Virginia Enacts Regulations To Enable US’ Largest Procurement Target For Energy Storage

on January 18, 2021

Virginia’s clean energy policies introduced during 2020 included the US’ biggest state-level target for deployment of energy storage – and the state’s regulator has now introduced the rules intended to enable achievement of that target.

The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) passed with the approval of both sides of the state’s political divide in April last year, albeit after lengthy debate and pushback from utilities. The act puts the state on the path to 100% renewable and clean energy by 2050, brought Virginia into the New England and Mid-Atlantic US Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) alongside 11 other states and introduced a 3.1GW target for energy storage deployment by 2035.

With Virginia now one of seven US states with a form of energy storage target in place, Virginia’s goal slightly outdoes the next largest, New York’s, which was set at 3GW by 2040. With that in mind, the Virginia State Corporation Commission – which has the authority to regulate numerous sectors including everything from utilities to insurance – issued its framework for the state’s two main utilities to adopt in pursuing that goal.

The regulations issued on 18 December 2020 went into force on the first day of this year. They concern the ways in which utilities Appalachian Power Company (APCo) and Dominion should petition the Corporation Commission for approval to “construct or acquire 400MW and 2,700MW, respectively of new utility-owned energy storage resources by 2035”.

The SCC received commentary and input from industry and non-industry stakeholders including the two utilities and groups as it formulated the regulations including the US national Energy Storage Association (ESA) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), developer GlidePath, Mitsubishi Power Americas and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy as well as environmental groups and others.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsVirginia Enacts Regulations To Enable US’ Largest Procurement Target For Energy Storage

California Project to Assess Long-Duration Energy Storage Technologies Awarded US$5m Grant

on January 14, 2021

A project which will combine and then assess four different types of non-lithium technologies for long-durations of energy storage has been awarded a grant by the California Energy Commission (CEC).

A grant of “more than US$5 million” to help develop a workable long-duration storage system with 10 hours of storage has been accepted by Indian Energy, a grid-scale battery storage and microgrid development and systems integration company which is 100% owned and operated by Native Americans.

Indian Energy and construction partner Webcor will begin the creation of a handful of what have been dubbed ‘Hybrid Modular Storage Systems’ that include flow batteries, supercapacitors, fast-responding mechanical energy storage and zinc hybrid cathode battery storage. The project will be sited at a United States Marine Corps base, Camp Pendleton, where other microgrid and emerging energy resiliency solutions have previously been trialled.

The idea is that the different long-duration energy technologies will all be put into operation in modules that are optimised using a hybrid controller system, tested individually and then operated as one unit, helping to prove how they would come into action in the event of a grid power outage, for example.

In total, six modules of Hybrid Modular Storage Systems will be created; three using the above technologies and funded by the latest grant, while a further three modules using as-yet unspecified technology types will be funded by other government agencies and private industry partners, Indian Energy said. The overall project will find the ‘sweet spot’ – the best combination or selection of technologies – which will then be used for the building of a 400kW / 4MWh energy storage system.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsCalifornia Project to Assess Long-Duration Energy Storage Technologies Awarded US$5m Grant

Google Looks To Turn Data Centers Into Energy Storage

on January 14, 2021

When most people imagine the internet, the last thing that comes to mind is huge, on-the-ground facilities and thousands of miles of wires across the ocean floor, but even the digital age depends entirely on material things. Even the cloud, whose very name suggests an ethereal, floating datasphere free from servers, towers, and wires, is housed in data centers around the world.  And those data centers require energy–a LOT of energy. As more and more people get connected to the internet around the world and spend increasingly lengthy amounts of time online, that means that the internet’s energy and ecological footprints are massive and growing. Especially now, when so many people around the world are working online all day before retiring to a relaxing evening online before sleeping next to a phone that is still awake and connected to the internet to receive all those emails and notifications while you dream, the energy usage of the data warehouses that run the internet has become astronomical.

“Google estimates that each search emits roughly 0.2 grams of CO2 into the atmosphere, due to the energy it takes to power the cables, routers, and servers that make Google work,” Wired reported back in 2018. “Watching or uploading a video to YouTube is worse for the environment: 1 gram of carbon for every 10 minutes of viewing.” All of those clicks really add up: internet companies emit as much carbon dioxide as the airline industry–and that was before COVID-19 grounded most planes.

Related: India Oil Demand Falls For First Time In 20 Years Due To COVID

Google, a company that has long taken an interest in curbing climate change and supporting green energy tech, is now hard at work trying to reverse the public perception of its massive data centers’ insatiable hunger for energy. You may have noticed that Google proudly boasts on their homepage that they’ve been carbon neutral since 2007–a major accomplishment considering the amount of carbon emissions they need to offset. So far, they’ve been achieving that by purchasing renewable energy credits and investing in solar and wind energies.

But carbon neutral is a far cry from carbon-free. Currently, Google relies on diesel-powered backup generators to keep their data centers running, a decidedly emissions-intensive model. For as loud as Google has been about their green energy innovations and carbon neutrality, however, the company has been mum about exactly how often their diesel-powered generators run and how much carbon dioxide they are emitting. But climate news outlet Grist reports that, according to Google’s own estimates, “worldwide, there are more than 20 gigawatts of diesel generating capacity in service across the data center industry, which is the equivalent of nearly 63 million solar photovoltaic panels — enough to power more than 833,000 homes for a month.”

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsGoogle Looks To Turn Data Centers Into Energy Storage

Mitsubishi Power Emerges as 2020 Market Share Leader in the Americas for Energy Storage of All Durations

on January 14, 2021

LAKE MARY, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mitsubishi Power has claimed the number one market share position in the Americas in 2020 with orders for 151,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy storage capacity of all durations. The all-duration category covers utility-scale and behind-the-meter technologies including battery, pumped hydro, and green hydrogen storage. Mitsubishi Power provides both short-duration battery energy storage systems and long-duration green hydrogen energy storage systems to meet customers’ decarbonization needs as they deploy deep renewables penetration and need energy storage of various durations.

Short-Duration Storage Solutions

Short-duration lithium-ion-based energy storage provides multiple services in power markets including dispatchable peak capacity, firming of intermittent renewable resources, ancillary services, energy price arbitrage, and transmission and distribution (T&D) congestion solutions. Mitsubishi Power received orders for 920 MWh of short-duration lithium-ion battery energy storage systems in 2020. Storage developers Key Capture Energy and Hecate Grid selected Mitsubishi Power as their integrator for projects in Texas and California, respectively. In addition, the State University of New York, with project oversight by the New York Power Authority, selected Mitsubishi Power’s subsidiary Oriden to provide a behind-the-meter photovoltaic solar-plus-storage solution at the SUNY Fredonia Campus. These projects will all enter commercial operation in 2021. Mitsubishi Power has additional undisclosed orders pending announcement.

Long-Duration Storage Solutions

Utility-scale green hydrogen projects can store renewable energy over long periods of time, ranging from hours to seasons, to provide dispatchable and cost-effective carbon-free energy when power grids with heavy renewable power penetration need it most. A first mover for stored renewable energy in the form of green hydrogen is the Intermountain Power Agency’s 840 MW Intermountain Power Project in Delta, Utah. In March 2020 IPA ordered Mitsubishi Power JAC gas turbine power islands for which Mitsubishi Power guaranteed the ability to use 30 percent green hydrogen fuel. In a separate project, Magnum Development selected Mitsubishi Power as its partner to develop the Advanced Clean Energy Storage project in Delta, Utah. This project will use renewable power and electrolysis to produce green hydrogen that will be stored in a salt cavern with the capacity to store 150,000 MWh of renewable energy for long-duration energy storage. The Intermountain Power Project and the Advanced Clean Energy Storage project are scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2025.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsMitsubishi Power Emerges as 2020 Market Share Leader in the Americas for Energy Storage of All Durations

NextEra Energy Looks to Spend $1B on Energy Storage in 2021

on January 14, 2021

Companies across the global renewable energy industry are anxiously assessing the negative impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their bottom line. Every company, it seems, except NextEra Energy.

NextEra, the leading U.S. renewables developer, reported its first-quarter financial results on Tuesday, saying that not only has its renewables development unit been unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it may actually benefit by being able to scoop up other projects that run into trouble.

NextEra expects to build around 5 gigawatts of renewables capacity this year, and it added another 1.6 gigawatts of wind, solar and storage to its pipeline during the first quarter. None of its 2020 projects are expected to be delayed.

The company also made a stunning, if not entirely surprising, prediction: It will spend $1 billion on battery projects next year. NextEra believes it will be the first company in the world to cross that threshold for energy storage investments in a single year.

That investment will include the 409-megawatt Manatee Energy Storage Center in Florida that NextEra announced last year, which will be powered by solar panels and replaces a pair of aging natural-gas-fired plants.

In addition to building renewables through its Energy Resources development arm, NextEra is adding wind, solar and batteries through its regulated utilities, Florida Power & Light and Gulf Power. FPL alone expects to add more than 10 gigawatts of solar capacity during the 2020s as Florida’s solar market consolidates its position as one of the country’s most important.

Energy Resources reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of $529 million, or $1.08 per share, up from $467 million, or $0.90 per share in the year-ago period.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsNextEra Energy Looks to Spend $1B on Energy Storage in 2021

2021 Energy Predictions: U.S. Clean Energy Standard, Tripling Energy Storage, State Shift From Gas, Electricity Transition, Billions In Climate Investment

on January 11, 2021

2020 was among the most unexpected years in American history but despite a global pandemic, a renewed civil rights movement, and the most tumultuous election in memory one trend held steady: clean energy’s unstoppable rise.

From coal’s complete collapse, to plummeting clean tech prices and booming renewable energy installations, not to mention every Democratic presidential candidate running on ambitious climate action, decarbonization proved it is the path forward to a strong economy and safe climate future.

But how will 2021 shake out? Five leading policy experts shared their predictions for the year ahead, envisioning an even faster acceleration to a clean energy economy than ever before. From unprecedented federal climate policy to surging energy storage installations and a shift away from gas toward sustainable investment and just transitions, the next 12 months could mark the turning point away from fossil fuels.

A federal clean energy standard and “breakout year” for building electrification

Leah Stokes, Assistant Professor, University of California-Santa Barbara

The Georgia runoff election result—where two Democratic Senators were elected, shifting the United States Senate to Democratic control—means that the outlook for federal action on climate is even brighter in 2021. We have the best opportunity in more than a decade to act on the climate crisis.

This year, I think we will finally see Congress pass a Clean Electricity Standard (CES), after three decades of effort. Over the past several years, numerous CES bills, including some bipartisan ones, have been introduced in Congress. President-elect Joe Biden campaigned on a bold climate platform, which included a pledge of 100% clean power by 2035—a specific target he repeated again and again on the campaign trail. This is a tried and true approach: Already, more than one in three Americans live in a state or city that is targeting 100% clean power. Congress has a clear mandate to act on a CES as soon as possible this year. 

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Fractal Energy Storage Consultants2021 Energy Predictions: U.S. Clean Energy Standard, Tripling Energy Storage, State Shift From Gas, Electricity Transition, Billions In Climate Investment

Gravity Energy Storage Will Show Its Potential in 2021

on January 11, 2021

Cranes are a familiar fixture of practically any city skyline, but one in the Swiss City of Ticino, near the Italian border, would stand out anywhere: It has six arms. This 110-meter-high starfish of the skyline isn’t intended for construction. It’s meant to prove that renewable energy can be stored by hefting heavy loads and dispatched by releasing them.

Energy Vault, the Swiss company that built the structure, has already begun a test program that will lead to its first commercial deployments in 2021. At least one competitor, Gravitricity, in Scotland, is nearing the same point. And there are at least two companies with similar ideas, New Energy Let’s Go and Gravity Power, that are searching for the funding to push forward.

To be sure, nearly all the world’s currently operational energy-storage facilities, which can generate a total of 174 gigawatts, rely on gravity. Pumped hydro storage, where water is pumped to a higher elevation and then run back through a turbine to generate electricity, has long dominated the energy-storage landscape. But pumped hydro requires some very specific geography—two big reservoirs of water at elevations with a vertical separation that’s large, but not too large. So building new sites is difficult.

Energy Vault, Gravity Power, and their competitors seek to use the same basic principle—lifting a mass and letting it drop—while making an energy-storage facility that can fit almost anywhere. At the same time they hope to best batteries—the new darling of renewable-energy storage—by offering lower long-term costs and fewer environmental issues.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsGravity Energy Storage Will Show Its Potential in 2021

World’s Largest Utility-Scale Battery Energy Storage System now Online

on January 11, 2021

Vistra Corp’s Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility is connected to the power grid and began operating in December 2020. At 300 megawatts/1,200 megawatt-hours, the lithium-ion battery storage system, located on-site at Vistra’s Moss Landing Power Plant in Monterey County, California, will be the largest of its kind in the world. Furthermore, construction is already underway on Phase II, which will add an additional 100 MW/400 MWh to the facility by August 2021, bringing its total capacity to 400 MW/1,600 MWh.

“This is a keystone project and it is important in so many ways – it revitalizes an existing power plant site and utilizes active transmission lines, enhances grid stability, fills the reliability gap created by intermittent renewables, provides emission-free electricity, supports California’s sustainability goals and mandates, significantly benefits the local community, and ultimately provides affordable electricity to consumers,” said Curt Morgan, chief executive officer of Vistra. “A battery system of this size and scale has never been built before. As our country transitions to a clean energy future, batteries will play a pivotal role and the Vistra Moss Landing project will serve as the model for utility-scale battery storage for years to come.”

Housed inside the power plant’s completely refurbished former turbine building and spanning the length of nearly three football fields, Phase I of the battery system can power approximately 225,000 homes during peak electricity pricing periods. The system is made up of more than 4,500 stacked battery racks or cabinets, each containing 22 individual battery modules, which capture excess electricity from the grid, largely during high solar-output hours, and can release the power when energy demand is at its highest and solar electricity is declining, usually early morning and late afternoon. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Batteries for Stationary Energy Storage 2021-2031.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsWorld’s Largest Utility-Scale Battery Energy Storage System now Online

Zinc-Based Energy Storage Project Coming to San Diego Area

on January 8, 2021

A battery storage project aimed at adding more carbon-free power to California’s electric grid is about to launch in the San Diego area.

EnerSmart, a renewable energy company based in San Diego and Boulder, Colorado, has signed a $20 million order with Eos Energy to install 10 facilities of 3-megawatts each that will employ zinc battery storage technology. Each of the projects will supply enough energy to power about 2,000 homes.

Seven of the 10 storage sites will be located in San Diego County and EnerSmart plans to have each one up and running by the end of the year.

The deal will provide at least 30 megawatts of utility-scale battery storage capacity to the grid. Over the next 24 months, EnerSmart has an option with Eos Energy to double both the size of its investment and the number of the project’s battery storage sites.

“If there’s a need for more, then we’ll do more,” said James Beach, managing partner at EnerSmart.

The seven facilities already under contract will be installed in Chula Vista, El Cajon, Imperial Beach, Lakeside, Ramona, along with two in San Diego.

“What makes our projects unique is that because they are 3-megawatt, the energy can go into lower voltage distribution lines so we’re really providing voltage support to the local communities,” Beach said.

The electricity and voltage support discharged from the 10 batteries will go to the California Independent System Operator, or CAISO, the nonprofit corporation that manages about 80 percent of the power grid in the state.

Energy storage is taking on a larger and more pivotal role in California’s power mix. Under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, 60 percent of California’s electricity must come from renewable sources by 2020. In 2045, 100 percent is slated to be derived by sources that emit zero carbon.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsZinc-Based Energy Storage Project Coming to San Diego Area

Vistra Brings Live 300 MW/1,200 MWh of Battery Storage in California

on January 8, 2021

January 7 (Renewables Now) – Texas-based Vistra Energy (NYSE:VST) has brought online its 300-MW/1,200-MWh Moss Landing energy storage facility in California’s Monterey County.

The lithium-ion battery system was hooked to the local power grid and kicked off operations on December 11, 2020, Vistra said in a statement on Wednesday. The company is currently implementing a second stage of the project that will expand the overall capacity to 400 MW/1,600 MWh. The 100-MW/400-MWh Phase II will become operational by August 2021.

“A battery system of this size and scale has never been built before,”said Vistra’s CEO Curt Morgan.

In its current configuration, the Moss Landing  battery energy storage system (BESS) is capable of storing electricity to power around 225,000 homes during peak periods. Equipped with over 4,500 stacked battery racks, each with 22 individual battery modules, the facility will operate under a long-term resource adequacy contract with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). A contract for Phase II is also in place with PG&E.

Vistra noted that the Moss Landing location provides “a unique opportunity” for extensive future expansion of installation. According to its calculations, the site can support up to 1,500 MW/6,000 MWh of storage capacity.

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Fractal Energy Storage ConsultantsVistra Brings Live 300 MW/1,200 MWh of Battery Storage in California