Developing New Grid Solutions For Offshore Wind

on January 31, 2020

With more projects being awarded contracts for difference (CfDs) at record low prices in the most recent auction, the offshore wind boom shows no sign of slowing down.

However, if we are going to ensure we make the most of this energy, both now and in the future, there are challenges the industry needs to overcome, particularly the rising pressure on our electrical infrastructure network.

As a weather-dependent form of energy, changing conditions makes predicting long-term energy generation from offshore wind a difficult task.

This, combined with sudden, unpredicted changes in demand, means that grid operator the National Grid needs to be able to balance the supply and demand of energy so that it can maintain stability.

As we scale down our reliance on conventional power plants, which provided a consistent supply of energy, these frequency variations will naturally become more of an occurrence.

The National Grid has an obligation to maintain a grid frequency of 49.5-50.5Hz, as anything more than a small variation from this can potentially cause significant damage to our infrastructure.

As the risk of increased frequency variation becomes more common, this challenge becomes even more important to address.

Switch of direction
We are also using a system designed to channel energy from centralised regions located near areas with higher population counts, such as cities, to remote areas where few people live.

Renewable generation, particularly offshore wind, is concentrated far away from the population centres, meaning the power flow of the grid has to reverse direction and transfer power from remote locations, where the grid is weaker.

This change in geography, not technology, is one of the biggest problem facing the grid.

Electrical storage solutions, such as battery technology, which has the capability to stockpile energy and feed it to the grid when required, is one solution to maintaining a consistent frequency and support infrastructure that may struggle to handle large power supplies.

However, even this technology has its limitations.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsDeveloping New Grid Solutions For Offshore Wind

Neoen Unveils 1.8GW Wind-Solar-Storage Hybrid

on September 12, 2019

Its Goyder South complex would include up to 1.2GW of wind power and 600MW of solar PV, plus 900MW of battery storage, according to the South Australian government.

The project would be built in three stages, with the first set to include 400MW of wind, 200MW of solar PV, plus 300MW of battery storage.

Completion of Goyder South’s second and third stages would depend on the construction of a 330kV, 900km high-voltage interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales.

Transmission system operators (TSOs) ElectraNet and TransGrid are aiming for the Project Energy Connect transmission line to be completed in 2022 or 2023.

Goyder South’s 900MW battery storage component would be nine times the capacity of the 100MW/129MWh Tesla battery attached to its 314MW Hornsdale wind farm.

Elon Musk’s US firm provided the lithium-ion battery — reported to be the largest in the world — following a series of blackouts in South Australia in 2016.

Neoen is one of four wind developers being sued by the Australian Energy Regulator for failing to ensure their projects “complied with their generator performance standard requirement to ride-through certain disturbances” during the South Australia blackout.

The French firm is also developing the Kaban Green Power Hub in Queensland and the Bulgana Green Power Hub in Victoria, Both are wind farms with battery storage attached.

Elsewhere, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has launched a reverse auction to contract up to 250MW of new renewable energy generation and up to 20MW/40MWh of battery storage.

The federal district aims to source 100% of its electricity from renewables.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNeoen Unveils 1.8GW Wind-Solar-Storage Hybrid

Bill Gates: This Is What We Need To Do To Tackle Climate Change

on May 21, 2019

Wind and solar power generation is expanding around the globe at record rates, allowing more people to get their electricity from clean, renewable sources than ever before. This is great news.

And here’s better news: We can do even more. By investing in energy innovations, we can build on the progress we’ve made deploying current technology like renewables, which will help accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to a future of reliable and affordable carbon-free electricity.

This would be an incredible achievement and the most important step we can take to prevent the worst impacts of global warming.

Here’s why: While electricity generation is the single biggest contributor to climate change—responsible for 25 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and growing every day—it’s an even bigger part of the solution. With clean electricity, we can do more than light our homes and power our grid. We’ll unlock a source of carbon-free energy to help power the sectors of the economy that produce the other 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, including transportation, buildings, and manufacturing. Think electric cars and buses; emission-free heating and cooling systems in our homes and businesses; and energy-intensive factories using more clean power to make products.

So, what will it take to reach the goal of zero carbon electricity generation?

We must solve two challenges. The first challenge will come as no surprise. We need to do more to harness the power of the sun and wind. And thanks to falling prices for solar panels, wind turbines, and other technologies, deploying renewable energy systems is more affordable than ever before.

The second challenge is probably less obvious and more difficult. We need big breakthroughs in technologies that will allow us to supply the power grid with clean energy even during windless days, cloudy weather, and nighttime.

Usually, you back up renewable sources with fossil fuels like natural gas that can quickly and reliably provide power when it’s needed. To reach zero carbon emissions, however, we need to find a way to use more clean energy sources as a backstop.

While I wish there could be a single, magic bullet solution to this problem, there isn’t one right now. What will be required in the years ahead is a diverse and flexible mix of energy solutions—a Swiss army knife of energy tools—to support a future of renewable energy generation to meet our needs. Some of these solutions already exist. Others will require more innovation. All can help us make the transition to low-cost, carbon-free power. This is something a growing number of states across the U.S. are recognizing as they adopt 100 percent carbon-free standards for electricity.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsBill Gates: This Is What We Need To Do To Tackle Climate Change

Renewable Energy: A Multi-Trillion-Dollar Marketplace Is Emerging

on April 23, 2019

The country’s electric grid was once called one of the greatest engineering achievements of the 20th century. Now, however, its three interconnected grids are decades old and the world has shifted. Billions of individual devices and population growth have increased demand exponentially. Technological advances with the potential to lower costs and ward off cyber dangers are critically needed. And, commitments to clean and renewable energy sources have become mandates. Big changes are inevitable.

Most of the systems in the U.S. were constructed in the 50s and 60s and they had a life expectancy of 50 years. Today, almost all operate at maximum capacity and they are all stretched to the limit. With population growth, spiraling demand, changes in power generation and mandates for the use of clean and renewable energy sources, change must come quickly.

Energy professionals throughout the country are looking for ways to increase capacity, provide storage, expand services and ensure security and sustainability. Those goals cannot be reached without collaboration from private-sector partners.

The increase in commitments to renewable energy, if nothing else, will push immediate change. California, New Mexico, and Hawaii have passed legislation that mandates 100 percent renewable energy in the coming years. Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and many other cities have similar commitments to renewable energy. Most power grids were not originally constructed for wind and solar options…that’s a problem that must be fixed.

Colleges and universities in the U.S. are also setting renewable energy goals. They want 100 percent of their power to come from renewable sources. The University of California System has launched initiatives to convert all its heating, cooling and other power requirements to electric by 2025. That’s because they intend to use renewable energy sources.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsRenewable Energy: A Multi-Trillion-Dollar Marketplace Is Emerging

Wind, Solar Industries Pleased by Dem Letter Supporting Clean Energy Tax Credits

on April 8, 2019

House Republicans passed tax reform last year, but Democrats have set their sights on tweaking things again to help clean energy. Last week Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), introduced legislation that would create a tax credit for energy storage technologies. His proposal came even as more than 100 Democrats signed a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee asking for a long-term extension of clean energy tax credits, a move that would benefit alternative-fuel vehicles and utility-scale storage.

In the letter, Democrats proposed having the committee revisit more than 40 provisions in the tax code that award subsidies to conventional energy. They noted that Congress has not addressed ways of supporting clean energy in a decade and pushed for an extension of tax credits that otherwise expired.

“With these latest climate reports in mind as well as our shared interest in developing a thoughtful, comprehensive infrastructure package to support economic growth and address some of the most pressing challenges facing the country, we ask that the Ways and Means Committee not miss the opportunity to support the development of clean energy technologies,” the letter stated.

Green energy groups came out in favor of the letter, which they say would help both the environment and the economy.

“As the signatories note, providing long-term certainty for clean energy tax incentives would allow the U.S. to achieve its carbon reduction goals while dramatically boosting clean energy jobs, U.S. investment in electric generation and our global position as a renewable energy leader,” said Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), in a statement.

“Clarifying the tax code for energy storage technologies is also a critical piece of the puzzle that would have technology-neutral benefits,” he stressed.

The letter was also praised by groups representing the wind and solar power industries, both of which would benefit from the proposed clean energy tax incentives.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the largest solar industry organization in the country, said that it was “pleased” by the strong support for clean energy priorities.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsWind, Solar Industries Pleased by Dem Letter Supporting Clean Energy Tax Credits

New Fuel Cell Could Help Fix The Renewable Energy Storage Problem

on March 15, 2019

If we want a shot at transitioning to renewable energy, we’ll need one crucial thing: technologies that can convert electricity from wind and sun into a chemical fuel for storage and vice versa. Commercial devices that do this exist, but most are costly and perform only half of the equation. Now, researchers have created lab-scale gadgets that do both jobs. If larger versions work as well, they would help make it possible—or at least more affordable—to run the world on renewables.

The market for such technologies has grown along with renewables: In 2007, solar and wind provided just 0.8% of all power in the United States; in 2017, that number was 8%, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But the demand for electricity often doesn’t match the supply from solar and wind. In sunny California, for example, solar panels regularly produce more power than needed in the middle of the day, but none at night, after most workers and students return home.

Some utilities are beginning to install massive banks of batteries in hopes of storing excess energy and evening out the balance sheet. But batteries are costly and store only enough energy to back up the grid for a few hours at most. Another option is to store the energy by converting it into hydrogen fuel. Devices called electrolyzers do this by using electricity—ideally from solar and wind power—to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas, a carbon-free fuel. A second set of devices called fuel cells can then convert that hydrogen back to electricity to power cars, trucks, and buses, or to feed it to the grid.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNew Fuel Cell Could Help Fix The Renewable Energy Storage Problem

Power Lines: The Next ‘Green New Deal’ Battlefront?

on February 26, 2019
E and News

If the goals of the “Green New Deal” are a political minefield, so, too, are the most likely strategies for reaching its target of very high national levels of renewable energy output.

A shelf of authoritative studies under the Department of Energy’s sponsorship dating back to George W. Bush’s presidency define how to take a big step in that direction. Their answer — build a network of long-distance, ultra-high-voltage transmission lines to widely share wind and solar power across the continent’s time zones.

But the strategy has faced overpowering headwinds of not-in-my-backyard opposition from residents and not-through-my-state political pushback. It’s also been rare for Congress to put aside partisan politics and pass major legislation facilitating transmission corridors.

“If you’re going to do a 100 percent clean energy portfolio — that is really 70 to 80 percent of electric power from renewables — I don’t know how you avoid huge transmission builds,” said Richard Sedano, president of the Regulatory Assistance Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank advocating a clean energy future. “It’s either that or overbuilding the system so much with surplus renewables and batteries” that consumers will be hammered.

“I don’t see how you have a national clean energy standard without significant federally mandated or incented transmission build cutting across regions of the country,” added Travis Kavulla, a former Montana utility commissioner and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, now with the R Street Institute in Washington, D.C.

DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) issued the Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study in 2010, with strategies to provide 20 percent of the electricity supply east of the Rocky Mountains from wind energy by 2024. It counseled: “The integration of 20 percent wind energy is technically feasible, but will require significant expansion of the transmission infrastructure and system operational changes.”

The most detailed of the analyses is NREL’s ongoing Interconnections Seam Study based on massive computer simulations of power flows. It outlined one scenario with three ultra-high-voltage direct-current lines spanning the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River, with other new lines moving western power eastward.

Because grid operators can control the direction of power flows on direct-current lines, surplus afternoon solar power from the Southwest could stream into Southeastern states at dusk. Other lines could ship unused wind energy from the Great Plains into major cities in the Great Lakes and East Coast regions, or the other way into California.

By linking time zones, the variability of wind and solar power at different times of day becomes a strength, not a weakness, explained project leader Aaron Bloom.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsPower Lines: The Next ‘Green New Deal’ Battlefront?

EGEB: Wind in the Americas, Puerto Rico energy storage, Northeast solar

on February 7, 2019

Today in EGEB, wind power installations are up in the Americas. Puerto Rico unveils plans for the largest solar and battery storage buildout in the U.S. A look at recent small-scale solar installation numbers in the Northeast U.S.

In 2018, the Americas installed 11.9 gigawatts of wind power, a 12 percent increase from the previous year. The data comes from the Global Wind Energy Council.

Latin America led the way percentage-wise when it came to capacity increases, with a 18.7 percent bump from 2017. New capacity additions in North America increased 10.8 percent from the previous year. GWEC CEO Ben Blackwell said:

“The North American wind market is one of the most mature and competitive in the wind industry. Many learnings and experiences from the success here can be used in other markets. The rise of corporate procurement during 2018 demonstrates how corporate sourcing can drive demand and volume in other wind markets. The development of the wind market in Latin America is very positive too. Large scale auctions have again taken place in Brazil, and we expect the first auction in Colombia to be executed this month.”

The total installed wind capacity in the Americas is now 135 GW. GWEC expects the region to add 60 GW of new capacity through 2023.

Big PR Plans
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority recently released a draft of its integrated resource plan. While not yet final, the draft contains plans for what the Sierra Club calls “by far the largest buildout of solar and battery storage in the U.S.”

Puerto Rico’s energy plan includes more than 2220 MW of solar energy and 1080 MW of energy storage. To put this in perspective, the Sierra Club cites Bloomberg NEF numbers stating “the entire U.S. grid currently only includes 1031 MW of storage.”

In the draft, PREPA establishes a number of key pillars to pursue, among them “financial viability,” a goal to be a “model of sustainability,” and for the plan to be “reliable and resilient.”

The draft also includes a plan to phase out coal and bunker oil to generate electricity. PREPA may pursue this plan for “unprecedented” battery storage and shifting away from non-renewables, but the public utility is also looking into three new import terminals for liquid natural gas. Feb. 12 is the expected release date for the complete version of the plan.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEGEB: Wind in the Americas, Puerto Rico energy storage, Northeast solar

More Energy Storage Looming For Wind Power

on July 19, 2018

CleantechnicaIt wasn’t that long ago that solar power and wind power were labeled as marginal, ‘green’ electricity, but in the last five years or so they have become much more affordable and economically more feasible than conventional sources like coal and nuclear.

What supported solar along the way partly was the emergence of energy storage in the form of battery systems. Electricity can now be made by solar power systems and the excess can be stored for usage at night or on less sunny days. At least, solar power has been paired successfully with energy storage, and it is catching up with solar power. The cost of this newish technology is dropping, “The overall estimated cost fell 32% in 2015 and 2016, according to the 2017 GTM Reseach utility-scale storage report. That will slow over the next five years, GTM reported. But battery storage is — in certain places and applications — on its way to cost-competitiveness.”

According to Lazard, it could drop another 36% between 2018 and 2022. The UC-Berkeley research study, “Energy Storage Deployment and Innovation for the Clean Energy Transition,” predicted lithium-ion batteries could hit the $100 per kilowatt-hour mark in 2018.

FERC Order 845, from this April, made conditions more favorable for wind energy storage, “FERC Order 845 is more important for wind developers because it changes the interconnection rules. A developer with underused interconnection capacity can now add storage without a new interconnection, allowing the wind developer to profit from underused interconnection capacity in a way that was not possible before,” said RES Group Chief Technology Officer Andrew Oliver.

It isn’t only lithium-ion batteries that have potential to back up wind power systems, as flow batteries might work too, “Due to its scalable energy capacity the Vanadium redox battery is a highly promising option to support our advanced technology offers for isolated and grid connected systems,” said Antonio de la Torre, SGRE’s chief technology officer.

The notion of cost-competitiveness can be a strange one, because the costs of fossil fuels go far beyond extraction, processing and shipping. What is the cost of burning oil and coal on human health and the planet? Fossil fuels have always had much higher costs than have been acknowledged, so comparing them directly with those of solar and wind is quite misleading.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsMore Energy Storage Looming For Wind Power

World’s First Offshore Wind Farm + Battery Switched On In Scotland

on June 28, 2018

RenewEconomy-AUThe world’s first floating offshore wind farm, the 30MW Hywind project in Scotland, has this week chalked up another first, with the addition of a 1MW onshore battery system, to store excess power from the wind turbines.

Project owners Equinor and Masdar, in partnership with battery storage provider Younicos, this week completed the 1MW Batwind energy storage project, making it the first time a battery storage project has been connected with an offshore wind energy project.

Located at an onshore substation in Peterhead, the two Younicos Y Cubes (its 10-foot modular battery containers) are now able to provide dynamic balancing for the wind project, the companies said.

Hywind Scotland was announced all the way back in November of 2015 when the Scottish Government approved construction of the 30MW project by oil and gas giant Statoil, now known as Equinor.

In January of 2017, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar acquired a 25 per cent stake in the project, further solidifying its value and future prospects.

year earlier, however, Statoil had already floated plans of combining the project with a battery storage solution, serving as a pilot demonstration and test-bed for the combined technologies.

The project began generating electricity in October of 2017, and a few months later Equinor announced that it was outperforming all expectations and generating at a level consistently above that of traditional offshore wind turbines (i.e., those built into the seafloor).

Traditional seafloor mounted wind turbines generate at around 45-60 per cent of capacity – which is to say, they generate 100 per cent of their potential capacity between 45-60 per cent of the time.

Hywind Scotland, however, was generating at an average of 65 per cent over its first three months, partly because it is a floating wind farm, and able to work farther out to sea, giving it access to stronger and more consistent winds.

The project even survived the extremely hectic weather that battered the region towards the end of 2017, weathering hurricane Ophelia in October and Storm Caroline in early December and encountering waves in excess of 8.2 metres.

Younicos was awarded the battery supply contract back in November by Equinor, and combined it with Y.Q. software.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsWorld’s First Offshore Wind Farm + Battery Switched On In Scotland