020.

“The energy produced will be consumed on-site, enabling the upstream operations to significantly reduce gas consumption and therefore avoiding 6,500 metric tons/year of CO2 equivalent emissions,” said Antigoni Fakou, Metka spokesperson.

The project also is expected to improve efficiency and lower costs, according to the project partners.

Metka will build, operate and maintain the microgrid for two years, then transfer operations and maintenance to ENI.

Mytilineos has been doing an increasing amount of solar-storage microgrid development since acquiring Metka and establishing a presence in the Mediterranean region and in developing markets, Africa in particular.

Another subsidiary, Metka Power West Africa is building off-grid microgrids at four Nigerian universities.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsOff-Grid Microgrid to Power Oil and Gas Operations in Tunisia

Tesla Energy Deploys A New Record Amount Of Energy Storage, Solar Still Down

on July 26, 2019

Tesla Energy deployed a new record amount of energy storage during the last quarter, but its solar business is still declining.

With the release of Tesla’s Q2 2019 financial results, the company announced 81% growth in energy storage deployment for a new record of 415 MWh during the last three months:

“Powerwall and Powerpack deployment grew by 81% in the second quarter to a record 415 MWh. Powerwalls are now installed at more than 50,000 sites. Additional cell supply combined with our new module line designed by Tesla Grohmann enabled a step change in energy storage production.”

For the last few years, Tesla’s Powerwall deployment has been fairly limited, which the company attributed to battery cell supply constraints.

Over the last few months, Panasonic increased production capacity at Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 from 23 GWh to a ~28 GWh annual production rate.

This 5 GWh difference enabled Tesla to increase Model 3 production and still have enough to increase the production of its stationary energy storage products: Powerwalls and Powerpacks.

As for its solar business, Tesla noted another decline:

“Solar retrofit deployments declined sequentially to 29 MW. We are in the process of improving many aspects of this business to increase deployments.”

Tesla has indeed been revamping its solar business lately.

Tesla Solar Revamp
SolarCity has long been the biggest residential solar company in the country, but it also consistently delivered losses throughout its existence.

It pioneered new models to sell solar power systems with no upfront cost by leasing them to homeowners and selling them the electricity it generates, like a regular electric utility.

The model created impressive growth, but it required them to pay for the costly systems upfront on most installations, which weighed heavy on their financials.

When Tesla acquired SolarCity back in 2016, it gradually moved away from that model in order to make the company more sustainable, but it also destroyed its growth.

Now as part of Tesla Energy, its solar business saw its revenue plunge every quarter and gross profits are down as well.

Last month, Tesla slipped to third place for residential solar installations in the US.

CEO Elon Musk has been guiding a reversal of that trend in 2019 with a ramp-up of the Tesla solar roof tiles and solar panels for the roof retrofits.

Earlier this year, Tesla announced a plan to revive its solar business by undercutting the competition with <$2 per watt systems.

Yesterday, we reported on Tesla starting to deploy solar power systems in 24 hours after ordering online.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsTesla Energy Deploys A New Record Amount Of Energy Storage, Solar Still Down