No Huge Energy Storage Breakthrough Needed For Renewable Energy To Flourish

on March 6, 2018

CleantechnicaIn the last couple of years, there has been a growing a number of news articles and blog posts published about energy storage, particularly in the form of battery systems. This interest is very reasonable and the news is exciting because these systems can fill in wind power and solar power electricity production gaps. In many places, they could replace gas-powered peaker plants. The costs have gotten that low for renewables + storage. This has actually been the case in some places since 2016, but the story keeps getting better and the solution is competitive in more and more locations practically by the day. (In fact, this was the key topic of the podcast we just published.)

“New research suggests that solar power and battery energy storage are now competitive with natural gas peaker plants due to falling costs. The research focuses on specific markets in the USA but forecasts that 10 GW of natural gas peaker plants could be taken offline by 2027. Other, more aggressive predictions say 2020 could be the year,” one energy storage journalist nicely summarized the latest news.

Tesla’s huge battery system in Australia has also generated some buzz. The system went up considerably quicker than Elon Musk promised, has been working as imagined, and has even been influencing prices in the region. It was the largest lithium-ion battery storage to be implemented anywhere in the world, but it’ll likely be average within a few years.

Energy storage in the form of battery systems can be integrated for greater energy security, for grid support, and to be installed in places where pumped hydro isn’t feasible.

However, it appears as though pumped hydro storage is being overlooked with all the hype about batteries. It still has huge potential to help balance clean, renewable energy. In fact, all the discourse about battery storage seems to be supporting the idea that this form of storage is going to solve clean energy intermittency issues, but there are gaps in what batteries can provide, so let’s take a look at pumped hydro so we can see just how large a factor it could become.

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNo Huge Energy Storage Breakthrough Needed For Renewable Energy To Flourish

Solar panels and energy storage: the next big thing?

on December 29, 2017

On a dark and chilly winter day, generating your own electricity from solar panels perhaps isn’t at the top of your thoughts. But there’s a growing trend of linking your solar panels to a home battery to store your electricity for later.

The likes of Tesla and Nissan have both launched home batteries that are slim enough that you might not want to hide them away – but they come with a big price tag. Meanwhile, Ikea’s offer of solar and storage claims to save the average household up to 70% on their annual electricity bill.

Energy companies are also getting in on the act, including Eon and EDF Energy – both now sell solar panels paired with home batteries.

We’ve taken a look at what these brands and more are offering, plus how home batteries work, and what you need to think about if you’re considering buying one.

Tesla, Nissan and top brands’ home energy storage

An energy storage system, or home battery, lets you capture electricity so you can use it at a time that suits you. This could be electricity generated by your solar panels or wind turbine, or it could be electricity from the grid at a time when it’s cheaper, if you have a time-of-use tariff.

Tesla’s Powerwall is one of the best-known examples of this relatively new technology, from a company better known for its electric cars. The Powerwall links with the Tesla app, so you can check how much electricity you have stored, solar panel generation (if you have them), and car charging.

Costing around £5,900, Tesla claims it makes ‘almost no noise’ and is ‘maintenance free’. Fellow car manufacturer Nissan has launched xStorage, which reuses Nissan’s electric vehicle batteries to store energy at home. Nissan claims it’s the ‘most reliable and affordable home energy storage solution on the market’. It costs £4,850 upwards, but has a smaller capacity than the Tesla. Varta has a 130-year tradition of making batteries, so perhaps it’s no surprise that it’s an early entrant into home energy storage. It currently makes home batteries that are around the size of a washing machine, which it says give customers ‘energy autonomy’. Its systems cost from £3,380.

Click Here to Read Full Article

read more
Which UKSolar panels and energy storage: the next big thing?

Lithium-ion energy storage: Key component of America’s renewable energy future

on September 14, 2017

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.

Click Here to Read Full Article

read more
Energy Storage NewsLithium-ion energy storage: Key component of America’s renewable energy future

USTDA backs tender request for 25MW hybrid solar-storage in Sierra Leone

on June 20, 2017

Energy Storage NewsThe US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has put out a tender request for a 25MW hybrid solar-diesel-storage project in Sierra Leone. 

The facility will be developed by local independent power producer (IPP) Solar Era Holdings, a subsidiary of global EPC Africa Growth Energy Solutions.

The project is set to be delivered in two phases; phase 1 is a 5MW grid-connected facility in Bo, the country’s second largest city. Phase 2 is the larger 20MW hybrid facility that is expected to be a solar-diesel-battery plant. The combination of the three technologies is ideal for Sierra Leone; with much of the population in rural communities that lack access to the national grid. Pairing solar with diesel allows the latter to offset solar’s fluctuating energy source for harmonised delivery of power. The storage component also serves to stabilise the grid via frequency regulation and ramp-rate control.

The tender pertains to finding an EPC for phase 1 of the project. USTDA is currently supporting the development of phase 1 and the launch of phase 2 with a grant which will fund a feasibility study – currently being carried out by Power Engineers Incorporated – to assess the technical, financial and economic viability of the project.

This project represents an opportunity for US engineering and design companies to partner with a Sierra Leonean firm as the country seeks to increase its energy generation capacity as well as diversify its energy mix.

The deadline for submissions is 16 June 2017. 

Back in April, the USTDA provided grants for one of Sub Saharan Africa’s first utility solar-plus-storage projects, located in Kenya. 

Click Here to Read Full Article

read more
Energy Storage NewsUSTDA backs tender request for 25MW hybrid solar-storage in Sierra Leone

Ocean Power Technologies Deploys Commercial PowerBuoy with Energy Storage

on September 1, 2016

power magazineOcean Power Technologies (OPT) deployed its first commercial PB3 PowerBuoy—a wave energy conversion system that incorporates energy storage—off the coast of New Jersey this July.

The Pennington, N.J.–based firm has been working to advance its PowerBuoy technology since the firm was founded in 1994. Development of the wave energy conversion technology for naval and civilian applications was catalyzed by small-business innovative research (SBIR) funding awards from the U.S. Navy.

Click Here to Read Full Article

read more
Power MagazineOcean Power Technologies Deploys Commercial PowerBuoy with Energy Storage

Cheaper battery technology for solar storage

on March 24, 2016


Researchers at WMG, University of Warwick have formed a new research partnership with battery technology innovators Faradion, and smart energy storage specialists Moixa Technology, to develop sodium-ion cells as a significantly lower cost alternative to lithium-ion batteries for solar energy storage. This collaboration is being part funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

A significant proportion of the cost of current solar energy storage systems comes from the commonly used lithium-ion battery. However by using highly abundant sodium salts rather than lithium, Sodium-ion cells are anticipated to be 30% cheaper to produce. This makes solar storage more accessible and opening up the possibility of domestic renewable energy storage to a greater number of households and businesses worldwide. Developments in this area could lead to a CO2 reduction of 500,000 tonnes each year.

Click Here to Read Full Article

read more
Energy Harvesting JournalCheaper battery technology for solar storage

The beauty of the world.

on March 14, 2014

I did not answer, but instead reached to my side and pressed the little fingers of her I loved where they clung to me for support, and then, in unbroken silence, we sped over the yellow, moonlit moss; each of us occupied with his own thoughts. For my part I could not be other than joyful had I tried, with Dejah Thoris‘ warm body pressed close to mine, and with all our unpassed danger my heart was singing as gaily as though we were already entering the gates of Helium.

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsThe beauty of the world.

Colors are the smiles of nature.

on March 1, 2014

Since then he had been skulking along towards Maybury, in the hope of getting out of danger Londonward. People were hiding in trenches and cellars, and many of the survivors had made off towards Woking village and Send. He had been consumed with thirst until he found one of the water mains near the railway arch smashed, and the water bubbling out like a spring upon the road.

read more
CleanTechnicaColors are the smiles of nature.

Coffee is a language in itself.

on February 14, 2014

Now, mustering the spare poles from below, and selecting one of hickory, with the bark still investing it, Ahab fitted the end to the socket of the iron. A coil of new tow-line was then unwound, and some fathoms of it taken to the windlass, and stretched to a great tension. Pressing his foot upon it, till the rope hummed like a harp-string, then eagerly bending over it, and seeing no strandings, Ahab exclaimed, “Good! and now for the seizings.

read more
Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsCoffee is a language in itself.

A wild cry of exultation arose from the Heliumite squadron, and with redoubled ferocity they fell upon the Zodangan fleet. By a pretty maneuver two of the vessels of Helium gained a position above their adversaries, from which they poured upon them from their keel bomb batteries a perfect torrent of exploding bombs.

Some wise words