DrexelA group of Drexel University researchers have created a fabric-like material electrode that could help make energy storage devices — batteries and supercapacitors — faster and less susceptible to leaks or disastrous meltdowns. Their design for a new supercapacitor, which looks something like a furry sponge infused with gelatin, offers a unique alternative to the flammable electrolyte solution that is a common component in these devices.

The electrolyte fluid inside both batteries and supercapacitors can be corrosive or toxic and is almost always flammable. To keep up with our advancing mobile technology, energy storage devices have been subject to material shrinking in the design process, which has left them vulnerable to short circuiting — as in recent cases with Samsung’s Galaxy Note devices — which, when compounded with the presence of a flammable electrolyte liquid, can create an explosive situation.

So instead of a flammable electrolyte solution, the device designed by Vibha Kalra, PhD, a professor in Drexel’s College of Engineering, and her team, used a thick ion-rich gel electrolyte absorbed in a freestanding mat of porous carbon nanofibers to produce a liquid-free device. The group, which included Kalra’s doctoral assistant Sila Simotwo and Temple researchers Stephanie L.Wunder, PhD, and Parameswara Chinnam, PhD, recently published its new design for a “solvent-free solid-state supercapacitor” in the American Chemical Society journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.

“We have completely eliminated the component that can catch fire in these devices,” Kalra said. “And, in doing so, we have also created an electrode that could enable energy storage devices to become lighter and better.”

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Energy Storage NewsWhile lithium-ion is rapidly racing ahead to become the “de facto grid storage solution” and is the most popular technology choice by far, vendors of other types of batteries are also targeting the market, with varying degrees of success.

US firm Navigant Research published ‘Navigant Research Leaderboard: Non-lithium ion batteries for grid storage’,  earlier this month, examining the technologies, business models and strategies for commercialisation and larger scale production of energy storage batteries that sit outside the many different sub-chemistries making up the lithium battery market ecosystem.

Lithium remains by far the most popular technology in energy storage. A recent edition of GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association’s jointly-published US Energy Storage Monitor, which gives quarterly updates on deployment figures, notable projects, market design and policies, found 94.2% of energy storage systems installed in Q2 2017 in the US used lithium batteries. Around 5% of the remainder were flow battery projects and a further 0.5% used lead acid.

While that percentage was in fact the first time since 2015 that lithium-ion battery systems had been found by GTM to have less than 95% market share, the lead looks all but unassailable. Indeed, even in longer duration applications of up to four or five hours, as one expert from IHS Market recently told Energy-Storage.News, lithium batteries are starting to have fallen enough in price to make sense.

According to Navigant, the speed at which costs of production fall and the presence of reputable, renowned vendors in the lithium battery space are its key advantages. However, as the ‘Leaderboard’ report shows, there are numerous companies making other types of battery energy storage that have reached commercialisation of their technologies and are already deploying them in the field, although still at the pilot stage in some cases. 

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forbesEarly this month, Generate Capital, a sustainable infrastructure finance company, and Sharp Electronics Corporation’s Energy Systems and Services Group announced the commencement of a six-site solar plus storage project at the Santa Rita Union School District (SRUSD) in Salinas, California. The project will include more than a megawatt (MW) of solar arrays, combined with 1.2 megawatt-hours (MWh) of Sharp’s SmartStorage on-site energy storage.

This initiative will be supported through the state’s reinvigorated Self-Generation Incentive Program, which offers significant incentives to bring more storage to the California power grid. The SRUSD will be able to cut energy costs (during some months, as much as 70-80% of the district’s electricity needs will be met by the systems). The district will also significantly reduce its expensive hourly utility demand charges (a dollars-per-kilowatt fee based on one’s highest demand during the month that can easily contribute to 30-40% of the total bill).

This project is part of a growing trend as the U.S. market has recently seen a significant uptick in the addition of on-site energy storage. GTM research reportsthat Q2 2017 saw 443 commercial and residential storage projects installed, totaling 32 MW. A large portion of these recent projects emanated from Hawaii and California. Solar and storage hybrids are coming on strong and will likely soon become commonplace, so from that perspective, the SRUSD project is not especially newsworthy.

What is newsworthy is the fact that the project was designed not only to save money, but also to provide critical backup power to the schools in the event of power outages. The project can help the SRUSD ride through brownouts or short-term outages, as well as longer-duration events. And in the aftermath of the recent devastation in Florida and Texas, the importance of backup power has increasingly come into focus.

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business-insiderRIVERSIDE, Calif.Sept. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Sparked by strong demand for the groundbreaking energy storage system the company launched last year, SolarMax Technology has introduced a new model that more than doubles the amount of power homeowners can access when the grid goes down.  The 10kWh FLEX™ Energy Storage System, which combines two batteries with an inverter, targets the U.S. residential housing market.

Unlike many battery back-up systems, the FLEX™ requires no additional components or labor assembly by the customer. The fully integrated, all-in-one design saves consumers thousands compared to existing “ala carte” solutions that require the purchase of separate component parts in order to achieve comparable functionality.   

The lithium-ion powered batteries pack plenty of electricity when fully charged. When coupled with solar, the FLEX™ system can power a refrigerator, flat screen TV, laptop computer and five 7-watt LED lights for days after an outage – while still having enough power to keep a life-saving oxygen machine running for multiple hours. 

SolarMax will continue focusing its marketing efforts on existing solar customers, homeowners considering the value proposition of converting to solar, and even non-solar customers who simply want a reliable source of power when blackouts occur.

“If you’re a homeowner, the most important – and, often, the only thing – you’re concerned about in a black-out is being able to immediately switch over to a reliable source of back-up power,” said SolarMax CEO David Hsu.  “That’s the profile of the FLEX™ customer.  We designed and engineered the solution to offer a very strong value proposition.”

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The GuardianOn a paved expanse next to an electrical substation in Escondido, 30 miles north of downtown San Diego, sits a row of huge silver boxes. The site resembles a barracks, but instead of soldiers, the 24 containers house racks of battery packs.

This is the largest lithium-ion battery in the world, according to its developers. When the local grid needs more power, these batteries deliver, almost instantaneously. They can discharge up to 30 megawatts – roughly equivalent to powering 20,000 homes – and can sustain that level for up to four hours.

AES Energy Storage built the system in less than six months for utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) in response to a four-month blowout at southern California’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. The rupture in October 2015 leaked more gas into the atmosphere than any other spill in US history.

After the leak was finally plugged in February 2016, utilities needed a fast-response energy source to deploy quickly in the densely populated areas around Los Angeles and San Diego. They wanted to prevent blackouts during periods of high demand, especially when customers crank up the air-conditioning on hot summer days.

Traditional grid solutions didn’t make sense. Gas peaker plants – which can be turned on quickly to meet demand – can take years to gain permission and be built, and they burn fossil fuels. You can’t drop a hydroelectric dam in the middle of a city. Solar power doesn’t help much in the evening, when summer demand is highest.

Instead, utilities Southern California Edison and SDG&E chose something relatively new: grid-scale batteries. What followed was the Escondido battery plus several others totalling about 100MW. The project became a major test case for the grid storage industry’s ability to make the grid more efficient and clean.

“To go from something that we thought of as kind of the future technology to, all of a sudden, it coming to the rescue so quickly – yeah, I think that’s a huge success story,” said John Zahurancik, president of AES Energy Storage.

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energy storage utility diveCalifornia is a leader in both renewable energy resources and energy storage. The state has one of the highest renewable portfolio standards in the U.S., mandating that 50% of all electric power be sourced from renewable resources by 2030, and the state has the first and some of the most robust incentives for energy storage.

AB 2514 requires the state’s three investor owned utilities to procure 1.3 GW of energy storage by 2020, and AB 2868 requires each IOU to deploy an additional 166 MW of behind-the-meter and/or distribution tied storage.

The IOUs are already well on their way to meet their goals. Southern California Edison has 400 MW of storage in its portfolio toward its 582 MW target. But installing energy storage is one thing, using it to meet other goals is another.

California is a restructured state, so utilities there generally do not own or build power plants. Nor do utilities control the dispatch of those plants. That is the job of the California ISO.

Soaking up solar power during the day and dispatching it in the evening is often cited as a renewable-enabling use for energy storage, but in practice the renewable-enabling potential of storage is often not so simple.

SCE, for instance, does not necessarily make decisions to charge batteries when solar power output is abundant and to discharge them when solar power begins to wane. But the utility still owns some generation assets and is responsible for how it bids those assets into CAISO’s real-time and day-ahead energy markets.

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MEEDThe award of the contract for the world-record tariff for Dubai’s first concentrated solar power (CSP) project with storage could signal a seminal moment in the region’s shift towards renewable energy.

The UAE is leading the Gulf’s drive to turn talk about clean energy into action, and progress has been swift. Dubai and Abu Dhabi have both achieved world-record tariffs for utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) plants in the past couple of years, and the 7.3 $cents a kilowatt hour ($c/kWh) tariff achieved for the $3.8bn fourth phase of Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid (MBR) solar park has now set a world record for unsubsidised CSP solar production. More importantly, it represents the first time that utility-scale solar with storage has converged with natural gas-fired power plants. It is estimated that, including gas import costs, the total cost of producing power from gas-fired power plants in Dubai is somewhere in the 8 $c/kWh region.

While much of the push for solar energy across the region has been driven by the dramatic fall in costs for PV solar systems in recent years, the peaking nature of PV has meant it can only be used in tandem with conventional fossil-fuelled plants due to its inability to produce 24-hour power. CSP is able to circumvent this by enabling the storage of energy generated during sunlight hours to be dispatched at night.

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Stacking energy storage values — capturing many value streams — can lead to profitable projects, even at current storage costs, according to a new report from economists at The Brattle Group.

The report, “Stacked Benefits: Comprehensively Valuing Battery Storage in California,” focuses on California, but its conclusions apply generally to the entire U.S., said Ryan Hledik, principal with Brattle.

Brattle conducted models and simulations using a 1-MW battery — which provides four hours of storage — and estimated the comprehensive savings associated with “stacking” battery storage uses, or operating batteries to capture the benefits from a number of value streams. Energy storage advocates say stacking is critical to take advantage of battery benefits.

The economists identified costs for utilities and others to acquire certain services, including energy, capacity and frequency regulation, and concluded that using batteries for these services could save $280/kW annually. That amount could be captured through utility bill reductions, by avoiding retail rates, or through a third party (an aggregator, for example) selling demand response into the market, said Hledik.

“We calculated the total system-level value that could be captured and divided it up among parties, depending on the situation,” said Roger Lueken, associate with The Brattle Group.

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marketwiredAUSTIN, TX–(Marketwired – Sep 18, 2017) – ViZn Energy Systems Inc. (ViZn), a leading provider of utility scale energy storage systems, was named the top non-lithium ion (Li-ion) battery for grid storage by Navigant Research. The recently released report, Navigant Research Leaderboard: Non-Lithium Ion Batteries for Grid Storage, concluded that ViZn’s zinc-redox flow battery systems are in the best position to capitalize on the numerous weaknesses of Li-ion technology and capture a piece of the rapidly growing stationary storage industry.

“We’re thrilled that a highly respected research and consulting firm like Navigant has recognized the unique value proposition that our flow batteries provide to utilities and C&I facilities,” stated Ron Van Dell, CEO of ViZn Energy Systems. “They join an ever-expanding list of industry analysts, media, and most importantly customers that see the bankability of a flexible energy storage system that performs a greater mix of energy and power applications than other technologies on the market for 20 years and with non-toxic chemistry.”

The Navigant Research report ranked thirteen top non-lithium ion battery energy storage vendors based on the following criteria: vision, go-to-market strategy, partners, production strategy, technology, geographic reach, sales, marketing, and distribution, product performance, product quality and reliability, product portfolio, pricing, and staying power. ViZn’s systems stood out among the competing flow batteries, advanced lead-acid batteries, and zinc-based batteries as being best able to compete with Li-ion batteries for stationary energy storage market share and having the most well-established and comprehensive product portfolio.

“ViZn’s advantage in this market results from both the advantages of its technology and the ecosystem of partnerships it has developed. The operational flexibility of the company’s technology combined with the ability to reduce prices using low cost materials will be key as the market matures. ViZn has developed pre-configured products targeting multiple customer types including utility-scale, C&I, and remote/off-grid, along with partnerships to support its strategy in these markets,” said Alex Eller, energy research analyst at Navigant Research.

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Energy Storage NewsWhile lithium-ion is rapidly racing ahead to become the “de facto grid storage solution” and is the most popular technology choice by far, vendors of other types of batteries are also targeting the market, with varying degrees of success.

US firm Navigant Research published ‘Navigant Research Leaderboard: Non-lithium ion batteries for grid storage’,  earlier this month, examining the technologies, business models and strategies for commercialisation and larger scale production of energy storage batteries that sit outside the many different sub-chemistries making up the lithium battery market ecosystem.

Lithium remains by far the most popular technology in energy storage. A recent edition of GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association’s jointly-published US Energy Storage Monitor, which gives quarterly updates on deployment figures, notable projects, market design and policies, found 94.2% of energy storage systems installed in Q2 2017 in the US used lithium batteries. Around 5% of the remainder were flow battery projects and a further 0.5% used lead acid.

While that percentage was in fact the first time since 2015 that lithium-ion battery systems had been found by GTM to have less than 95% market share, the lead looks all but unassailable. Indeed, even in longer duration applications of up to four or five hours, as one expert from IHS Market recently told Energy-Storage.News, lithium batteries are starting to have fallen enough in price to make sense.

According to Navigant, the speed at which costs of production fall and the presence of reputable, renowned vendors in the lithium battery space are its key advantages. However, as the ‘Leaderboard’ report shows, there are numerous companies making other types of battery energy storage that have reached commercialisation of their technologies and are already deploying them in the field, although still at the pilot stage in some cases. 

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Energy Storage NewsWith grid-connected energy storage a relatively new technology, stakeholders are yet to fully understand many of the risks and business opportunities it presents, DNV GL’s Dr Martijn Huibers has said.

Huibers, business leader in energy storage for the accreditation and certification house, writes in the latest edition of PV Tech Power that diverse aspects of the energy storage business, from using grid-scale energy storage to tackle multiple applications, sizing a system correctly and mitigating risks around battery degradation are all relatively new issues that the industry is learning to navigate.

DNV GL published GRIDSTOR, a recommended practice guide for energy storage technologies and applications, in early 2016, with an updated version due out this quarter. With eight industry stakeholders and 36 reviewing parties contributing to the so-called ‘Joint industry project’, DNV GL claims GRIDSTOR is aimed at creating a “common language” for discussing technical and safety standards.

Volume 12 of PV Tech Power, Solar Media’s technical journal for the downstream sector of the solar PV industry, features Storage & Smart Power, a dedicated section brought to you in association with Energy-Storage.News. ESN commissioned Huibers and colleague Paul Raats, a DNV GL senior solar energy consultant, to write about and shed light on how GRIDSTOR helps stakeholders get to grips with the fast-emerging sector.

There are over 200 guidance documents of various kinds around the world that can be applied to grid-scale energy storage systems or components, Huibers points out in the article, but GRIDSTOR is the first concerted attempt to be a “single comprehensive standard that covers all relevant aspects”, aimed at utilities, investors, developers and others.

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business-insiderFOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz.Sept. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Fernhill Corporation (OTC PINK: FERN) announces patent application for a Capacitor-Lithium hybrid battery storage system with integrated system management.  This application could provide a fully functional solution that provides an array of features including charge control monitoring and protection for multiple EDLC capacitors and a lithium battery bank with individual unit monitoring and balancing.

By using high performance analog peripherals, the system can measure and maintain an accurate record of available capacitance, state-of-health, voltage, current, temperature, and other critical parameters. The management system could also provide protection on overvoltage, over temperature, and overcharge along with hardware controlled protection for overcurrent in discharge, and short circuit protection during charge and discharge.

By incorporating two technologies, together with sophisticated balancing controls both in the individual unit level as well as the system level creates a solution with the combined advantages of two already proven technologies. In addition, this design can allow for greater flexibility in system stability, capacity, and thermal safety while accelerating charging speeds, and offering higher current availability.

A hybrid storage system could be customized to address a significant array of applications that are difficult to address with one technology alone. Future development of this technology could provide advanced solutions for emergency and portable power, electric vehicles, heavy equipment, and uninterruptable power supplies for computers and telecommunication equipment.

The above patent will be filed in Fern Technology Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Fernhill Corporation. The Company has engaged BOAG Law PLLC of New York to assist in the patent filing process. BOAG Law will provide services for preparing and filing the application, along with responding to communications from the USPTO.

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Energy Storage NewsOfficials from 56 Muslim-majority nations have come together to pledge new climate-related technology goals that included promoting microgrids, energy storage and renewable energy targets.

The Islamic world’s first ever Science and Tech summit, which ended last night in Astana, Kazakhstan, involved heads of state and government ministers from 56 Muslim majority nations. All countries pledged to increase investment in science as a way of addressing energy, food, water, health and climate change challenges. The summit included the presidents of Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan among others.

The countries have pledged to reduce greenhouse gases by targeting 10% renewable energy shares in the national energy mixes of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) States by 2025.

They also plan to introduce microgrids and encourage distributed standalone systems for small communities.

The countries will also design and develop energy storage systems such as fuel cells and batteries using lithium-ion and vanadium redox technolgies for small-scale energy storage applications.

Other pledges by the OIC nations involved nuclear energy, addressing food and water shortages, space exploration, managing big data, education and health.

OIC assistant secretary general for Science and Technology ambassador Naeem Khan, said: “As more people in the Islamic world emerge out of poverty, energy demand is increasing. This is being aggravated by climate change, with many OIC countries inhabiting climate-sensitive regions already facing desertification and degradation of land and water. Several studies have also shown a link between climate change and the subsequent effect on drought, food prices and the outbreak of conflict.

“Energy consumption and production is a major challenge in the Islamic world where many of the OIC’s 57-member states are well placed to harness the power of renewables, yet also still rely heavily in traditional fossil fuels.”

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The GuardianOn a paved expanse next to an electrical substation in Escondido, 30 miles north of downtown San Diego, sits a row of huge silver boxes. The site resembles a barracks, but instead of soldiers, the 24 containers house racks of battery packs.

This is the largest lithium-ion battery in the world, according to its developers. When the local grid needs more power, these batteries deliver, almost instantaneously. They hold up to 30 megawatts fully charged – roughly equivalent to powering 20,000 homes – and can sustain that level for up to four hours.

AES Energy Storage built the system in less than six months for utility San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) in response to a four-month blowout at southern California’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. The rupture in October 2015 leaked more gas into the atmosphere than any other spill in US history.

After the leak was finally plugged in February 2016, utilities needed a fast-response energy source to deploy quickly in the densely populated areas around Los Angeles and San Diego. They wanted to prevent blackouts during periods of high demand, especially when customers crank up the air-conditioning on hot summer days.

Traditional grid solutions didn’t make sense. Gas peaker plants – which can be turned on quickly to meet demand – can take years to gain permission and be built, and they burn fossil fuels. You can’t drop a hydroelectric dam in the middle of a city. Solar power doesn’t help much in the evening, when summer demand is highest.

Instead, utilities Southern California Edison and SDG&E chose something relatively new: grid-scale batteries. What followed was the Escondido battery plus several others totalling about 100MW. The project became a major test case for the grid storage industry’s ability to make the grid more efficient and clean.

“To go from something that we thought of as kind of the future technology to, all of a sudden, it coming to the rescue so quickly – yeah, I think that’s a huge success story,” said John Zahurancik, president of AES Energy Storage.

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Energy Storage NewsTerraE Holding, a collaborative initiative to establish large-scale production line manufacturing of lithium-ion cells at a European ‘Gigafactory’, has signed a raw materials deal for anode materials with Australia’s Magnis Resources.

Six companies from the Germany-based KLIB (Kompetenznetzwerk Lithium Ionen Batterien – ‘Competence in Lithium-Ion Batteries’) group, which includes the likes of Daimler, Bosch, 3M, Manz, Wacker, Kuka, Varta and Litarion in its membership, formed TerraE in May 2016.

The plan is to build two lithium-ion cell production facilities in Germany with a production capacity of 34GWh by 2028. The factories will be operated as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer), with TerraE owning and running the facilities, contracted to assemble battery cells for customers.

TerraE claimed to have established a consortium of 17 unnamed companies and research institutions this summer and said that potential customers and investors had already been approached, from sectors including stationary energy storage system makers, electric vehicle companies and the industrial power and equipment sector. According to TerraE, all of these prospective customers and investors have a direct interest in establishing battery supply lines in Germany.

This morning the group announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sydney-headquartered Magnis Resources, for the Australian company to supply graphite with which to make anodes for the battery cells. TerraE said production is expected to begin during 2019. Magnis develops mineral resources in Australia and Africa, with a graphite production ‘flagship’ site in Tasmania.

“Ensuring our long-term supply of raw materials is highly important for cell production in Germany,” TerraE CEO Holger Gritzka said.

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Energy Storage NewsGeneral Electric (GE) is developing Mexico’s first ever grid-scale energy storage projects to aid with the integration of wind and solar into electricity networks.

The US multinational was reported by Mexican financial newspaper El Financiero to be developing five such systems, which the paper said was part of an increased investment in renewables. El Financiero said that according to GE Grid Solutions Latin America’s leader of digital solutions, Rodrigo Salim, each system would likely cost at least US$5 million to develop and deploy.

Salim said energy storage could help deliver power resiliency and quality in an age of renewables on the grid, the report stated. GE Grid Solutions is a joint venture (JV) between GE and power engineering company Alstom.

A representative of GE Power responded to an enquiry from Energy-Storage.News asking for more details on the reported Mexico projects. She said that while GE was able to confirm the reports, there were currently no further details available to press.

The representative said the projects “are in the very early stages” and that there was no further information she could give beyond the contents of the El Financiero report.

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the washington timesOne of the more interesting storylines in conjunction with the recent total solar eclipse in the United States was how it might affect power plants that rely on the sun to produce electricity.

Many in the energy industry wondered how the power grid would function when the sun went dark in the middle of the day, since solar contributes nearly 42,000 megawatts, or 5 percent, of peak electricity demand. How would utilities manage the relatively rapid down-ramping, followed by an equally rapid up-ramp of power flowing from solar plants?

Fortunately, both the grid and the plants powering it proved remarkably resilient to the energy and demand fluctuations.

But as the U.S. shifts away from traditional fuels and relies more heavily on renewables like wind and solar for power generation, the question becomes even more important. How will we keep the lights on and air conditioning running and our phones and electric vehicles charged when the sun goes down or the wind stops blowing?

This is where reliable and efficient advanced energy storage will play an increasingly crucial role in grid stability in the years to come. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, approximately 10 percent of total U.S. energy consumption and 15 percent of electricity generation came from renewable sources in 2016. The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal of 30 percent of U.S. electric generation to come from renewables by 2025. Solar and wind power will make up the lion’s share of that new renewable generation capacity.

While natural gas, coal and nuclear power will continue to provide a significant portion of our baseload power for some time to come, intermittent energy sources play a role too — and this role is expected to increase. If we’re truly to make renewables an economically viable, baseload option, we must have ways to store large amounts of power for use when renewables can’t meet the demand.

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Midwest-Energy-NewsWhile states like California and Hawaii lead the growing market for energy storage, the potential in the Midwest is growing.

Minnesota is seeing a small but growing number of lithium ion battery storage projects that will be discussed along with other battery-related topics at the Midwest Energy Storage Summit in Minneapolis Sept. 15.

Sponsored by the the Energy Transition Lab at the University of Minnesota, the event features speakers such as Mary Powell, CEO and president of Green Mountain Power; Christopher Clark, president of Xcel Energy for Minnesota and the Dakotas; George Crabtree of Argonne National Laboratory and Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the Energy Storage Association.

The transition lab’s initial conference, two years ago, was the first time in Minnesota experts and industry officials came together to discuss storage, according to Barbara Jacobs, energy storage project manager. One result of the conference was the creation of the Minnesota Energy Storage Alliance to share knowledge and promote battery storage.

“There seems to be a lot of interest and excitement about storage across the board right now,” Jacobs said.

So what’s the difference between storage between now and two years ago? One is clearly dropping prices and increased production of lithium ion batteries, accompanied by products from Tesla, Panasonic, LG and many others.

Secondly, utilities are taking greater interest, with 80 percent nationwide considering storage projects, according to a recent survey.

Minnesota utilities are stepping up with projects and proposals. Xcel Energy proposed a solar storage battery project that regulators failed to approve while allowing the utility another chance to submit it after making changes.  

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energy storage utility diveThe fact that California’s three investor-owned utilities were at the top of the Smart Electric Power Alliance’s recent rankings is not surprising, but the presence of utilities in Indiana and Ohio is notable.

California has been a leader in energy storage, with a 2010 law that requires the state’s IOUs to procure 1.3 GW of storage capacity by 2020 and then a 2016 law requiring each IOU to procure another 166 MW of storage.

There has been no similar legislative push in either Indiana or Ohio and yet Indianapolis Power & Light and Duke Energy Ohio were third and fifth, respectively, in SEPA’s rankings of utilities that connected the most energy storage to their systems in 2016. IPL installed 20 MW in 2016, and 16 MW were connected to Duke Energy Ohio last year.

The rankings do not tally how much energy storage a utility built or owns, but how much was connected to their system. So while IPL built and owns the storage facility in its territory, Duke does not own the 16 MW of storage that connected to its system in 2016. Similarly, while California’s utilities are permitted to own some energy storage assets, they do not necessarily own all the storage facilities connected to their systems.

Measured by energy (MWh), IPL ranked fourth with 20 MWh, and Duke Energy Ohio ranked eighth with 6.1 MWh.

Ranked by energy storage watts per customer, IPL and Duke actually beat the California utilities, ranking fifth and sixth with 42 W/customer and 23 W/customer, respectively.

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Go Electric won a $499,506 contract by Electricore for a demonstration microgrid project at the Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan.

The project is funded by the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), a Department of Defense program for promoting the transfer of proven innovative technologies into field use.

Go Electric will deliver a 400 kW/160 kWh battery energy storage system and will provide engineering support for the installation and commissioning of the energy storage system into a facility-wide microgrid. Go Electric will also support the integration of a microgrid controller provided by power management company Eaton.

Electricore, a non-profit consortium formed at the request of the Department of Defense to implement advanced energy, transportation and electronics technologies, is leading the project with support from Eaton and local utility Consumers Energy. The Michigan Army National Guard, which uses Fort Custer alongside several other units, is hosting the project.

The microgrid will enhance power surety, energy resilience, distributed generation management and demand response, while contributing to the critical power needs of nearby military installations. In addition to the 400 kW system, the microgrid includes 1.375 MW of legacy diesel generators and 720 kW of photovoltaics.

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