Sterling and Wilson to Build Solar Storage Hybrid Power Plant in Niger

on October 27, 2020

Sterling and Wilson Pvt Ltd (SWPL), India’s leading engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, has announced that its Hybrid & Energy Storage division (HES), in consortium partnership with French EPC company Vergnet and SNS Niger, has signed an EPC contract to construct a Solar PV Battery Storage and Diesel Genset based hybrid power plant in Agadez, Niger, in West Africa. Tendered by The Nigerian Electricity Company (NIGELEC), the project consists of 18.9MWp solar + 11.55MWh/3.0 MVA battery energy storage system (BESS) + 6.54 MVA (2.18 x 3 MVA) diesel generator and 20 kV substation, and evacuation line up to the Nigelec Substation in Agadez. The consortium will also be responsible for a two-year operation and maintenance (O&M) service of the power plant.

The project also includes the rehabilitation of the electrical network of the city of Agadez, which does not allow the evacuation of electricity to and within the city, and the electrification of the neighbouring hamlet of Tibinitene.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Deepak Thakur, CEO – Hybrid & Energy Storage, Sterling and Wilson, said, “We are extremely delighted to have secured another prestigious opportunity in Africa after successfully commissioning Nigeria’s first solar storage hybrid power plant, which is also Africa’s largest battery energy storage system. Hybrid energy solutions is a huge opportunity as many power generation and distribution companies in places like Africa are moving into renewables.”

“As one of the leading turnkey EPC solution providers globally, with project management, engineering and delivery expertise of over 11 GW of diversified energy offerings across geographies, along with our consortium partners, we are committed to deliver this project well on-time, fully complying with the stringent quality and safety standards,” added Mr. Deepak Thakur.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsSterling and Wilson to Build Solar Storage Hybrid Power Plant in Niger

So, What Exactly Is Long-Duration Energy Storage?

on October 27, 2020

Long-duration storage occupies an enviable position in the cleantech hype cycle. Its allure has proven more durable than energy blockchain, and its commercialization is further along than super-buzzy green hydrogen.

Depending on who you talk to, long-duration storage technology can knock out coal and gas peaker plants, turn renewables into round-the-clock resources and generally pave the way for a carbon-free grid.

But beyond the high-level predictions, it’s hard to find a consistent definition of what this category actually means and exactly what it’s supposed to do. That’s largely because a market for such things hasn’t really existed.

That’s starting to change. On October 15, a coalition of community-choice aggregators in California released the first major request for proposals targeting long-duration projects. To qualify, plants must be:

50 megawatts or greater:

  • Able to discharge electrons at that level for eight hours or more
  • In operation by 2026
  • Companies interested in this process cover a range of technologies, including pumped hydro, gravity-based, compressed air and flow batteries, as well as current market leader lithium-ion batteries.

GTM previously covered the main technologies vying for this emerging grid role and recently published an explainer on green hydrogen, another long-duration contender. In light of the new effort to actually buy some of this stuff, GTM has compiled a guide to why it matters, what products and companies are competing to supply it, and what hurdles this category faces.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsSo, What Exactly Is Long-Duration Energy Storage?

Five Facts about Energy Storage that Every Californian Should Know

on October 27, 2020

If you aren’t already paying attention to energy storage, you should be. While most people admittedly don’t get giddy at the thought of a lithium ion battery, energy experts and policymakers do and they are becoming increasingly excited about the potential role energy storage can play in the future of electricity management. And for good reason – storage can help build resiliency, shore up energy reliability in communities, and support the move to 100 percent renewable energy.

And nowhere is this more apparent than California – a state that has already committed to 100 percent clean electricity and has quickly turned to energy storage as a key piece of this challenge. Over the past decade, the state has been a leader in storage development and has pioneered successes in the area that any energy-interested reader would be remiss to ignore. If this is news to you, not to worry, we’re here to catch you up. Here are five facts about energy storage in California you need to know.

1) California leads the charge on energy storage

California leads all states in energy storage deployment, and frankly, the other states aren’t even close. According to the Department of Energy, California currently boasts around 300 utility-scale storage projects, well ahead of second place New York and Massachusetts with only around 40 each and about triple the number of active projects in the entire nation of Germany. This accounts for more than 1,500 megawatts (MW) or 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of storage capacity. To put that in context, this amount of storage has roughly the same maximum power output as 4.68 million solar panels and around 13,635 Nissan Leafs (or the flux capacitor of one time traveling DeLorean).

Notably, California’s storage prowess extends beyond its sheer number of projects. The state was the first in the nation to establish an energy storage procurement target a decade ago and has continued to be a trailblazer in developing and passing storage legislation. California, for instance, is the only state along with New York, to design storage policies aimed at addressing equity and underserved communities to rectify disparities in energy access and cost.

2) California’s storage programs and projects are innovative

The state is home to some of the most ambitious storage initiatives, projects, and mandates in the world. At the cornerstone of these achievements is the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), an initiative that provides financial incentives to promising storage projects, both commercial and residential. The program has already provided millions of dollars in incentives and is poised to continue funding projects through at least 2025. This is particularly exciting for residential customers seeking to outfit their homes or small businesses with battery technology. The program will prioritize future funding for low-income and high-fire-threat communities in the hope that storage can help individuals keep the lights on during outages.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsFive Facts about Energy Storage that Every Californian Should Know

US House Bill Offers $1.5 Billion in Clean Energy Microgrid Grants

on October 23, 2020

A new federal program would offer $1.5 billion in grants for clean energy microgrids under a bill introduced in the House of Representatives.

The bill aims to help fund clean energy microgrids for critical infrastructure, with a focus on low-income communities and communities of color.

The Energy Resilient Communities Act is designed to help combat power outages and rolling blackouts, reduce pollution, create green energy jobs and fight climate change, according to the bill’s Democratic sponsors Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragán from California and Yvette Clarke from New York.

“From Superstorm Sandy to summer heat waves, Brooklynites are all too familiar with the impacts of extreme weather on our communities and critical infrastructure,” Clarke said Oct. 20. “And as our nation grapples with record fires out West, and a record hurricane season down South, we know that resilience and equity must be top of mind in all our efforts to build a better and cleaner future.”

Last year, 546 microgrids were installed in the United States. About 86% of them were at least partly powered by fossil-fueled generators, according to the lawmakers.

Ranking clean energy microgrids

The bill would authorize $1.5 billion in annual grants for clean energy microgrids to support the critical infrastructure needed in the aftermath of an extreme weather event. It also offers $50 million for technical assistance.

The legislation reserves at least $150 million of annual funding for grants supporting community-owned energy systems.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsUS House Bill Offers $1.5 Billion in Clean Energy Microgrid Grants

Corporate Funding For Battery Storage Up 75%

on October 23, 2020

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the investment climate in various renewable energy sectors appears to be outperforming the pre-Covid levels of last year. Corporate funding for battery storage, smart grids, and energy efficiency has risen a whopping 75% this year.

Mercom Capital Group LLC, a clean energy communications and consulting firm, has analyzed cash flows in those market segments and observed a substantial increase in funding despite the global health crisis.

Investment this year to the end of September totaled $4.7 billion in corporate funding for battery storage, smart grid, and energy efficiency companies. The same period of last year brought $2.7 billion. The Covid-related uncertainty in the first quarter was perhaps reflected by the fact some $3.2 billion of that $4.7 billion was invested in the last quarter, a rise of 165% on the investment seen in Q2.

The impressive third-quarter figure appears to show investors moving into storage, smart grid and efficiency companies, as the first six months of the year brought only minimal backing in the segment. The July-to-September return was up 777% on the same period of last year, which attracted $365 million.

Venture capital funding, including private equity and corporate venture capital, rose 78% from the second quarter to Q3 with $1.1 billion spread across 22 deals in July-to-September, compared to $605 million in 26 deals in the previous three-month window. In year-on-year terms, the third-quarter VC figure was up 249% from the $309 million raised in 17 deals in July-to-September last year.

Venture capital funds of $1.9 billion have flowed into energy storage in the first nine months of the year, down from the $2.1 billion seen in the same period of 2019.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsCorporate Funding For Battery Storage Up 75%

New Energy Storage Player: JinkoSolar Releases Batteries for Both Resi and Large-Scale Markets

on October 23, 2020

JinkoSolar released a suite of new products under the “Eagle” name this week during the virtual Solar Power International tradeshow. Both high-power solar panels and energy storage systems are on display for the first time by the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer.

New panels include:

  • Eagle 60HM G2: 330-W half-cell mono PERC module
  • Eagle 72HM G2: 410-W half-cell mono PERC module
  • Eagle 72HM G3: 405-W bifacial half-cell mono PERC module
  • Eagle 66TR G4: 390-W tiling-ribbon mono module (using larger M10 wafers)
  • Eagle 78TR G4b: 475-W tiling-ribbon bifacial mono module (using larger M10 wafers)

This is the first time Jinko’s tiling-ribbon technology has been used in panels released to the U.S. market. The company has similar modules under the “Tiger” name in China.

“Jinko’s Tiling Ribbon (TR) technology is different from shingled modules. There is some overlap of cells that is facilitated by the tiling ribbon,” explained Vikash Venkataramana, director of technical service and product management for JinkoSolar to Solar Power World earlier this year. “The ribbon is designed so that it can be positioned between the overlapping cells to eliminate any direct contact between the overlapping cells, removing any concern of mechanical stress. Special encapsulants are also used in the module to reduce mechanical stress.”

Most interestingly is the release of lithium batteries and energy storage systems by the predominantly solar panel-focused company.

The Eagle RS1 is a 8-kW/19.2-kWh AC-coupled energy storage system. It is stackable up to 28.8 kWh and 38.4 kWh. Its lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) technology is popular among the residential market. The Eagle RS1 has a 6,000-cycle-life and is outdoor-rated. The residential system is available for orders beginning in December 2020.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNew Energy Storage Player: JinkoSolar Releases Batteries for Both Resi and Large-Scale Markets

Tesla Breaks Another Record — This Time For Energy Storage Installations

on October 22, 2020

Tesla has broken yet another record. This time it’s for energy storage installations. Tesla’s storage business deployed 750 MWh in Q3. Tesla noted in its Q3 earnings update that the production of its Megapack continued to ramp up at Gigafactory Nevada. Production volumes more than doubled in Q3 2020 compared to Q3 2019.

The demand for Tesla’s smaller Powerwall, made for homes, not only remained strong but is also growing. Tesla pointed out that many of its customers include a Powerwall with their solar installations. Tesla is also seeing “accelerating interest” in the Powerwall due to concerns around grid stability in California, where most of its buyers live.

Tesla believes that its energy business will ultimately be as large as its vehicle business.

Meanwhile, it has created a strategy of low-cost solar priced at $1.49/watt in the US after the US tax credit is applied, something CleanTechnica spoke with Tesla CEO Elon Musk about last month, and this is having an impact. For more on that matter, read: “Elon Musk Explains Why Tesla Solar Power Is So Cheap — CleanTechnica Exclusive.”

Tesla’s total solar deployments more than doubled in the third quarter versus the second quarter — to 57 MW. Solar Roof deployments have almost tripled.

Tesla also recently demonstrated a 1.5-day Solar Roof install. Installation time is one of the key areas of Tesla’s focus to accelerate the growth of this program. Tesla provided photos of its 1.5-day Solar Roof install in the quarterly report. The photos were taken at 7:30 in the morning, at noon, and at 2:00 pm the following day. Have a look:

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsTesla Breaks Another Record — This Time For Energy Storage Installations

Renault eWays: The Group Presents Two Major New Energy Storage Projects

on October 22, 2020

The Groupe Renault is continuing its commitment to sustainable mobility by acting on the electric ecosystem as a whole. With the Advanced Battery Storage project in France and the SmartHubs project in the UK, it is initiating two major projects in Europe using second-life battery technologies. The common objective is to manage the gap between electricity consumption and production in order to increase the share of renewable energies in the energy mix. The aim is to maintain the balance between supply and demand on the electricity grid by integrating different energy sources with intermittent production capacities.

The Georges Besse factory in Douai is home to the first Advanced Battery Storage installation, delivered by NIDEC ASI, an integrator partner and storage solution provider. This project is part of the Groupe Renault’s strategy to develop an intelligent electrical ecosystem in favour of the energy transition. This new project is based on the observation that the slightest discrepancy between consumption and production triggers disturbances that can compromise the stability of the frequency of the domestic network. Stationary energy storage thus makes it possible to regulate and stabilise the network by charging the batteries when demand is low, then reinjecting the energy contained in these batteries back into the network as soon as demand is high.

Advanced Battery Storage is based on electric car batteries compiled in containers and targets an installed capacity of nearly 50 MWh at several sites in France. The Douai site has a total installed capacity of 4.7 MWh using second life batteries, as well as new batteries stored for future after-sales use.

The Advanced Battery Storage project is being carried out in partnership with the Banque des Territoires, the Ecological Transport Modernisation Fund managed by Demeter and the German startup The Mobility House. It demonstrates the Group’s ability to anticipate environmental issues and provide opportunities to innovate with new services.

The SmartHubs project with Connected Energy is located in West Sussex, UK. Second life batteries from Renault vehicles will be operated alongside other technologies as part of a local energy system to help provide cleaner, lower cost energy for use in social housing, transport, infrastructure, private homes and local businesses. The second life batteries will be incorporated into Connected Energy’s specially designed E-STOR systems.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsRenault eWays: The Group Presents Two Major New Energy Storage Projects

How Ultra-Capacitors Are Helping Wind Power Generation Realise its Full Potential

on October 22, 2020

Editor’s note: You may have already watched the recent webinar on ultra-capacitors and the role they could play in the energy transition, which hosted with sponsors EIT InnoEnergy, the European Union-backed energy tech innovation accelerator.

In that webinar, market analyst Thomas Horeau of Frost & Sullivan explained that one of the key uses of ultra-capacitors in the renewable energy industry is in ‘feathering’ wind turbines: providing short bursts of stored power to correct the angling of turbine blades to optimise their performance or conversely to prevent damage from high winds.

Also taking part in the webinar was Egert Valmra, product director of ultra-capacitor manufacturer Skeleton Technologies, which supplies devices to wind farm operators for this very purpose. Valmra said that when he first joined the company just over six years ago, he wondered why pitch control for wind turbine blades was necessary.

I was told that if windmills get disconnected from the grid and have less resistance, they can spin out of control. In that moment, it’s crucial to quickly change the pitch of the blade… so that less force is applied,” Skeleton Tech’s EgertValmra said.

The two options for changing the pitch of the turbine blades are to do it hydraulically or electrically. Hydraulic solutions, Valmra said, require “a little bit too much maintenance”. Meanwhile the servicing costs of using batteries for this role and “replacing them every couple of years mean the servicing costs are too high”.

While Egert Valmra gave the viewers a brief and succinct explanation of wind turbine pitch control or feathering using ultra-capacitors in the webinar, this week, we asked the webinar’s main presenter, Johan Söderbom, EIT InnoEnergy’s thematic leader for energy storage and smart grids, to go into a little bit more detail on the connection between wind power and ultra-capacitors, as follows:

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsHow Ultra-Capacitors Are Helping Wind Power Generation Realise its Full Potential

Renewables, H2 and Energy Storage: This Week’s POWERGEN+ Schedule is Ready to Roll

on October 21, 2020

POWERGEN+ returns this week with sessions featuring experts discussing the latest and greatest in state regulation and renewable policies, community solar, hydrogen adoption and energy storage options.

The monthly virtual series, enacted during this era of social distancing due to COVID-19, offers the same level of power sector industry content which normally happens at the live event. POWERGEN+ is free to register and sessions are available both live this week and archived for one year.

Registrants can see individual sessions or attend all of them, if they want. Go here to choose.

POWERGEN International is still scheduled for March 30-April 1 in Orlando.

In the meantime, parent company Clarion Energy is working on building virtual sessions with learned veterans in the utility, OEM, service and alternative energy fields. The sessions happening Wednesday and Thursday are focused on the clean energy side of the power generation equation.

On the first day, a group of state and national regulatory leaders will detail how their jurisdictions handle renewable energies and integration as an economic development issue. Later in the day, high-level contributors from National Grid, U.S. Light Energy and Standard Solar will show the path they took to developing major community solar projects in New York.

On Thursday, sponsor Nel Hydrogen will underline key factors in why stored and deployable H2 can help both grid resiliency and zero-carbon goals. The second session panel that day, moderated by Energy Cast host Jay Dauenhauer, will include Rye Development, GE and National Grid Renewables (formerly Geronimo Energy) and give the overview and challenges of various energy storage resources.

Both days will be kicked off by welcome messages from Clarion Energy leaders and keynote addressed from renewable and hydrogen sector leaders. The Wednesday keynote speaker will be Robert Jackson, director for solar PV projects for renewables developer Ameresco, while Thursday morning’s keynote will be from David Bow with Nel Hydrogen.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsRenewables, H2 and Energy Storage: This Week’s POWERGEN+ Schedule is Ready to Roll