Microgrid to Serve as Core of $110-$120M Connecticut Mixed-Use Project

on August 23, 2019

The developer of a $110-$120 million mixed use project in Manchester, Connecticut plans to incorporate a microgrid that taps into opportunity zone federal tax breaks.

The Manchester Broad Street Parkade microgrid will include around 1 MW of solar PV, 2-3 MW of natural gas-fired combined heat and power, batteries, and a water heating loop.

Developer MSL Group forecasts the microgrid cost to be $15-$25 million and hopes to achieve a $0.05-$0.10 per kWh discount on utility rates for residential and commercial tenants.

“The primary mover is to create a sustainable development, which we believe will improve the attractiveness of the entire project dramatically,” said Michael Licamele, president of MSL Group.

The microgrid will be capable of operating continuously in tandem with the utility grid or autonomously, in island mode, in the event of grid outages.

The town of Manchester owns the 23-acre Broad Street Parkade site. MSL Group is leading development of the entire project as the creator of Manchester Parkade I LLC, having won a request for proposals (RFP). The Manchester Board of Directors and the Manchester Redevelopment Agency awarded the company a contract in early July.

Possible March ground breaking
MSL and other project partners, who have yet to be determined, intend to build between 500,000 and 1 million square feet of apartment rental and commercial space, including a hotel and retail outlets along with outdoor and indoor entertainment and recreational venues, Licamele said.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsMicrogrid to Serve as Core of $110-$120M Connecticut Mixed-Use Project

Yotta Raises $1.5 Million for Development of its Panel-Level Energy Storage System

on August 23, 2019

The SolarLEAF eliminates the need for specialized installers and strict siting requirements. This simplicity enables solar installers and developers to expand their customer base and grow their business by delivering a scalable, cost-effective storage solution that can easily be installed anywhere.

Yotta has accelerated fundraising efforts in pursuit of Series A equity financing, which will be used to advance beta testing into commercialization, including bankability study and UL certification. “With the tremendous market opportunities we are seeing, it makes sense for us to ramp up our fundraising efforts so we’re in a solid position to respond as the market continues to gain speed,” said Yotta CEO Omeed Badkoobeh.

In addition to its fundraising success, Yotta has tapped Phil Gilchrist, formerly of SunPower, as the company’s Director of Mechanical Design Engineering and Jeff Williams, formerly of Draker, as Director of Electrical Engineering.

Williams, who has served Yotta as an advisor, officially joined the Yotta team this spring. He has over 30 years of electrical engineering experience and 10 years in the solar and power industries. Williams has a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Joining Yotta in 2019, Gilchrist brings over 30 years of industry experience to the management team. He spent several years working at the director level at SunPower and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsYotta Raises $1.5 Million for Development of its Panel-Level Energy Storage System

Microgrid Shows Lebanon Way Out of Pollution and Power Outages

on August 23, 2019

A solar-plus-storage microgrid in Lebanon is demonstrating a way the country can overcome its pollution and lack of energy access while boosting economic development.

For a month running, Recycle Beirut and an adjacent residential building have been receiving all of the electricity they need with a microgrid that uses 100-kW of solar and a 100 kWh battery energy storage system.

Small as it is, the microgrid’s benefits are large.

Lebanon depends on fossil-fueled generators and experiences regular power cuts that can last as long as 12 hours, according to Florian Stark, project manager at Firebird Energy, which built, operates and maintains the microgrid in partnership with Recycle Beirut.

“Those power cuts are obviously slowing down economic development since there’s a lack of electricity, and it’s produced by diesel generators that produce a lot of air pollution,” Stark told Microgrid Knowledge.

Joining with a group of Chinese solar, battery energy storage and microgrid software developers, Firebird and Recycle Beirut began designing the project in the spring of 2018. They purchased equipment last summer and installed the project between March and June this year.

“Since June 2019 the system has been operating without any interruptions or trouble,” Stark said.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsMicrogrid Shows Lebanon Way Out of Pollution and Power Outages

How Did Massachusetts Blossom Into An Environment Ripe For Energy Storage, Pushing Technology And Business Models To The Cutting Edge?

on August 22, 2019

It created a market that demands and allows for value stacking.

Today’s energy storage technology can help power the country more efficiently and sustainably, and it’s getting better all the time. However, this resource’s greatest strength—the ability to both take in and let out energy rapidly—can be complicated to properly value. It’s also been a bit of a headache to equitably work into the country’s many mechanisms governing electricity generation and transmission.

Having an energy storage system provide just one service can be expensive, and it’s a big waste of potential. Enter Massachusetts, where the stars have aligned and the full potential of energy storage may soon be on display, providing not one or two services, but seven or eight with a single project.

What’s so great about Massachusetts?
For one, it’s part of a deregulated wholesale energy market. Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Regional Transmission Operators (RTOs) oversee the nation’s most competitive energy markets, which serve two-thirds of the U.S. population. In February 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its landmark Order 841, which required the removal of barriers to the participation of energy storage in the capacity, energy, and ancillary services markets operated by ISOs and RTOs. ISO New England was quick to respond, thanks to a unanimous agreement between the ISO and the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL), the market’s stakeholder organization.

Another boost came from The Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, which began accepting applications in November 2018. It added a financial incentive to integrate and operate energy storage alongside solar, creating a market ripe for storage developers with the means to pursue multiple revenue streams. However, it raised the question of ownership of capacity rights. A compromise that let storage developers maintain capacity rights was a major development coming out of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Department of Public Utilities (DPU).

What does it take to value stack?
Simply put, it takes a lot of work. Advanced control software is key to providing multiple services, including wholesale market services (capacity, reserves, energy, frequency regulation) and retail services such as peak shaving, distribution utility demand response, and installed capacity charge reduction. While providing all these services, advanced software also needs to manage compliance with incentive programs such as the federal investment tax credit (ITC) and, in the case of Massachusetts, compliance with its SMART program and storage adder.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsHow Did Massachusetts Blossom Into An Environment Ripe For Energy Storage, Pushing Technology And Business Models To The Cutting Edge?

Developing Redox Flow Batteries As A Viable Energy Storage System

on August 22, 2019

Associate Professor, Aaron Marshall, is working towards developing a stable, reliable, cost-effective redox flow battery alternative to the traditional Lithium-ion (Li-ion). He is developing redox flow batteries that promise to act as a viable energy storage system.

According to Marshall, most of the electricity is not used during daylight hours. Thus, a reliable, stable way of storing energy is required.

The energy stored in Li-ion batteries interacts with and absorb into the solid electrodes. This causes physical changes in electrodes, i.e., electrodes expand and contract during the charging and discharging process. The continuous changing of the physical structure in a Li-ion battery, in the end, destroys the electrodes, to the point where they can’t absorb as much energy.

After some time you might probably charge your battery to half and, because it’s not effectively recyclable, the average consumer replaces the battery.

Unlike conventional Li-ion battery, the redox flow batteries don’t change. Instead, the system uses tanks of liquid, made up of metals dissolved in a solution, which is charged and discharged. Also, redox flow batteries don’t lose charging capacity over time because the solution doesn’t wear.

Marshall said, “This makes redox flow batteries sound very attractive, but there are challenges to making it a viable option. One challenge to redox flow batteries at this stage is how slow the battery can be charged and discharged. To release a comparable amount of power as Li-ion batteries, the flow battery electrodes need to be big – impractically big.”

“We are working towards developing a more viable system. If we can halve the size of the electrodes by doubling the speed of the reaction, then we can reduce the cost. If we can make a cheaper system that is comparable in price to a Li-ion battery, but lasts at least twice as long and is more stable, wouldn’t that be attractive?”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsDeveloping Redox Flow Batteries As A Viable Energy Storage System

California Proposes $100M in Energy Storage Incentives to Boost Wildfire Resiliency

on August 22, 2019

California regulators want to direct $100 million in state energy storage incentives to a new class of disadvantaged customers: those living in parts of the state at the highest risk of deadly wildfires.

The California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision last week on the “equity budget” within the Self-Generation Incentive Program, the state’s main incentive program for behind-the-meter batteries.

The proposed decision would direct $100 million from SGIP’s equity budget — a set-aside aimed at low-income, medically compromised or otherwise disadvantaged residents — to vulnerable households, critical services facilities, and low-income solar program customers in Tier 3 high-fire-threat districts.

These types of customers are far more likely to find value in multihour batteries attached to their rooftop solar system than the typical low-income or elderly California resident who would qualify for the equity budget. That, along with the potential to supply critical infrastructure with solar-storage systems, is likely to make for an attractive target market for solar and energy storage developers like Sunrun and Tesla.

The proposed decision could be voted on by the CPUC as early as next month. Last year, California’s legislature extended the SGIP for five more years and provided about $830 million in total funding.

SGIP’s equity budget offers higher incentives than the mainstream program for behind-the-meter battery installations, from 35 cents to up to 50 cents per watt-hour.

While the new proposal would only cover next year’s SGIP budget at present, the CPUC plans to consider collecting up to $100 million annually to keep the program going.

California faces a years-long public policy challenge to tackle its increasingly deadly wildfires, fueled by expanding human development, hotter and drier conditions caused by climate change, and in some cases utility power lines such as the Pacific Gas & Electric transmission line that started November’s Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and caused an estimated $12 billion in damage.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsCalifornia Proposes $100M in Energy Storage Incentives to Boost Wildfire Resiliency

Letter: Battery Storage Fire Risks Need Greater Attention

on August 22, 2019

The article “Fire at Arizona Energy Storage Battery Draws Scrutiny” (ENR 7/8-15 p. 18) illuminated the potential hazards associated with energy storage systems and lithium-ion batteries and accurately noted that the technology “now make[s] up 98% to 99% of all new battery-type storage systems.”

Near-ubiquitous use of these devices makes it critically important to recognize risks they present to people and property. In particular, first responders, who may encounter hazmat issues, thermal runaway concerns, battery explosion and reignition and off-gassing may find themselves in dangerous situations.

To that point, it was surprising to see that the article downplayed the impact of the April 19 energy storage system (ESS) explosion at the Arizona Public Service Co., stating that injuries sustained by eight firefighters and a police officer were “non-life threatening.” Of the firefighters injured, three required an extended hospital stay. The most serious injuries included a firefighter who had a “nose fracture, skull fracture, collapsed lung, rib fractures, broken tibia and fibula and an artery cut in his left leg.” Others sustained multiple fractures, burns and concussions.

The article also seems to minimize inherent ESS hazards, stating, “What we’re learning over time is that it’s not necessarily always a battery problem.” The hazard lies with the battery chemistry; thus, trying to direct attention away from that aspect can be dangerous.

As with so many new and emerging issues, it is important to develop corresponding information to better educate audiences about risks and about measures needed to ensure that systems are designed properly and are safely handled in the event of a fire or other emergency.

The National Fire Protection Association is set to release NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems, in early September. It provides requirements based on technology used in energy storage systems, the setting where the technology is being installed, the size and separation of ESS installations and fire suppression and control systems that are in place.

NFPA also has added ESS resources, including online training for the fire service, key research that is educating a broad range of stakeholders and other related content that can be found on our website at nfpa.org/ess.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsLetter: Battery Storage Fire Risks Need Greater Attention

Massachusetts to Incorporate 6 New Energy Storage Projects of More Than 20 MW

on August 21, 2019

NEC Energy Solutions (NEC ES) recently announced six additional energy storage projects of more than 20 MW at municipal power plants throughout New England including Madison, Maine, and Ashburnham, Templeton, Wakefield, Middleton and Taunton, Massachusetts. The new projects follow the model of the Sterling Municipal Light Department installed two years ago that has saved ratepayers more than $1 million on their utility bills. These energy storage systems reduce costs for transmission and capacity charges.

NEC’s most recently contracted project with the Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant (3 MW/6 MWh) will be one of the largest in New England to date. TMLP plans to operate the GSS Grid Storage Solution from their Cleary-Flood Generating Station, where system conditions are monitored 24/7. Through reducing transmission and capacity costs during peak demand times, the project will provide savings to TMLP ratepayers for years to come.

The energy storage systems include NEC’s GSS end-to-end grid storage solution and its AEROS controls system, which is NEC’s proprietary energy storage control software platform. The storage systems are dispatched to reduce the municipal power plants heaviest electric loads each month. These peak periods determine their yearly capacity costs and monthly transmission costs.

Three of Massachusetts municipal power plants including Ashburnham, Templeton and Wakefield are partnering with Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (“MMWEC”). The Wakefield, Ashburnham and Templeton projects use MMWEC’s peak load forecasting system and remote dispatch program. MMWEC staff predicts the best time to dispatch the batteries based on its forecasts of increased electricity demand, and the batteries are then remotely dispatched from MMWEC’s 24/7 operations center in Ludlow, Mass.

Several of the projects were made possible through grants from the Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage (ACES) program, including Wakefield, Ashburnham and Taunton. The ACES program, a partnership between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the state Department of Energy Resources (DOER), is a competitive grant initiative to pilot innovative, broadly-replicable energy storage projects that advance energy storage technologies in Massachusetts.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsMassachusetts to Incorporate 6 New Energy Storage Projects of More Than 20 MW

Energy Storage Solutions, Alencon Partner On DC-Coupled Solar-Plus-Storage Solution

on August 21, 2019

Energy Storage Solutions (E22) and Alencon Systems have partnered to offer a unique, turnkey DC-coupled solar-plus-storage solution. The integrated solution offered by E22 is called the DC POWER OPTIMISER.

The DC POWER OPTIMISER consists of a DC-to-DC bidirectional converter, Alencon’s Bi-Directional Optimizer for Storage Systems — the BOSS, connected to a battery, packaged in a single containerized package. This container includes control and communication equipment, a battery management system and cooling and safety systems as well as Alencon’s BOSS. The unit is compliant with UL1741 and designed to UL9540A. These distributed systems can connect with string inverters sized up to 150 kW and 1,500 VDC. The system is controlled via E22’s ETER software, a proprietary energy management and system control software platform developed by E22.

Alencon’s BOSS bi-directional DC-DC optimizer along with E22’s solutions will be on display in Alencon Booth #2629 at SPI.

E22’s DC POWER OPTIMISER offers a turnkey DC-coupled solar-plus-storage solution which provides users a number of powerful benefits over traditional AC-coupled systems while eliminating the system configuration challenges and deployment limitations of other DC-coupled solutions. The DC POWER OPTIMISER offers greater round-trip efficiency, while firming intermittent solar output to both extend solar production and turn solar into a truly dispatchable energy resource. By DC-coupling the battery to the solar, the DC POWER OPTIMISER also captures solar energy that would otherwise be clipped during times of overproduction. DC-coupling solar and storage with the DC POWER OPTIMISER also allows for favorable IRS tax treatment of the system, further improving the economics offered by E22’s solution.

Including Alencon’s BOSS galvanically isolated, rack-level DC-DC converter in this container provides a myriad of benefits to project owners. The DC POWER OPTIMISER can be easily connected to the grid via a string inverter, the first DC-coupled system to offer such a feature. This will allow PV plant owners to easily integrate storage into existing PV plants using string inverters. The inclusion of the BOSS also allows for superior system safety and maximum battery rack utilization by isolating each battery rack. By controlling the charge of the system at the rack level, the BOSS assures maximum utilization of each battery rack while at the same time improving system safety by minimizing the risk of fault currents and other safety risks. The battery rack level charge approach provided by the BOSS also greatly simplifies battery rack augmentation that will invariably need to occur over the life of a solar-plus-storage project.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnergy Storage Solutions, Alencon Partner On DC-Coupled Solar-Plus-Storage Solution

UK’s Blackout First-Responders Included 475MW Of Batteries

on August 21, 2019

A report out today on the causes of the UK’s recent blackout, where electricity supply to 5% of National Grid’s customers was cut off “to protect the other 95%”, highlighted that 475MW of batteries were used to help bring the network back online.

A timeline of events produced by National Grid ESO, based on interim findings conducted by the Electricity System Operator and submitted to regulator Ofgem on Friday evening, shows that a lightning strike the previous Friday evening had triggered events that led to loss of power for around 1.1 million customers and reportedly causing chaos on transport networks.

Our sister site Current± reported today that lightning hit a transmission circuit – the Eaton Socon – Wymondley Main. But while the grid’s protection systems operated normally and cleared the lightning within 0.1 seconds, shortly after there was a near simultaneous loss of load from both the Little Barford CCGT power station and Hornsea One offshore wind farm.

Those trips, National Grid ESO has concluded, were entirely independent of each other – dispelling a previous theory that a trip at one plant caused the other to de-load – but both were connected to the lightning strike. The lightning strike also caused some losses from embedded generators in the area of the lightning strike, equivalent to around 500MW, after the Loss of Mains protection system kicked in. All in all, close to 1.4GW of load was lost from the system, which is prepared for the loss of capacity equivalent to its biggest generator, a 1.2GW nuclear reactor, Sizewell B.

What National Grid described as an “extremely rare” event – the ESO deals with more than 1,000 lightning strikes a year – then occurred as frequency continued to fall even as 1,000MW of backup power was called on, including 475MW of battery energy storage.

Customers on the distribution network had to be automatically disconnected to “ensure the safety of the network in a controlled way and in line with parameters pre-set by the UK’s distribution network operators (DNOs), which feed power from the grid into peoples’ homes and businesses.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsUK’s Blackout First-Responders Included 475MW Of Batteries