Battery Storage Is Delivering Value For Solar Developers And Energy Consumers. But What About Cost?

on August 7, 2020

COVID-19 has led to lock-downs. That, in turn, has led to less energy use, creating an opportunity for renewables to shine. They are becoming the lowest-cost energy source on sunny days, although during the evening when electricity demand is high, power prices are spiking.

But there is a fix: utilities and onsite generators are using energy storage to harness the electricity during the day and release those electrons at night. Those batteries not only can limit the price spikes but they can also add value to solar farms. The twin goals are to increase renewable power usage and to provide electricity during peak demand. But the main obstacle is the high price of storage. The options?

“If low electricity prices remain, what will it mean for future the grid and the electricity market?” asks Matt Harper, chief commercial officer for Invinity Energy Systems that makes “flow batteries.” “Battery storage can take advantage of abundant and low-cost power: it consumes excess power during the day and redeploys that electricity during the peak periods when conventional power generation would be turned on.”

Harper explains that “flow batteries” are different from “lithium-ion batteries.” The former provides long-term storage that can deliver power for up to 15-hours while the latter supplies electricity for shorter periods of four-hours or less. The better performance, he adds, means that renewables have more leverage in the market — something that will eventually mean that power can be stored in the summer and used in the winter.

At the same time, he says that “flow batteries” are positioned between short-term “lithium-ion” batteries and long-term hydrogen tanks. Hydrogen storage, he adds, has limitations because of the fuel’s efficiency rate, which is about 50% — the ability to take a unit of energy input and convert it to electricity. In comparison, he says that the efficiency rate for battery storage is between 70-90%.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsBattery Storage Is Delivering Value For Solar Developers And Energy Consumers. But What About Cost?

Tesla Supplier LG Chem Expects Battery Revenue to Double by 2025

on August 7, 2020
Bloomberg

While the Covid-19 pandemic has dented demand for electric vehicles this year, a South Korean supplier expects its battery sales to reach a new high thanks to strength in Europe and a contract with Tesla Inc.’s factory in China.

Revenue at LG Chem Ltd.’s battery business will reach a record of about 13 trillion won ($11 billion) this year, before hitting 30 trillion won in 2025, Chief Executive Officer Hak Cheol Shin said in an interview at his office in Seoul.

“We have no problem in our supply chain and can deliver all of the orders from customers this year despite the coronavirus,” Shin said.

Even with demand for rechargeable batteries seen slumping for the first time ever in 2020, South Korean makers posted sales gains in the first half. The Asian nation’s suppliers particularly benefited from European governments using virus recovery funds to help boost EV sales as well as new models from automakers including Volkswagen AG, according to SNE Research.

Sales at LG Chem jumped 83% to 10.5 gigawatt hours, lifted by rising demand for Tesla’s Model 3 sedans in China as well as for Renault SA’s Zoe cars, SNE Research said. That helped LG Chem, whose stock has more than doubled this year to a record high market value of about $44 billion, take the market lead over China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. The Korean company’s shares rose as much as 11.5% Friday morning after Bloomberg published the first version of this story. CATL fell as much as 4.4% amid general weakness in Chinese stocks.

“The point is how much LG will be able to get orders from Tesla, because everyone agrees Tesla will lead the electric-car market,” said Hwang Kyu-Won, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea Co. “However, if other automakers catch up with Tesla, that might be good news for LG Chem too, because of its diversified customers.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsTesla Supplier LG Chem Expects Battery Revenue to Double by 2025

First Grid-Scale Battery Storage Project in Alberta, Canada, Comes Online This Month

on August 7, 2020
Energy-Storage-News

The first grid-scale battery energy storage project in the Canadian province of Alberta is on-track to go into operation this month, while TransAlta, the company behind the project, has expedited plans to retire a coal plant citing “future market conditions”.

TransAlta Corporation, which generates and is engaged in wholesale marketing of electricity, is building the WindCharger 10MW / 20MWh lithium-ion battery storage project in the municipal district of Pincher Creek, through its subsidiary Western Sustainable Power Corporation.

As the name implies, the project is being built at the site of a wind farm, also operated by TransAlta. The company said it had been investigating the viability of battery storage at its various wind farm locations before selecting the Summerview Wind Farm in Alberta.

Approval was granted for WindCharger to be built at the wind farm’s substation in November 2019 by the Alberta Utilities Commission and construction began at the end of March this year. While it had originally been expected to be completed in June or July, TransAlta announced in its second quarter 2020 results reporting on 31 July that the project is to be completed during August.

TransAlta targeting ‘100% clean electricity by 2025’

TransAlta chief operating officer John Kousinioris told local newspaper the Calgary Herald that the project, which uses Tesla’s battery storage technology, is “an opportunity for us to match storage and our renewable wind power generation”. Kousinioris told the Herald that the batteries will charge up from the wind farm “when the wind is blowing or prices are really low”.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsFirst Grid-Scale Battery Storage Project in Alberta, Canada, Comes Online This Month

Vision for the Future — Microgrids as Teaching Tools and Community Partners

on August 6, 2020

Microgrids are impressive on their own, but what if they could work together? What if they could communicate and share resources via market participation— automatically with no human intervention —to achieve even greater efficiencies than they accomplish alone? In fact, what if the electric grid eventually became a grid of self-supporting, super smart and highly predictable microgrids?

It may sound futuristic, but the idea of clustering microgrids is already being explored on the southside of Chicago in a partnership that includes Siemens, a technical college and a local utility.

Known as the Bronzeville Microgrid, the project will pair a microgrid already in operation at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) with a microgrid being developed by Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) for the Bronzeville community.

With $5 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the $25 million project is the first utility-operated microgrid cluster being developed in the nation.

Spurred by Bronzeville community members eager to make their backyard a showcase for clean technology, the project will demonstrate how microgrids support the integration of renewable energy into the grid, enhance grid security, and keep power flowing during emergencies. The Bronzeville community will use its microgrid to ensure reliable energy for 10 facilities that provide critical services, including the Chicago Public Safety Headquarters, the De La Salle Institute and the Math & Science Academy, a library, public works buildings, restaurants, health clinics, public transportation, educational facilities and churches.

“The Bronzeville community is well-known for innovation and entrepreneurship and commitment to building a bright future,” said Paula Robinson, president of the Bronzeville Community Development Partnership. “A secure energy infrastructure and greater access to renewable sources are central to our vision…. It’s time to put this technology to the test, and Bronzeville is the perfect place to do it.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsVision for the Future — Microgrids as Teaching Tools and Community Partners

Hydrogen May Be The Crucial ‘Jigsaw’ Piece For Green Microgrids

on August 6, 2020

After catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018 had devastated the transmission lines owned by PG&E Corp., it was forced to declare bankruptcy. And the fallout from that has been a move to localize both the supply and delivery of electricity — power to come from green energy and to be sent using microgrids.

Microgrids are set up for several reasons that include increasing a region’s resiliency — or its ability to maintain power as well as incorporating more renewable energy to cut down on CO2 releases. And they can be set up in remote locations that have no access to the centralized grid, thus creating more economic opportunities. But in the case of PG&E, it is looking to such localized delivery systems as a way to battle wildfires and to avoid wholesale blackouts.

“In the last decade, renewable energy sources have been transforming the microgrid landscape, consequently reducing or even eliminating the need for costly fossil fuels. This has been made possible through the use of hydrogen,” says Thomas Chrometzka, a strategist with Enapter, which makes electrolyzers — a device used to split apart the hydrogen and oxygen from water. “Introducing hydrogen to microgrids solves the problem of seasonal or long-term storage that batteries cannot provide. It is the crucial jigsaw piece for 100% green microgrids.”

After catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018 had devastated the transmission lines owned by PG&E Corp., it was forced to declare bankruptcy. And the fallout from that has been a move to localize both the supply and delivery of electricity — power to come from green energy and to be sent using microgrids.

Microgrids are set up for several reasons that include increasing a region’s resiliency — or its ability to maintain power as well as incorporating more renewable energy to cut down on CO2 releases. And they can be set up in remote locations that have no access to the centralized grid, thus creating more economic opportunities. But in the case of PG&E, it is looking to such localized delivery systems as a way to battle wildfires and to avoid wholesale blackouts.

“In the last decade, renewable energy sources have been transforming the microgrid landscape, consequently reducing or even eliminating the need for costly fossil fuels. This has been made possible through the use of hydrogen,” says Thomas Chrometzka, a strategist with Enapter, which makes electrolyzers — a device used to split apart the hydrogen and oxygen from water. “Introducing hydrogen to microgrids solves the problem of seasonal or long-term storage that batteries cannot provide. It is the crucial jigsaw piece for 100% green microgrids.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsHydrogen May Be The Crucial ‘Jigsaw’ Piece For Green Microgrids

Dominion Asks Virginia Regulators For Interim Storage Targets as it Moves Toward 2.7 GW by 2035

on August 5, 2020
Utility-Dive

The SCC asked stakeholders to address a series of questions and submit suggested text for the regulation. The comment period closed July 29, but the commission granted an extension until Aug. 14 for submission of suggested regulatory text.

SCC requested comments on several issues, including:

  • Should the regulation apply to non-utility storage?
  • What interim storage targets should the commission set for APCo and Dominion?
  • What behind-the-meter, non-wire alternatives, and peak demand reduction programs should the regulation include?
  • What updates to existing utility planning and utility procurement rules should the commission adopt?
  • What competitive behind-the-meter incentives and competitive solicitation-related programs and mechanisms should the regulation include?
  • Should the regulations mandate or limit the deployment of certain types of storage?
  • Should the commission establish definitions in its regulations for “energy storage,” “energy storage capacity,” “energy storage facilities,” “energy storage project,” and “energy storage resources;” and should each term have its own regulation?

“Our priorities are to provide safe, reliable and affordable electric service to our customers and more renewable energy and energy storage is an important part of that,” a spokesperson for Dominion Energy Virginia said in an email.

APCo and Dominion submitted a joint comment, suggesting interim storage targets for themselves. APCo suggested adding 25 MW by the end of 2025, an additional 125 MW by 2030 and another 250 MW by 2035. Dominion suggested adding 250 MW by the end of 2025, an additional 950 MW by 2030, and another 1,500 MW by 2035.

The companies also asked that SCC set “high-level parameters” for most requirements, not create regulations for every term defined in the regulation, and asked that SCC’s regulations apply both to utility and non-utility storage projects.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsDominion Asks Virginia Regulators For Interim Storage Targets as it Moves Toward 2.7 GW by 2035

Enel X: NA Battery Storage Deployment Up 22% Over 2019

on August 5, 2020

As heat waves sweep across North America, C&I customers are using their batteries to reduce strain on the grid.

According to data supplied by Enel X, energy storage resources are being used five times as much this year as they were last year to help reduce peak electricity demand across New York, California, Massachusetts and Ontario this summer.

Enel X helps C&I customers reduce energy and make money via utility demand response programs by installing energy storage batteries and distributed energy resource (DER) optimization software that lets them participate in utility demand response calls. The company manages and operates, and in many cases, owns the battery storage systems.

When energy demand is high on the grid, a C&I customer with a behind-the-meter battery storage system optimized by Enel X’s software can use energy stored in that system instead of using power from the grid. In instances of a demand response event, the local utility or ISO will issue an alert that triggers the dispatch for the battery storage system operator. The battery is dispatched during these events shifting site load off the grid, similar to how a traditional demand response participant is dispatched to curtail load.

According to Enel, the software uses machine learning to learn the facility’s behavior and anticipate its electricity consumption, which gets saved into the software’s algorithm. The algorithm continuously evaluates this information, as well as factors such as market prices, utility rates, demand response, demand charges, and battery storage, to determine how it will interact with the energy storage assets. It shifts into storage power when it sees that storage will be the most efficient financially.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsEnel X: NA Battery Storage Deployment Up 22% Over 2019

Safer, Longer-Lasting Energy Storage Requires Focus on Interface of Advanced Materials

on August 5, 2020
Phys-Org

Scientists seeking ways to improve a battery’s ability to hold a charge longer, using advanced materials that are safe, stable and efficient, have determined that the materials themselves are only part of the solution.

In fact, studies at the interface of battery materials, along with increased knowledge of the processes at work, are unleashing a surge of knowledge needed to more quickly address the demand for longer-lasting portable electronics, electric vehicles and stationary energy storage for the electric grid.

“If we need better energy storage, we need to better understand what happens at the interface between the electrolyte and the battery or supercapacitor material,” said Yury Gogotsi of Drexel University, the corresponding author for a forward-looking review paper published in Nature Reviews Materials.

Drexel is a partner university of the Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures and Transport, or FIRST, center, an Energy Frontier Research Center located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and funded by the Department of Energy.

For the past 11 years, a group of scientists with the FIRST center focused on electrochemical research has been studying the interfaces of materials for energy storage. “This is the key—this is where action happens in energy storage,” Gogotsi said. “Basically, this is the frontier of energy storage.”

The electronics market is dominated by lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors. They are used in multiple consumer and industrial applications that require electrochemical energy-storage, or EES, devices, because they are known to operate safely and efficiently in various environments, especially at high or low temperatures.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsSafer, Longer-Lasting Energy Storage Requires Focus on Interface of Advanced Materials

Court Ruling Clears Way For Energy Storage On The Grid. Who Benefits?

on August 4, 2020

A federal appeals court has cleared the way for large-scale energy storage projects to have similar access to the power grid as electric generators do. State regulators had brought the case to limit FERC’s regulation of interstate electricity markets. The court (again) ruled in favor of FERC’s authority. The July decision is a big win for independent, merchant battery companies and renewable energy proponents, and a blow to entrenched legacy generators that have worked to stall independent battery stations by complaining that these are not generation facilities and cannot perform the same way as a legacy generation station on the grid. In particular, they were concerned that their own electricity would be used against them—bought low and sold high the next day while depressing prices. The legacy plants would lose both ways! But that’s nonsense.

Advanced battery technologies and decreasing battery costs have encouraged the development of utility-scale (really big) electricity storage stations on the grid. Tesla TSLA and AES Energy Storage have led the way with two such batteries. These address the greatest handicap wind and solar energy have in their push to eliminate fossil fuels from the generation market: intermittency. Batteries will also solve a second limitation of wind and solar energy, that peak renewable energy production is not always coincident with peak demand. Electricity demand varies over a day and over a season. It is this peak-and-trough wave that energy planners want to address with electricity storage facilities.

Today, most markets require electricity generation fleets sized to meet demand on the hottest day in August or coldest day in winter. Using the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, ERCOT, market as an example, peak demand is forecast to reach 75,000 megawatt hours (mWh) in August 2020. ERCOT is charged with making sure that there are sufficient supplies. However, the average electricity demand in ERCOT throughout the year is approximately 45,000 mWh. Battery storage would help reduce the need for a portion of the generation fleet and hasten the retirement of older high-cost generators.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsCourt Ruling Clears Way For Energy Storage On The Grid. Who Benefits?

Hybrid Resources: FERC Looking at America’s ‘Next Wave of Opportunity’ For Storage

on August 4, 2020
Energy-Storage-News

The transition to clean energy is exactly that: a transition. While we must bear in mind that electricity is only one (large) portion of energy demand, the transformation to a renewables-based future is happening extremely quickly, but there are still steps that need to be taken for the grid to fully take onboard their value and replace fossil fuels.

One major step in the US is the ongoing implementation of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 841, allowing energy storage resources to participate in wholesale markets operated in the main regional transmission operator (RTO) and independent system operator (ISO) grid services areas.

At a technical conference hosted online by FERC, chairman Neil Chatterjee reiterated that “breaking down barriers to energy storage resources” has been a huge focus of his team’s work, calling FERC Order 841 a “landmark effort for energy storage technology to participate and compete”.

“Order 841 will be seen as the most important step this commission could take to ensure a clean energy future,” Chatterjee said, with all six RTOs engaged in the process to make Order 841 “reality”.

However, the focus of the technical conference, held on 23 July, was to look at another major step forward, enabling the pairing of energy storage with generation facilities – described as ‘hybrid resources’.

“The time is right to discuss the next wave of opportunities for storage resources,” Chatterjee said.

FERC Commissioner Glick added that “we need to take a look at market rules – are they acting as barriers? And what can we do?”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsHybrid Resources: FERC Looking at America’s ‘Next Wave of Opportunity’ For Storage