Seeking The 2030 Headline For California’s Energy Storage Industry

on March 31, 2020

California, the world’s fifth largest economy and a global innovation engine, is confronting ambitious clean energy and GHG reduction goals. California must achieve 60% renewable energy and 5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, and a fully decarbonised power sector by 2045.

Energy storage solutions will be required to support the state in its decarbonisation efforts for renewables integration, grid reliability, local area support, fire resiliency, microgrids, and more. Indeed, the state’s utility regulator, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), modelled the need for at least 10,000MW of deployed energy storage over the next 10 years – a staggering amount.

With so much energy storage procurement coming, our relatively young industry is entering a new phase in its market development arc, moving from project development to long term operations. In February 2020, prior to the global response to the COVID-19 epidemic, the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA) held its annual convening of CESA members, policy makers, regulators, environmental advocates, utilities and load serving entities, grid operators to take a headline view of the future, and specifically, “The Next 10 Years.”

What would the energy storage headline be for 2030?

Will it be: “California faces rolling blackouts and record prices as state flubs climate goals?” or “California Achieves 60% Carbon-Free Grid with 11,000+ MW of deployed energy storage and spurs economic boom”?

‘What you focus on is what you get’
As the industry matures over the next decade, CESA is striving for the latter, and there is a lot of work to do. Financing and contracting mechanisms will require certainty. Owners and operators will have to contend with and master vital functions including long-term operations, ongoing market participation, scheduling, maintenance. From a safety perspective, the state has work to do on streamlining the process for safe siting and permitting of these systems, as well as training first responders in how to deal with systems designed to hold very large quantities of energy.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsSeeking The 2030 Headline For California’s Energy Storage Industry

The Most Powerful Energy Storage Project In The Netherlands Announced

on March 31, 2020

In the Netherlands, the Wageningen University & Research is partnering with NEC Energy Storage and GIGA Storage to deploy a 12MW energy storage project.

The $4 million energy storage system is claimed to be the most powerful in the Netherlands and the world’s largest-ever developed primarily using crowdfunding.

The GIGA Rhino energy storage system will provide grid resiliency to 5,000 homes on a local grid owned by Windnet and was crowdfunded on

The project is also the recipient of a subsidy from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency ( within the framework of the “Demonstration Energy and Climate Innovation”

The plant will be part of the Test Centre for Renewable Resources which is located in Lelystad next to the Neushoorntocht wind farm and will also be used for Frequency Containment Reserve and imbalance and curtailment services.

Ruud Nijs, the CEO of GIGA Storage, said: “Storage and control of electricity is crucial for a reliable and affordable energy system. The GIGA Rhino energy storage system is the first step in making it possible to close down coal-fired power stations.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsThe Most Powerful Energy Storage Project In The Netherlands Announced

Portuguese 700MW Solar Auction Includes Price-Capped Energy Storage Option

on March 31, 2020

An auction for 700MW of grid energy capacity in Portugal is being configured to allow bids from solar and also solar-plus-storage projects to participate on a competitive basis, with guaranteed payments for energy storage co-located projects to use a capping mechanism in the event of ‘price spikes’.

The Portuguese government directorate general of energy and geology last week issued its competitive procedure guidelines for a tender that is to be conducted electronically online and in a process that it said will be “competitive, simple, open, transparent and swift”. The inclusion of energy storage options was reported in January by sister site PV Tech. A previous auction for 1.15GW of solar in 2019 set record-breaking low prices of €14.76/MWh (US$16.44/MWh).

While the government issued various guidance documents for the process, PV Tech reported on Friday that the auction is now to be postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Energy state secretary João Galamba told PV Tech’s Jose Rojo Martin that it will be “paused”.

“I don’t know if it will be a month or two months. The only thing I can say clearly is we are ready to go, we are just pausing for the general situation to calm down a bit. As soon as we sense the market is ready to participate in a full-fledged auction we will launch it,” Galamba said.

“We want the auction to be as successful as the one last year so we will wait a little bit. It doesn’t make sense to launch it in the middle of this mess, especially since we are introducing the storage modality, which adds complexity”.

The auction is in line with the government’s Integrated National Energy Climate Plan (PNEC), which is Portugal’s “main instrument of energy and climate policy for the 2021-2030 decade,” according to the national energy ministry and meeting requirements determined by the country’s EU member state obligations. With placing an emphasis on the competitiveness of renewable energy up to 2030 as an interim goal, Portugal is targeting carbon neutrality by 2050.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsPortuguese 700MW Solar Auction Includes Price-Capped Energy Storage Option

Stem Transitions Its Classes Online For Solar + Storage Partner Certification

on March 30, 2020

AI-driven energy storage service provider Stem announced the debut of Stem University, an online certification program that provides required educational classes and tools for solar companies that are in the Stem Partner Program to gain expertise in storage. Stem University leverages the company’s decade of experience in delivering an end-to-end blueprint for storage success across the entire energy lifecycle.

Stem’s Premier and Certified Partners are required to complete Stem University coursework in three initial distinct certification tracks: sales, sales analytics and deployment. Additional certifications in commercial operations, product and back up power will be added to Stem University. Once a partner has one or more employees who have completed these tracks, they will become officially “Stem Certified.” To continue in the Stem Partner Program, certifications must be renewed annually.

“Our solar partners continue to come to us for guidance and advice on how to deploy and monetize storage within their implementations,” said Alan Russo, Chief Revenue Officer, at Stem. “As the market leader in intelligent storage, we believe it is our responsibility to share our broader domain expertise with the industry so they can take advantage of sophisticated storage use cases, more easily navigate local permitting requirements and understand the full benefits of solar + storage deployments. Our unique Stem University program will enable our partners to learn what it takes to optimize storage in commercial and industrial deployments, and ultimately drive greater savings and new revenue opportunities.”

Wood Mackenzie recently projected that global energy storage deployments will grow more than 12-times from 2020 to 2024. Stem has taken several steps to ensure its solar developers are in the strongest position to leverage these opportunities. The company has built a robust partner program with more than 50 active solar partners, which delivered over 159 MWh in 2019. This network originated more than 50% of Stem’s business last year.

Courses available in Stem University are designed to provide hands-on business and technical training for sales professionals, sales analysts and project managers. These resources also provide partners with background on how to identify and address customer needs, creating mutually beneficial deployments that add value for all parties.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsStem Transitions Its Classes Online For Solar + Storage Partner Certification

NEC: Energy Storage Opportunity in Japan Likely To ‘Increase Dramatically’

on March 30, 2020

NEC Corporation representatives have said that while the domestic market opportunity for battery energy storage remains fairly small for the Japanese company, it is expected to “increase dramatically” within the next three years at commercial and industrial (C&I) and utility-scale.

NEC is one of the world’s biggest players in energy storage systems via its Massachusetts-headquartered Energy Solutions division in the US. It has delivered battery systems technology for more than 10 years since it was originally formed from the acquisition of the relevant department of A123 Systems, and has deployed more than 900MW globally.

Recent projects include a crowdfunded 12MW project in the Netherlands – thought to be the country’s largest to date – and some of New York State’s first utility-scale front-of-meter batteries for developers. The majority of that 900MW is thought therefore to consist of NEC’s Grid-Scale Solutions (GSS) kit; the company’s containerised, large-scale energy storage product.

However in its parent company’s homeland, the strategy is very different. Unlike many other advanced economies with built-out grid infrastructure, Japan is yet to launch opportunities or market frameworks for fast-acting battery assets to deliver frequency response and other ancillary services.

Although a few specific regions such as the northern island of Hokkaido have issued requirements that new renewable energy projects come with some energy storage attached as a means to preventing grid congestion, for the most part, large-scale batteries as a means to integrate renewables are not considered economically viable either in Japan at this stage, according to various sources.

Initial focus on industrial and commercial, with grid-scale to follow
For now, in Japan, NEC Corporation is focusing much of its energy storage sales activity on its Distributed Scale Storage (DSS) product that it launched just over a year ago, in February 2019. Aimed at commercial and industrial (C&I) customers, the units go from 40kW / 90kWh to 240kW / 540kWh and are integrated all-in-one with power converters and built-in connectors for ease of installation. Up to five units can be combined, allowing for 2,700kWh maximum capacity and 1,200kW maximum power per install.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNEC: Energy Storage Opportunity in Japan Likely To ‘Increase Dramatically’

Why Microgrid Projects Start with Energy Monitoring and Energy Efficiency

on March 30, 2020

Why do microgrid projects need to start with energy monitoring and energy efficiency? Jules Nohra, director of optimization services, Veolia North America, explains in an interview with Yasmin Ali, Microgrid Knowledge contributor.

Why is it important to make a facility as energy efficient as possible before you install a microgrid?

Jules Nohra: The first, and probably the most important reason, is to make sure the microgrid is not oversized. Energy efficiency measures reduce a facility’s energy demand, so taking these measures after installing a microgrid would result in it being oversized, meaning that the capital cost was unnecessarily high. The second reason is because energy efficiency is typically a lot cheaper to implement than a microgrid.

Energy efficiency has evolved far beyond efficient light bulbs and HVAC systems. What are some of the key elements and technologies used today?
JN: A key development is using data for the identification of energy efficiency measures. Data science and machine learning allow us to continuously monitor the performance of buildings on a large scale, for a variety of buildings, and helps build a continuous picture versus a one-time snapshot of a facility. Improvements in the data science field also mean that we can do continuous commissioning at scale and a lot more intelligently that we did in the past.

What is “continuous commissioning”?
JN: Let’s start with commissioning. Equipment installed in a new building is usually commissioned, or tested to make sure that it is operating as per the design specification. Unfortunately this process isn’t always perfect. In some cases, issues are missed during commissioning, for example a piece of equipment is left in manual mode for years to come, without anyone noticing. You would have paid a lot of money to install a piece of equipment that essentially doesn’t do anything.

Retro-commissioning is going back to a building that has been operating for a long time and commissioning it. Some places will re-commission every few years, as equipment in buildings tends to drift away from the specification over time.

And finally, continuous commissioning is essentially continuous monitoring of energy performance and equipment in a building to make sure that you’re never drifting away from the original design intent.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsWhy Microgrid Projects Start with Energy Monitoring and Energy Efficiency

Pollution: IDTechEx on the Lockdown Effect and the Battery Energy Storage Solution

on March 27, 2020

BOSTON, March 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The pandemic infection of COVID-19 led to the lockdown of a considerable number of cities, leading to reduced pollution activity. With the large number of renewable energy sources (RES) employed in the last decades to decarbonise the energy sector, a growing number of energy storage devices have been coupled with RES. As highlighted by Luke Gear, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx, in the report “Batteries for Stationary Energy Storage 2019-2029” the Li-ion batteries are currently dominating the energy storage sector, while other technologies, such as redox flow batteries, are also slowly acquiring their share of the energy storage market, As described in the report “Redox Flow Batteries 2020-2030”.

Li-ion batteries (LIB), since their introduction to the market in 1991, have started to be adopted in a wide range of applications, from the energy storage sector to the automotive, to power electronics like smartphones and tablets.

The great advantage of LIB is given by their higher gravimetric and volumetric energy densities compared to other battery technologies. The high energy content is given by the rocking chair principle of the Lithium ions. The charge battery stores Li-ions into the negative (anode) electrode, usually made of carbon material. During the discharge of the battery, the anode material releases ‘n’ electrons in the external electrical circuit, together with ‘n’ Li-ions which are instead released into the electrolyte. Simultaneously, the cathode electrode accepts ‘n’ electrons, together with ‘n’ Li-ions. During the discharge process, the positive and negative electrode reactions are reversed.

Besides the simple working mechanism, a constant study is required to improve the performances and safety of this technology, together with reducing the cost by adopting low-cost materials.

While initially a cobalt base cathode material was employed, its high cost pushed for the adoption of low-cost materials such as aluminium and nickel and silicon. While the adoption of low-cost materials affects the cost of the battery itself, the large market of Li-ion battery has a strong influence on the economic status of entire countries. A complete analysis of raw materials for LIB is provided by Dr Alex Holland in the report “The Li-Ion Battery Supply Chain 2020-2030”, together with a cost analysis and the demand forecast for the period 2020-2030.

Besides the constant research of cheaper and more performant materials, the complex system of lithium-ion batteries made of electrodes, thermal management systems, and battery management systems is constantly being improved. The report “Li-ion Batteries 2018-2028” analyses all aspects of Li-ion batteries, from the electrode’s components to the battery management system (or BMS), cell design, and the battery production methods. Moreover, their applications and second-life battery are also described. In conclusion, the price forecast and cost analysis are provided.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsPollution: IDTechEx on the Lockdown Effect and the Battery Energy Storage Solution

Lessons from Microgrids for the COVID-19 Crisis

on March 27, 2020

There are parallels between COVID-19 responses and the management of the electrical grid of the future. Concepts like “flattening the curve” and” self-quarantine” are concepts not only crucial in the current pandemic, but in electricity distribution systems globally.

While we at Introspective Systems practice social distancing, working remotely, and watching record demands asked of hospitals and the infrastructure that support them, we hear something that is oddly familiar, “flattening the curve.” To those who work in the transmission and distribution environment, this concept is integral to the work we do. Our electricity systems infrastructure is determined by and broken by, peak demands of resources. When we move to a greener grid with greatly expanded renewable generation through microgrids and beneficial electrification of transportation, space heating, and industrial loads, our infrastructure will be impacted by peaks. The nation’s response to the COVID-19 crisis is driven by some of the same principals, flattening the curve (demand response) and self-quarantine (microgrids).

Peak electricity demand has been and will remain the silent killer of the electrical grid. Whether your business is a utility, a manufacturing plant, or a school district, peak electricity charges or the infrastructure required to service them are leading factors in your costs.

For this reason, Introspective Systems is focused on managing peak demands and building microgrids along with layered microgrids that “self-quarantine,” or island, during faults. Our flavor (algorithms) of Transactive Energy (TE), is designed to balance the large-scale demands on our system, orchestrating demand to match generation, while at the same time incentivizing production to be responsive to that changing demand. We do this through a balance of supply and demand, where our Economic Dispatch Value (EDV) responds to changes in the state of the system. Then, by combining the network-wide balancing capabilities of the EDV with local intelligence such as AI-enabled heating systems that forecast future grid states to take advantage of lower electricity costs, we can effectively flatten the demand curve.

These economic systems can drive microgrids or distribution grids and can then be layered as required. Much like the response to the pandemic in Hawaii, where its states are isolating or “islanding” by instituting 14-day quarantine to visitors, they protect themselves from further faults or in the case of COVID-19, new infections.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsLessons from Microgrids for the COVID-19 Crisis

After Bushfires, Batteries Seen As Wise Investment in Australia

on March 27, 2020

“The bottom line is that this is a good business decision. We will get back our money in eight to 10 years at the current price of power. As the price of energy goes up, we’ll pay it back even quicker.”

“The bottom line is that this is a good business decision. We will get back our money in eight to 10 years at the current price of power. As the price of energy goes up, we’ll pay it back even quicker.”

Jeff Murray, an orchard-keeper and farmer in West Australia, has purchased zinc-bromine redox flow batteries (RFBs) to keep power supplies reliable including irrigation for his plants, after losing power following devastating bushfires in December.

Local electrical contractor TIEC installed 40kWh of Australian manufacturer Redflow’s ZMB2 batteries, which use a zinc bromine electrolyte, splitting the capacity across four 10kWh devices. They are combined with 14kWp of LONGi solar panels.

While the tragic total cost of bushfires and how much their threat has been exacerbated by climate change is still being figured out, the Murray farm and residence was spared by the fires. However, a day-long blackout did occur as power was cut off, and the following days saw many more outages. Furthermore, Jeff Murray said his property has long been affected by frequent blackouts already, irrespective of the fires, as well as power surges.

“Our water comes from two bores, so without power, we can’t get any water. If fire does reach us, we need energy to run the pumps to defend our property, which is why the bushfire was the last straw for us,” Murray, a former firefighter, said.

To counter the impact of the “debilitating” power quality issues, the solar-plus-storage system can take the whole property off-grid, although it is still connected as normal. Murray also said he chose the zinc bromine flow batteries over lithium-ion due to his concerns over the latter’s fire safety as well as Redflow’s claimed recyclability of its devices.

“Now the system is in place and we’re going well. I’ve driven it pretty hard since we’ve had it, like turning on pumps when I didn’t need to. I’ve taken batteries down as low as I could and then kicked in the grid purely to charge the batteries. It has taken everything I threw at it. I can check the system via the Internet whenever I want,” Jeff Murray said.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsAfter Bushfires, Batteries Seen As Wise Investment in Australia

Coronavirus: Energy Storage Europe 2020 postponed until 16-18 March 2021

on March 26, 2020

With this announcement of the dates, Messe Düsseldorf is reacting promptly to the recent postponement of the leading trade fair for the global energy storage industry. In consultation with the trade fair advisory board and all partners involved, this decision was made in order to counteract the increasingly dynamic developments regarding the possible spread of the coronavirus.

“It is very important for us to announce this new date which will allow exhibitors, visitors and the media to make reliable plans,” explains Erhard Wienkamp, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, and adds: “Our partners can trust us to act responsibly and calmly even in difficult situations.”

As Energy Storage Europe’s partner, BVES – Bundesverband Energiespeicher Systeme e.V. – fully supports the decision. “We expressly welcome the fact that Messe Düsseldorf had the courage to take this step and that we are now collectively providing a clear perspective for 2021. Planning security is entirely in the interests of the energy storage industry. In our opinion, Energy Storage Europe has reacted cautiously, sensibly and correctly, taking all advantages and disadvantages into consideration,” says Urban Windelen, CEO of BVES.

Existing contracts with Messe Düsseldorf remain valid for the new date. The same applies to visitor tickets already purchased. If visitors have any queries, they can send an e-mail to

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsCoronavirus: Energy Storage Europe 2020 postponed until 16-18 March 2021