Utility-Scale Storage To Grow 1.2GW in 2019

on August 30, 2019

This year new global installed utility-scale energy storage capacity will reach 1242MW, according to a report by Navigant Research.

The study has identified that 10 countries will account for 80% of this amount. They are the US, France, Germany, the UK, Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil.

The report, Country Forecasts for Utility-Scale Energy Storage, provides forecasts for utility-Scale systems deployed globally in terms of power capacity (MW), energy capacity megawatt hour), and revenue generated from the development of new projects in 26 countries worldwide.
With the emergence of new markets and applications, 2018 represented the largest year on record for new energy storage capacity, Navigant’s study found.

Despite this growth, however, the market remains concentrated in a relatively small number of countries with the right policies, market structures, regulations, and renewable energy deployments, according to the analyst outfit.

Navigant senior research analyst Alex Eller said: “In terms of applications for new utility-scale energy storage projects, solar-plus-storage has emerged as a major opportunity and driver of new growth.

“The rapidly falling costs for both technologies have made combined solar-plus-storage plants economically competitive against conventional fossil fuel plants in a growing number of markets, which allows a solar plant to be a predictable resource for grid operators.”

Despite the growth in new renewable energy shifting projects, the shorter duration grid stability applications remain the foundation for many emerging markets, according to Navigant.

The analyst has identified a general pattern as energy storage markets mature, transitioning from these shorter duration stability applications, such as frequency regulation, to longer duration bulk storage services such as renewable energy shifting and transmission and distribution asset optimisation.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsUtility-Scale Storage To Grow 1.2GW in 2019

‘Energy Storage Is Not Enough, A Renewables Grid Needs Flexible Gas Back-Up’

on August 30, 2019

The importance of energy storage in providing back-up grid power was demonstrated during an extensive blackout in the U.K. this month when 100 MW of battery capacity kicked in within 0.1 seconds to help keep the lights on.

The battery capacity, operated by flexible power infrastructure business Statera, provided “100% of our performance to mitigate the effects” of the power outage, managing director Tom Vernon told pv magazine.

Despite the tip-top performance of Statera’s utility scale battery capacity, however, Vernon said the ambition of a carbon-neutral U.K. by 2050 will prove impossible without extensive deployment of flexible gas back-up generation facilities.

When a lightning strike was followed by two power stations tripping to take down an extensive portion of the U.K. grid in London and the South East of England for 15 minutes on August 9, “it brought into focus the need for resilience in the grid”, said Vernon.

Flexible gas

In addition to Statera’s storage capacity, the company’s flexible gas peaking plant came online rapidly, to help ease a blackout that affected as much as 10-15% of the national grid and left passengers stuck on trains for nine hours and critical infrastructure including hospitals suffering outages.

“We had a flexible gas project which we understand prevented around 100,000 homes in the area of Hull experiencing a blackout,” said Vernon, referring to the city in the northeast of England. “It’s a high efficiency gas generating unit that only comes on for a limited number of hours each year, but when they are used they are critical.”

Vernon told pv magazine battery storage alone will not be enough to guarantee security of supply as the penetration of renewables rises in the energy mix.

“Renewables are going to be leading the charge and batteries will balance the grid,” said the Statera MD. “But it won’t be possible to balance the grid without flexible gas back-up. Even if you oversize the amount of [renewables] generation you need considerably, you would still need a battery so huge it would be unfeasible. You can’t account for the days when, in the middle of winter, the wind doesn’t blow for a week. A battery that is load shifting for a month at a time is only doing three to four cycles per year so it would have to be unfeasibly large and very cheap, and we are a long, long way from that.”

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Fractal Energy Storage Consultants‘Energy Storage Is Not Enough, A Renewables Grid Needs Flexible Gas Back-Up’

Montgomery County, Maryland Seeks Microgrid-Ready Project for Electric Bus Depot

on August 30, 2019

Already on the map for its public service microgrids, Montgomery County is advancing into the next frontier of the technology — its nexus with transportation — with plans for a microgrid-ready depot to charge electric buses.

The Maryland county on Wednesday issued a solicitation seeking proposals for energy infrastructure to power electric buses at its Brookville Maintenance Facility in Silver Spring.

A neighbor to the nation’s capital, Montgomery County is Maryland’s most affluent and populated county. It’s also become a leader in microgrids, creating prototype contracts and development procedures for local governments to study and use.

Seeks public-private partnership
The county began exploring microgrids after a violent storm in 2012 knocked out power to 480,000 county residents for several days. Last year it activated two advanced microgrids at its Public Safety Headquarters and Correctional Facility. The microgrids were built in a public-private partnership with Duke Energy Renewables and Schneider Electric under an energy-as-a-service contract.

Now Montgomery County seeks to duplicate the approach. It’s in search of a partner to develop and help finance the smart depot using a minimum amount of county capital and leveraging tax credits, environmental credits and other incentives. The partner will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the smart energy facility.

Microgrid-ready and green
Like a growing number of jurisdictions, Montgomery County has set clean energy goals; it hopes to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. So it seeks clean — as well as resilient — resources to charge the electric buses.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsMontgomery County, Maryland Seeks Microgrid-Ready Project for Electric Bus Depot

UC San Diego Launches Study On Recycling EV Batteries Into Energy Storage

on August 29, 2019

With the expected uptick in EV adoption over the next few years, companies around the world are looking for ways to repurpose used EV batteries that can have up to a decade of life left in them, and energy storage is one potential application.

Previous second-life projects often included EV manufacturers. In October, Nissan and EDF Energy announced a project that will combine used EV batteries with demand response capabilities developed by the U.K. energy company. Also in 2018, Wärtsilä and Hyundai Motor Group partnered on a project to develop uses for second-life EV batteries in Germany. Hyundai estimates that in 2025, there will be 29 GWh of second-life EV batteries available.

A focus area of the agreement between Cummins and UC San Diego will be stationary energy storage system performance under grid energy storage applications, Katie Zarich, a spokesperson for Cummins, told Utility Dive. University researchers will perform tests and develop an outdoor second-life demonstration system comprised of Cummins battery modules, according to a statement.

For Cummins, which founded its electrified power business in 2018, the partnership will provide valuable data on the aging behaviors of its battery modules.

“Electrification has the potential to play an enormous role as we move toward decarbonization of many industries, but in order to maximize that potential, it’s crucial that we focus on the sustainability of the entire product life cycle,” Julie Furber, vice president of electrified power of Cummins, said. “One piece of the puzzle that requires additional research is the second-life of batteries, and Cummins now has a highly-skilled and capable partner in UC San Diego as we move towards the development of reuse solutions.”

Used EV batteries maintain a significant battery capacity, up to 70%, according to Nissan and EDF. While this may no longer meet the requirements to power a vehicle’s drivetrain, it is sufficient capacity for less demanding applications, Cummins said.

The Indiana-based company also pointed out that repurposing batteries increases sustainability as it postpones recycling, which has proved to be a challenge.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsUC San Diego Launches Study On Recycling EV Batteries Into Energy Storage

How Salt Caverns Could Transform Renewable Energy Storage For The US

on August 29, 2019

A new project called Advanced Clean Energy Storage has been launched in Utah by a consortium of partners including Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems to store energy in a salt cavern. The $1bn project will be able to store as much as 1,000MW in wind and solar power in the form of hydrogen or compressed air by 2025. Umar Ali takes a look.

According to statistics from Carnegie Mellon University, carbon emissions in the US energy sector have decreased by 30% since 2005 due to a combination of renewable energy and natural gas replacing coal-fired power plants.

Having become a global market share leader for heavy duty gas turbines Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has become an important part of the US’ energy transition efforts, and has developed gas turbine technology that allows natural gas and hydrogen to produce power with even lower emissions.

However in many parts of the western US, there are times of day when production of renewable energy is higher than the demand for electricity. This can lead to negative energy pricing and restrictions on renewable generation.

For renewable energy to be viable in the long-term the excess power needs to be stored for later use, which requires a system with a large storage capacity to meet the demands of the entire western US.

A potential solution to the dilemma has come in the form of the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in Utah, which MHPS along with a consortium of partners announced of on 30 May 2019. They are planning to develop 1,000MW of clean energy storage in the world’s largest project of its kind. [Main body]

How does the ACES project work?
The ACES initiative makes use of a domal-quality salt formation owned and controlled by Magnum Development, a “geographically rare geologic formation” and the only known formation of its kind in the western US. Five salt caverns are already in operation for storage of liquid fuels, and Magnum is now developing options for renewable energy like wind and solar power to be stored as compressed air or hydrogen within this salt dome.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsHow Salt Caverns Could Transform Renewable Energy Storage For The US

Utah Apartment Community is All-Electric with On-Site Energy Storage in Every Unit

on August 29, 2019

The partnership between sonnen, the Wasatch Group and Rocky Mountain Power provides a first-of-a-kind network of solar powered battery storage systems, better known as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP), fully managed by Rocky Mountain Power. The Soleil Lofts apartment community in Herriman, Utah is the result of this partnership. It’s an all-electric residential community design that standardizes on-site energy storage in every unit.

The project features more than 600 individual sonnen ecoLinx batteries, totaling 12.6 megawatt-hours of solar energy storage that is managed by Rocky Mountain Power, the local utility, to provide emergency back-up power, daily management of peak energy use and demand response for the overall management of the electric grid.

Residents will begin moving into the Soleil Lofts apartments in September 2019 and the final building will be complete in December of 2020. Upon completion, the Soleil Lofts community will be the largest fully installed and operational residential battery demand response solution in the United States.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsUtah Apartment Community is All-Electric with On-Site Energy Storage in Every Unit

Demand Charges, Energy Arbitrage And Behind The Meter Energy Storage Payback Periods

on August 28, 2019

Most people think of energy storage as a thing to run when the lights shut off, however the 112 minutes of downtime that the average rate payer experienced in 2016 doesn’t seem to motivate much energy storage buying in this commercial developer’s experience. What does motivate buyers are demand charges (commercial customers), no solar export laws (Hawaii) and time of use charges (California for residential and commercial customers).

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have published “Implications of Rate Design for the Customer Economics of Behind the Meter Storage.” The document models how electric company demand charges and electricity pricing arbitrage drive the economic payback of energy storage when installed on the customer’s side of the electric meter (behind the meter).

The value of this document is to help a developer determine which leads are valuable – i.e. higher probability to close because they have a fast payback period – and to continue chasing early on in the sales cycle. Go to the end of the article for a real life example of solar+storage lowering a bill wonderfully in California.

The above images focus various demand charge savings, and how they affect payback periods. The specific analysis here is of a shopping center, as the analysis suggested this type of customer would be able to benefit due to their load profile. The document also looked at a flat demand charge manufacturing facility, as well as a shopping center with solar power – whose returns were higher than the shopping center without solar.

What the charts on the left suggests is that a $7/kW demand charge (the dotted line) will drive a ten year payback (right chart). As well, it shows that if your demand peak aligns with the evening demand window the payback period is higher, shorter demand charge billing intervals pay better, and that seasonal and “Ratch” rates don’t really have much of an effect.

Prior research by the National Renewable Energy Labs gives insight into what regions across the country – 70% of electricity tariffs (pdf) – have viable cost structures that would in fact drive the economic paybacks shown above. This research is a couple of years old now, and the regions have expanded as energy storage pricing has fallen.

The above image shows various types of electricity pricing arbitrage can drive electricity bills savings over a year (left image). Customers with Time of Use and Critical Pricing Period + Time of Use billing tariffs have the greatest opportunity by far. These opportunities are less abundant than demand charges though, but they offer potentially greater revenue opportunities than demand charges because of their extreme nature. Texas and Kentucky are noted as the highest paying regions, with California, Florida, Arizona, and a few other states having economic paybacks of interest.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsDemand Charges, Energy Arbitrage And Behind The Meter Energy Storage Payback Periods

The Asia Pacific Is The Largest Market For Energy Storage Software – Report

on August 28, 2019

A new report from Navigant Research analyses the global market for energy storage systems (ESSs), providing forecasts of software vendor revenue for upfront system deployment and annual platform access/maintenance fees through 2028.

As the energy storage market matures, technological progress and legislative and regulatory tailwinds have propelled ESS’s to the forefront of industry consciousness. Breakthroughs in adjacent digital technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and blockchain, have engendered the creation of innovative software platforms that advance the technical capabilities, economic viability, and bankability of ESS’s. According to the report, Asia Pacific is anticipated to be the largest regional market for energy storage software platforms. Driven by a rapidly growing battery ESS (BESS) market, the region is expected to account for $10.7 billion in cumulative software vendor revenue through 2028.

“Energy storage is flexible, can be deployed rapidly, has numerous applications, and can generate multiple value streams for utilities and their customers,” says Ricardo Rodriguez, research analyst at Navigant Research. “ESS software platforms augment these capabilities and are evolving across market segments, enhanced by underlying digital technologies, to provide complex solutions.”

According to the report, software is expected to play an important role in the energy storage industry as power grids transition toward a distributed, digitised, and decentralised system that Navigant Research refers to as the Energy Cloud. Although energy storage is viewed as a key building block for the grid of the future, without sophisticated platforms for design and control, these systems have limited value.

The report, Energy Storage Software, analyses the global market for ESSs with a focus on aggregation, asset management, and grid services. The study examines business models and pricing strategies for software vendors across three major grid-tied energy storage market segments: utility-scale, commercial and industrial (C&I), and residential. The report also examines the competitive landscape and key technologies related to ESSs.

An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

Are you part of the smart energy transition in Asia? If you want to share insights with the leading minds on the continent and around the globe, make sure you’re at Asian Utility Week, co-located with POWERGEN Asia.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsThe Asia Pacific Is The Largest Market For Energy Storage Software – Report

The Energy Storage Technologies that will Power Australia

on August 28, 2019

Australia, just like the rest of the world, has an increasing voracity for energy. The country has shown its growing propensity for renewable energy sources over fossil fuels.

Renewable Energy – A Logical Choice
With the elevated awareness of the escalating scarceness of non-renewable energy, coupled with the motivation of consumers, governments and industries to not only future-proof their energy sources but to also reduce the damage that energy consumption does to our planet, renewables are the logical choice going forward.

Around 21% of Australia’s energy is already provided by renewable sources, tripling its usage since the earlier 2000s. Renewable energy use in the country is set to continue to grow as Australia hopes to ensure the development of a sustainable energy sector.

The challenge facing this plan is that renewable energy is intermittent, wind and solar energy sources aren’t readily available around the clock. Therefore the energy they generate when the power source is abundant needs to be stored for those times when input is down, to provide a feasible system that provides energy in a consistent manner that the fossil fuel supported grid does. Storage is an issue for renewable energy as power that is generated is usually lost if it is not used.

A Reliable System for Storing Excess Energy

To overcome this challenge, A$15 million are being invested in a project that aims to create a reliable system for storing excess energy produced by solar and wind energy by converting it into hydrogen. Australia’s government will be providing half the funds for this venture, inspired by what has already been achieved in Europe with the TSO 2020 project, which was able to create a system with the capacity of storing 8.3 metric tonnes of hydrogen in underground salt caverns in Holland. Australia’s Jemena H2GO project will develop a 500 KW electrolyzer in western Sydney to split hydrogen from water using excess power generated from renewable sources.

The H2GO project will go further than exploring how to overcome the challenge of intermittent energy supplies from renewables, it will also look into how the hydrogen produced from excess power can be used to support the country’s growing hydrogen-vehicle industry. The project will also utilize existing infrastructure, currently in place to support gas transportation, showing how its process will be more efficient than the alternative, which is storing excess energy in batteries.

Importance of Battery Storage
While battery storage may be less efficient, it is likely to play a role alongside hydrogen energy storage in Australia’s future. The country is currently leading the way in this kind of energy storage, it’s home to 100 MW/129 MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsThe Energy Storage Technologies that will Power Australia

Cycle Of Life: A Circular Economy Approach To Lithium Batteries

on August 27, 2019

Did you know that batteries often have over 80% of their life left when they’re thrown away? This misunderstanding of the potential battery technology is unsustainable and wasteful. Imagine if your car broke down, you wouldn’t scrap it, you’d try and get the broken parts repaired.

What’s more, batteries can help support the growth of developing regions. Of course, they are an essential part of any green revolution, providing energy security when using intermittent sources of power such as wind or solar. But the opportunity for positive impact is even greater in developing regions, where energy security is directly linked to local development.

In 2016 Aceleron Co-founder Carlton Cummins and I set about finding a solution to reduce battery waste and making energy storage solutions more accessible to people in developing regions.

Reducing battery waste

Traditional lithium-ion batteries are welded or glued together, making individual components difficult to replace. If one part fails, the whole battery stops working and is usually thrown away – often with the majority of their potential left unused.

In response, we developed and patented a battery technology design that enables the batteries to be repaired, upgraded and reused when no longer suitable for their first life, thus reducing battery waste.

Manufactured in Birmingham in the UK, the simple assembly technology facilitates the easy replacement of components, which is coupled with advanced machine learning technology that can tell which components are faulty. This means a battery can function for up to 25 years, just like you could keep a car running for 25 years with appropriate maintenance and servicing.

We are early on in our journey, but we are selling battery packs in the Caribbean, UK and Kenya and we are definitely seeing an increase in global demand.

Supporting developing regions
Early on, we decided that our battery business should not only be a world leader in sustainable battery technology, but also have a positive societal impact, improving the lives of as many people as possible.

One exciting project currently taking place is in Kenya, where we are repurposing ‘dead’ solar lamp batteries into battery packs for a price similar to lead acid batteries. The work involves taking apart old battery packs, comprehensively testing all the components and building repurposed batteries.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsCycle Of Life: A Circular Economy Approach To Lithium Batteries