Wärtsilä Finalises Californian Energy Storage Project

on April 30, 2020

Wärtsilä is finalising a 70 MW energy storage and energy management system project in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) energy market. The energy storage system will be paired with Wärtsilä GEMS platform to maximise system efficiencies and will add renewable power to the grid at times when it otherwise wouldn’t be available. The order was booked by Wärtsilä in late 2019 and the project will be finalised in mid-2020.

Wärtsilä GEMS advanced software platform will optimise the deployment and functionality of the customer’s existing renewable energy power system, and will connect the site to the local energy market. GEMS will increase revenue and ROI by maximising battery performance and longevity and enabling additional value streams. For example, GEMS will facilitate ‘energy arbitrage’ with the system’s battery storage capabilities. This allows the customer to purchase electricity from the market when prices are low, and sell stored energy back into the market when short-term costs spike.

Other technical considerations include battery chemistry. Wärtsilä is incorporating lithium iron phosphate batteries, enhancing safety measures of the site.

This project adds to Wärtsilä’s portfolio of 20+ operating energy storage projects in North America, including two grid-scale 9.9 MW energy storage systems in Roscoe, Texas.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsWärtsilä Finalises Californian Energy Storage Project

Are EVs Holding Back Stationary Energy Storage Systems?

on April 30, 2020

For the stationary battery sector, the next two decades are going to be seismic. According to BloombergNEF’s Energy Storage Outlook 2019, capacity will grow from 9GW in 2018 to a staggering 1,100GW by 2040, a 122-fold increase. However, if the sector is to rise to the challenges it needs significant investment, to the tune of $662bn according to the research provider.

The report highlighted a number of significant changes that are, or will, shape the market in the coming decades: from the continuing fall in raw material costs to growing utilisation of stationary storage on an industry scale. Report co-author Yayoi Sekine said analysts now think, “the majority of new capacity will be utility-scale, rather than behind-the-meter at homes and businesses.”

It’s a significant shift from what has previously been seen, but one that will shape the market as it moves towards a critical and increasingly advanced stage. However, many have warned that, despite its growing importance, the electric vehicle (EV) portion – and to a lesser extent mobile devices – are dominating the narrative and potentially holding back development, something that needs to be addressed.

Stationary batteries set for a boom?
Branding it the second wave, some industry players, however, believe the stationary power market is set to explode with the right investment and nurturing. US-based analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Dennis Wamsted, says he finds it hard to fathom the argument that EVs are having a detrimental impact on stationary storage.

“I do not believe the EV market is ‘holding back’ the development,” he says. “In their latest quarterly report, the Energy Storage Association and Wood Mackenzie estimated that installations in the power sector battery storage market would grow to more than 7GW annually by 2025, creating a market worth more than $7bn. That does not seem like a market being held back by anything.”

That is, however, not to say the market doesn’t have its challenges. Whilst the popularity of renewables has been increasing unabated, with new wind and solar farms coming on stream at a record-setting pace, the biggest challenge remains stationary energy storage systems (ESS) batteries. Renewables are now a vital part of many countries’ energy mix, providing significant amounts of power. But capturing unused power when these elements aren’t available continues to be the challenge.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsAre EVs Holding Back Stationary Energy Storage Systems?

Tesla Installed its 100,000th Powerwall Home Battery Pack

on April 30, 2020

Tesla confirmed that it installed its 100,000th Powerwall, the automaker’s home battery pack, during the last quarter.

With the introduction of Powerwall 2 in 2016, Tesla took the home energy storage business by storm with a leading cost per kWh of energy capacity.

The automaker received tens of thousands of reservations for the device, but the production ramp-up over the last few years has been slow since Tesla focused its efforts and battery supply on Model 3 production.

Last year, Tesla started to ramp up production of all its energy storage product with the Powerwall, Powerpack, and the new Megapack.

With the release of its Q1 2020 results, Tesla gave an update on demand for the Megapack:

Megapack, a battery pack of up to 3 MWh that is preassembled at Gigafactory Nevada as a single unit, is gaining traction. We have seen an inflection point in interest for utility level storage, primarily driven by progress in reducing costs. At the moment, the demand level for this product remains above our capacity. Our order book continues to expand due to multiple projects in the pipeline that are far bigger than our Hornsdale battery in South Australia which is still the largest Li-ion battery in the world.

We previously reported on some of those large projects including a massive 1 GWh Megapack battery project with PG&E in California.

Powerwall deployments also accelerated with large-scale projects, like a virtual power plant in Australia and with an electric utility in Vermont.

Last month, we reported on Tesla Powerwall becoming extremely hard to get as demand increases due to home battery pack incentives.

Now Tesla is confirming that it is seeing strong demand for Powerwall and that it installed its 100,000th Powerwall in Q1:

We have also seen an increase in cross-selling within the energy business as more than 40% of our residential solar customers opt for at least one Powerwall. In Q1, we installed our 100,000th Powerwall.

As we previously reported, on top of Powerwall buyers having access to the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) when buying with a solar power system, the California Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), which gave rebates of up $5,800 per Powerwall, has been significantly increasing demand for the Powerwall.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsTesla Installed its 100,000th Powerwall Home Battery Pack

Duke Energy’s Net Zero Goal Requires Huge Investment in Renewables, Energy Storage and Maintaning Nuclear Fleet

on April 29, 2020

Utility giant Duke Energy is already halfway toward its goal of 16,000 MW in owned, operated and contracted renewable energy by 2025, the company announced in new climate and sustainability reports released Tuesday.

In addition, Duke said that the combination of clean energy and efficiency programs have reduced its carbon emissions 39 percent below 2005 levels. The utility’s goal is to cut 2005 carbon output levels in half by 2030.

“Our commitment to ESG (environmental, social and governmental initiatives) has delivered strong results for our customers and our shareholders – and we’re focused on maintaining this level of performance and transparency as we work to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Lynn Good, Duke Energy’s chair, president and CEO. “These two reports showcase the significant progress we’ve made in these areas, and our plan to help address the challenges from climate change.”

Last year, Duke announced 1,500 MW of new renewable energy projects, detailed plans to renew licensing of its carbon-free nuclear fleet for another 20 years and completed gas-fired power projects to replace retiring coal-fired capacity. It also announced plans for extensive electric vehicle charging infrastructure and $600 million in energy storage investment over the next five years.

Duke’s generation portfolio, measured in net output of GWh, is 36 percent natural gas, 35 percent nuclear, 27 percent coal and 2 percent hydro and solar. The plant owned capacity is 42 percent gas-powered, 33 percent coal, 18 percent nuclear and 7 percent hydro and solar.

In the climate report, the utility laid out its plan for achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. To reach that goal, Duke will need to grow its renewable and energy storage capacity significantly, utilize gas-fired capacity efficiency, keep the nuclear fleet going strong and retire more coal-fired plants.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsDuke Energy’s Net Zero Goal Requires Huge Investment in Renewables, Energy Storage and Maintaning Nuclear Fleet

California Energy Commission Clarifies That Solar and Energy Storage Installers Are Essential Workers

on April 29, 2020

The California Energy Commission (CEC) clarified that statewide orders in response to COVID-19 identifying essential electricity industry workers include solar photovoltaic and energy storage installers.

The ongoing health and safety of all Californians is of upmost importance to the State of California and the (CEC). Consistent with Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic (N-33-20), the CEC advises all of its partners and stakeholders to abide by its directives.

Under this order, the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) State Public Health Officer has ordered “all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, as outlined here. In addition, and in consultation with the Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, I may designate additional sectors as critical in order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians.”

The State Public Health Officer has designated essential critical infrastructure workers needed at this time to support critical sectors, including the construction and energy sectors, as detailed here. This list of essential workers is updated as needed.

The list of identified essential workers for the electricity industry includes “workers who maintain, ensure, or restore the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power…” This list includes workers whose efforts are needed to supply electricity to households and businesses, and essential workers such as electricians who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the essential operation of construction sites and construction projects (including those that support such projects to ensure the ongoing availability of electricity).

Installation and maintenance of photovoltaics (PV) and energy storage projects have the added importance of supporting the resilience and continued operations of critical equipment and infrastructure across the state that requires uninterrupted power. This may include medical equipment and other devices necessary to ensure ongoing health and safety in consideration of potential grid outages and/or public safety power shutoffs that may occur in the future.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsCalifornia Energy Commission Clarifies That Solar and Energy Storage Installers Are Essential Workers

How COVID-19 is Threatening the Energy Storage Battery Charging Market

on April 29, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a substantial slowdown in terms of global economic growth. The pandemic has been particularly hard on China, owing to its place as a major global manufacturing center. A large number of production facilities have either been shut down or are not operating at full capacity owing to major disruptions in raw material supply chains. These trends have also impacted stock prices in the industrial battery chargers market.

Chargers for Lithium Ion Batteries Show High Susceptibility

The pandemic has created several hurdles for lithium ion batteries. Countries which are major producers of raw materials that are required for battery production have been subject to stringent restrictions to control the spread of the virus. For instance, Australian lithium production companies have set up strict guidelines for businesses in the industry in terms of long-distance travel restrictions.

Other major producer countries in Africa and Latin America have announced nationwide curfews and quarantines in addition to trade and travel closures. These trends are anticipated to restrict the production and adoption of industrial battery chargers.

On the other hand, 2019 witnessed an oversupply of raw materials, which has mitigated losses from potential raw material supply shortages. However, continued delays and restrictions on transport are a matter of concern in the short term. While production continues apace, problems with shipping, transport routes, and container equipment are critical threats to normal operations.

Logistics Remains a Major Challenge

Companies are feeling pressure in terms of supply chain disruptions. While some countries have designated select industries in the industrial battery chargers supply chain as essential, travel restrictions imposed on workers has made day-to-day functions complex, as remote production activities have not made major inroads into the industry.

Across the world, logistics for raw materials and component supplies are expected to slow down. Consequently, industrial battery charger manufacturers are expected to invest in bringing supply chains for components geographically closer together. The global pandemic is expected to bring about permanent changes in business approaches associated with international supply chains, which can result in growing localization of charger production.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsHow COVID-19 is Threatening the Energy Storage Battery Charging Market

US Federal Lab Seeks Data on Direct Current Microgrids, Lighting

on April 28, 2020

A U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory is seeking market data about direct current lighting and DC building microgrid controllers to help guide its research efforts.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory issued requests for information from manufacturers and solution providers to understand the state of the two technologies and how they work together.

The responses will help guide PNNL’s research to advance DC lighting technology and DC building microgrids, with the goal of increasing energy efficiency and resilience while enabling Zero Energy Buildings, the national lab said.

In a DC building microgrid, on-site distributed resources like solar panels directly power DC devices, reducing or eliminating the need for equipment that converts power from alternating current to DC and associated energy losses, PNNL said.
LED lighting, a DC technology, is key to achieving an optimized DC building microgrid solution, according to the lab. “However, a deeper understanding of the benefits and barriers to adoption of these combined technologies is necessary to promote the technologies’ use,” PNNL said.

For each technology, PNNL wants information on the availability, types and characteristics of technology solutions as well as perspectives on the technologies’ benefits and adoption.

The lab is studying DC lighting and building microgrid technologies. The research aims to assess and characterize the availability of DC-based lighting technologies and associated equipment or services to integrate DC building loads with building-level photovoltaics and energy storage batteries, according to the lab.

For the RFI, PNNL defines a DC building microgrid controller as devices, equipment or solutions that connect DC building loads with DC building power sources such as PV or energy storage batteries and controls the flow of power between them. They should have the capability to interact with the electric grid to support islanding of the building microgrid.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsUS Federal Lab Seeks Data on Direct Current Microgrids, Lighting

European Grid Operators Launch Blockchain-Based Flexibility Platform

on April 28, 2020

Three European Transmission System Operators (TSO) have collaborated to launch a new, blockchain-based flexibility platform, Equigy.

It is designed to allow the integration of small and distributed consumer-based assets, such as electric vehicles (EVs), residential battery energy storage and heat pumps to play a role in the grid-balancing process.

Consumers will be able to use Equigy to earn money by flexing their interaction with the electric grid via an aggregator. This will help enable greater integration of intermittent renewables into the grid by increasing the TSOs ability to balance generation through flexibility.

Currently three TSOs – Swissgrid, TenneT and Terna – are launching the platform in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Additionally, Denmark’s Energinet has expressed an interest in joining the consortium, which would further extend the rollout.

Equigy is designed to be non-exclusive and can work with other balancing systems. This helps to provide a viable collective approach, said the consortium, offering standardisation, a common approach from TSOs with neutral governance and the opportunity for scaling-up.

A press release said that “batteries from millions of households will stabilise the electricity grid in the future,” with the Equigy platform using blockchain technology – which creates a secure, distributed and transparent ledger of all transactions – to allow the capabilities of even small household systems of a couple of kilowatts to be aggregated to deliver the services traditionally supplied by large-scale fossil fuel generation. TenneT has previously hosted a couple of related ‘virtual power plant’ (VPP) trial projects in Germany and the Netherlands with residential battery storage manufacturer sonnen, while Terna has already enabled distributed energy resources such as home batteries aggregated into VPPs to participate in some grid-balancing opportunities.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEuropean Grid Operators Launch Blockchain-Based Flexibility Platform

Size Matters: Energy Storage Scales Up To Beat Down Fossil Fuels

on April 28, 2020

Everybody knows that coal is on the way out, but the latest electricity report from BloombergNEF is something of a shocker. It casts a shadow of gloom over natural gas, too. Low-cost renewables are creeping into gas territory, helped along by falling costs for energy storage. In fact, according to BNEF, energy storage is now a cheaper alternative to building new gas “peaker” plants in some regions. And by some they mean Europe, which was supposed to be a lifeline for US gas exporters.

Natural Gas & The European Connection
BNEF cautions that the new report is based on data from recent months and does not fully reflect the longer term impact of the COVID-19 global economic crash. Nevertheless, the findings are rather juicy from a geopolitical point of view.

During the Obama administration, the US engaged in a concerted effort to help Europe reduce its dependence on Russia for natural gas. The first step was to restrict limitations on exporting liquid natural gas from the US, and boy howdy did that open the floodgates.

According to the US Energy Information Agency, by July 0f 2019, the US had become the third-largest LNG exporter in the world, surpassed only by Australia and Qatar.

The lion’s share of all that had been going to Asia, but in January of 2019 — after something of a kerfluffle with China over tariffs — US exports to Europe topped Asia for the first time ever.

The Energy Department’s latest monthly LNG export report reflects that trend. As of February 2020 three of the top five countries of destination were EU members, topped by the UK with France and Spain following. Japan and Turkey were the non-EU members in the top five.

As of last summer EIA was still expecting demand in Europe to continue increasing, mainly as a consequence of decarbonization efforts.

It certain seems that gas stakeholder are counting on that. With the help of new LNG facilities coming on board in the next few, the US will end up with the biggest LNG export capacity in the world.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsSize Matters: Energy Storage Scales Up To Beat Down Fossil Fuels

New Jersey Regulators Urged to Include Microgrids, Storage in Efficiency Plan

on April 27, 2020

The Sierra Club is urging New Jersey regulators to include microgrids as part of the state’s strategy for supporting energy efficiency and peak demand reduction.

The Sierra Club is urging New Jersey regulators to include microgrids as part of the state’s strategy for supporting energy efficiency and peak demand reduction.

The environmental group and others are also pushing the state to use energy storage to improve energy efficiency and peak demand cuts, according to comments filed with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU).

At issue is a proposal to revamp the state’s efficiency and demand reduction programs released by the BPU in March. The proposal grew out of the New Jersey’s 2018 Clean Energy Act, which calls for overhauling the state’s power system and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The proposal includes recommendations on program design and administration, cost recovery mechanisms, performance targets and metrics, program performance reviews, the evaluation, measurement and verification of programs and program effects, and filing and reporting requirements.

However, some groups want the state to go further.

Energy efficiency and microgrids
“Now is the time to initiate an expansion of energy efficiency and peak demand programs to address managing electric services for microgrids and electric vehicle charging stations,” the Sierra Club said in comments filed this month.

Microgrids will be needed to fulfill the state’s energy master plan, which calls for replacing fossil-fueled power plants, heating systems and vehicles, according to the environmental group.

“The proliferation of microgrids is an opportunity to execute a smooth transition to the Clean Energy Grid resulting in cost savings to customers, a reduction in emissions, and more control by consumers and grid operators to improve reliability and resiliency,” the Sierra Club said.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNew Jersey Regulators Urged to Include Microgrids, Storage in Efficiency Plan