Connecticut Advances 1 GW Energy Storage Target

on May 21, 2021

The state of Connecticut looks to become the 8th state with an energy storage target. On May, 20, 2021 the Connecticut Senate passed Senate Bill (S.B.) 952, which will set a target of 1 GW of energy storage to be achieved by 2030. Energy storage targets are on the rise across the country. Let’s look at state energy storage targets to date:


  • Assembly Bill (A.B.) 2514 (2013) directed the state’s three investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to procure 1,325 MW of storage by 2020 with installations operational by 2024 (580 MW from SCE, 580 MW from PG&E, 165 MW from SDG&E).
  • A.B. 2868 (2016) directed the same utilities to add an additional 500 MW of additional storage to be rate-based. No more than 25 percent of the capacity could be behind-the-meter (BTM).
  • S.B. 801 (2018) required SCE to deploy 20 MW energy storage to meet energy reliability requirements in the greater Los Angeles area associated with the Aliso Canyon gas explosion.

Connecticut – NEW

  • S.B. 952 (2021) set a target of 1 GW of energy storage to be achieved by 2030. Sets interim targets of 300 MW by 2024 and 650 MW by 2027.


  • House Bill (H.B.) 4857 (2018) established a 1,000 MWh energy storage deployment target to be achieved by 2026.


  • S.B. 204 (2017) directed the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to establish biennial targets for NV Energy Inc.’s procurement of energy storage systems, starting at 100 MW by the end of 2020 and increasing to 1,000 MW by the end of 2030.

New Jersey

  • A.B. 3723 (2018) set targets of 600 MW of energy storage capacity within three years and 2 GW of capacity by 2030.

New York

  • S.B. 5190 and A.B. 6571 directed the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) to develop an Energy Storage Deployment Program, including 3,000 MW by 2030 with an interim goal of 1,500 MW by 2025.


  • H.B. 2193 (2016) required Portland General Electric (PGE) and PacifiCorp to each have a minimum of 5 MWh of energy storage in service by January 2020.


  • H.B. 1526 and S.B. 85 (2020) had Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) mandating a 3.1 GW energy target and a goal to achieve 100% renewable and clean energy by 2050.

Fractal Energy Storage Consultants provides technical design, financial analysis, procurement, due diligence and OE services for energy storage and hybrid projects. Contact us today for more information

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsConnecticut Advances 1 GW Energy Storage Target

Battery Recycling Challenges (and Costs) Persist

on May 17, 2021

Sales for electric vehicles, consumer electronics and stationary storage are expected to increase lithium-ion demand by double in 2025 and quadruple by 2030. That will create a LOT of spent batteries. Lithium-ion battery recycling is not well developed. Despite the eminent need for recycling, the economics are not financially compelling. The purpose of this article is to discuss these challenges and to share recent recycling costs.

Complicated and Time Consuming

Lithium-ion batteries have a wide variety of materials in each cell. The active materials are in the form of powder that are coated onto metal foils. These different materials must be separated from each other during recycling. Some large format lithium-ion manufacturers encase the cells in epoxy, making deconstruction extremely difficult. In addition, a lithium-ion pack is likely to contain 100 or more individual cells.  This makes recycling a costly and complicated process.

Critical Metals

Cobalt, nickel and lithium have been identified by the Biden administration as “critical metals.”[1] Cobalt has driven the business case for recycling, but in the future, the value of the reclaimed nickel and lithium may also help. Unfortunately, the amount of these critical metals represents a small fraction of the total battery weight (low single digit percent). Battery manufacturers require critical metals to have the highest purity, this makes the economics of recycling even more difficult.

Diminishing Cobalt Content

Manufacturers have been systematically reducing their dependency on cobalt. As the cobalt content diminishes, so does the immediate motivation to recycle. Cobalt creates substantial supply chain risk for battery manufacturers due to its price volatility (prices have ranged from USD $10-$42/ton). Additionally, cobalt mining has issues with human rights, including child labor. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is by far the world’s largest producer of cobalt, accounting for roughly 60 percent of global production. Avoiding DRC sourced cobalt creates further pressure on prices.

Following the commercial success of equally blended NMC[2] (⅓ nickel, ⅓ manganese, ⅓ cobalt – also abbreviated as NMC 111), NMC cathodes have migrated to a lower cobalt ratio. Many EV and stationary storage battery makers are now using NMC 811 (cathode composition with 80% nickel, 10% manganese, and 10% cobalt). Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries have been gaining market share due to their low cost (no cobalt content).

These trends underscore one of the fundamental challenges that will complicate the future of the recycling landscape. Without cobalt, there may be little financial incentive to recycle batteries or to invest in recycling technologies (without subsidies or grants).

U.S. Legislation is Lagging

The European Union (EU) has implemented a directive for collection and recycling of batteries. The EU Battery Directive (2006/66/EC) regulates the manufacturing, disposal and accumulators of batteries in the EU to minimize the negative impact on the environment. Most notably:

  • Battery producers or third parties acting on their behalf cannot refuse to take back waste batteries.
  • All collected batteries must be recycled.
  • Batteries cannot be disposed of in landfills or by incineration.
  • Recycling processes must achieve a minimum efficiency of 65% for lead-acid batteries, 75% for nickel-cadmium batteries and 50% for other batteries.

The U.S. pales in comparison. In 2017, the Trump administration introduced EO 13817 – A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.[3] The EO cited the national dependency on foreign sources for certain mineral commodities (lithium and cobalt). The EO called for the following actions:

  • Increasing private-sector domestic exploration, production, recycling, and reprocessing of critical minerals, and support to identify alternatives
  • Increasing activity at all levels of the supply chain to expedite exploration, production, processing, reprocessing, recycling, and domestic refining of critical minerals

In response to the EO, the Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office (VOT) initiated three areas of R&D:[4]

  • Supporting laboratory, university, and industry research to develop low-cobalt (or no cobalt) active cathode materials for next-generation lithium-ion batteries.
  • Establishing the ReCell Lithium Battery Recycling R&D Center focused on cost effective recycling processes to recover lithium battery critical materials.[5]
  • Launching a Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize[6] to incent American entrepreneurs to find innovative solutions to solve current challenges associated with collecting, storing, and transporting discarded lithium-ion batteries for eventual recycling.

Unfortunately, despite all the climate friendly ambitions our country has postulated, our plan for domestic recycling is nowhere close to maturity.

Recycling Costs Have Actually Increased

Prior to 2018, numerous U.S. companies claimed to “recycle” lithium-ion batteries, but in actuality they were shipping the batteries to China (similar to plastics). For over a decade, recyclables and scrap materials have been one of the country’s largest exports to China. In 2018, China enacted the National Sword policy restricting plastic waste imports to protect their environment and to develop their own domestic recycling capacity. In addition to the bans, China reduced the number of import licenses, meaning that fewer businesses could import waste.[7] In response, many recyclers moved their operations from China to other countries in Asia.  Exports from the U.S. to Thailand jumped almost 7,000 percent in one year, while Malaysia’s went up several hundred percent.[8] The actual amount of U.S. plastic waste that ends in countries with high waste mismanagement may be even higher because the U.S. exports millions of kgs of plastic waste to countries like Canada and South Korea who may re-export U.S. plastic waste to other countries. 

Current Recycling Costs

Fractal received a quote from a recycling company in Q2/2021 that costs $1.00/lb to collect and accept batteries from a project site. This includes the cost of pick up and transport by a qualified Universal Waste Handler. But this does not include the cost of packaging the batteries onto pallets (about $0.50/lb). It is unknown what happens to the batteries once they are accepted by the recycling company. Sadly, they are most likely put in a landfill.  

Non-Lithium Batteries

Quotes for Sodium Sulfur ($1.70/lb) and Zinc Air ($1.85/lb) batteries were also received. Keep in mind that Fractal only received quotes from two companies. Other recylers may have better pricing, volume discounts or corporate partnerships.

Impact of Energy Density

Since we know that recycling costs are a function of weight, let us exam how energy density impacts recycling costs. Note: The number of enclosures, modules and weights will vary across vendors, but this is an example of density variations across battery chemistries. Fractal has intentionally omitted the total cost to preserve your sanity.

ChemistryLithium NMCLithium LFPZinc Air
Power/Energy10 MW / 40 MWh  10 MW / 40 MWh  10 MW / 40 MWh  
Footprint10 x 40ft Containers 442 modules / container  20 x 40ft Containers
256 modules / container    
320 x 25ft Containers 144 modules / container  
Weight148.77 lbs / module Total Weight: 657,563 lbs198.42 lbs / module Total Weight: 1,015,910 lbs215 lbs / module Total Weight: 9,907,200 lbs

Fractal Energy Storage Consultants is a consulting and OE firm that specializes in energy storage and hybrid systems. More information at


[2] Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide




[6] The $5.5-million, three-phased Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Prize was announced by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in January 2019.



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md-adminBattery Recycling Challenges (and Costs) Persist

Cities and Counties Getting On Board with Battery Storage Safety

on May 5, 2021
Judy McElroy, Fractal Energy Storage Consultants, providing testimony on lithium-ion BESS safety May 3, 2020 in North Carolina for a proposed utility-scale solar plus storage installation.

Battery storage, and lithium-ion batteries in general, remain a highly magnified technology in terms of safety. This past week, Fractal had the pleasure of testifying at the Nash County Board of Commissioners in North Carolina on the topic of battery safety and cited significant improvements in BESS safety:

  • Standards have continued to evolve (1973, UL9540 and UL9540A) that limit the impacts of abuse and the ability of fire propagation should there be a thermal runaway event.
  • BESS enclosures have continued to compartmentalize, enabling less battery capacity to be exposed to an event
  • Detection equipment has really evolved (CO and H2 sensors, both container and rack level)
  • Suppression equipment and agents has also evolved (dry chem agents, aerosols, automatic venting tied to sensors)
  • Redundancy in fuses and protections enabling isolation of affected equipment
  • Deflagration panels enable mitigation of gas pressure build up
  • Sensor ports enable external monitoring of internal gas levels
  • Drip dry pipe (dry stand pipe) enabling flooding via fire department connection without the need to open an enclosure

Key observations and recommendations included:

  • Not all systems are built alike. During procurement you must understand which of these options comes standard and which is an additional cost. It is best practice to present equipment bidders with specific technical requirements in the beginning.
  • Always consult with your Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to understand local requirements related to safety and design standards.
  • Insurance companies may require spacing and safety systems above and beyond general codes and standards.
  • UL9540A testing and certification should be done by a domestic, reputable testing provider.
  • Real-time monitoring (people) is a must and should be performed by an experienced provider. Unfortunately, some Energy Management Systems (EMS) suppliers offer “monitoring” but they are only monitoring the software, or they subcontract it out to another company. You need experienced eyes on your asset at all times, that have the ability to take action, and to perform anomaly detection. Most events could be circumvented with a good EMS, proper monitoring and data analysis.
  • A safety plan and training outline should be given to first responders early during the design phase. Then formal training and materials should be provided during the commissioning process (2-step approach).
  • You get what you pay for. A least-cost procurement methodology is not recommended when it comes to battery storage. Tier-1 stationary storage battery manufacturers with a domestic proof-of-concept should be mandatory.
  • The experience and safety history of contractors should be well-vetted. This is what separates the U.S. safety track record compared to other countries.

Fractal Energy Storage Consultants is a consulting and OE firm that specializes in energy storage and hybrid systems. More information at

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsCities and Counties Getting On Board with Battery Storage Safety