Energy Storage

Scaling up battery storage significantly to solely balance renewable power supply is not feasible, the London-based flexible power provider Statera said. Though Britain aspires to become carbon-neutral by 2050, the industry cautions this will prove impossible without gas gensets as backup.

The hydrogen fuel sector managed to break the 1 GW global shipment barrier in 2019 when a total of 1.1 GW were transported, mostly to Asian markets. Fuel cell vehicles and energy storage remain the largest demand driver, according to E4tech research, with Japan’s Toyota and South Korea’s Hyundai accounting for two thirds of total shipped capacity.

Lowest levelized cost of energy (LCOE), a widely-used metric to compare the profitability of power sources, is “not the right approach” when it comes to hybrid units, according to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “A paradigm shift is underway,” NREL said, stressing hybrid plants that include energy storage need to be rewarded for providing flexibility and grid ancillary services.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), a municipal utility, has confirmed plans to convert its Intermountain Power Plant in Utah from coal to natural gas, and then to 100 percent hydrogen. Right from the start of the new 840 MW gas power unit in 2025, hydrogen will fuel 30% of its operation and the ratio will be increased to full hydrogen fuelling by 2045.

The United Kingdom and Germany are ready to expand their cooperation in offshore wind and take the lead on hydrogen production in Europe. Together, the two countries are home to 85% of Europe’s installed offshore wind farms whose excess low-cost electricity output can be used to produce hydrogen, which can then be stored in the natural gas grid.

Setting the pace for modular onsite power, Aggreko will install a hybrid power unit at Resolute Mining’s operation fot the Syama gold project in Mali. The expandable 70 MW hybrid plant will reduce the mine’s electricity costs by 40% by combining thermal and solar generation with battery storage.

Tesla’s decision to build Gigafactory-4 – its first European factory for battery cells and e-vehicles – in German is expected to bring an “enormous boost” for the country's lagging shift to electric mobility. Economy minister Peter Altmaier called the surprise announcement by Tesla CEO Elon Musk a "milestone" for the production of battery cells production and the rollout of e-mobility.

Sun-soaked Saudi Arabia is taking steps to use excess renewable energy to evolve into a global supplier of commercially competitive hydrogen. Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), developer of a large hydrogen gas turbine, says Saudi Giga-scale projects like NEOM can help the kingdom achieve its transformation to a ‘Hydrogen Society’.

Nearly all utility-scale battery systems installed in the United States over the past five years use lithium-ion technology, according to government findings. Provided all battery system additions will be completed as planned, and no capacity is retired, the total battery storage capacity in the U.S. could exceed 2,500 MW by 2023.

China-Australian Maoneng Group has been selected by AGL Energy to install four batteries with a total capacity of 200MW/400MWh in New South Wales by 2023, underpinned by a 15-year offtake agreement. The aim is to ensure stable supply and power prices at times of peak demand.

2019 will be a record year for investment in advanced lithium-ion batteries with over $350 million already spent in the first half of the year, notably by automotive giants and oil companies. This figure indicates that full-year 2019 investment will be higher than the last year’s $600 million.

Manufacturing capacity of all types of lithium-ion sub chemistries is expected to grow to just over 770 GWh by 2026. More than half of this manufacturing resides in China today but other key markets like Germany, Sweden, Hungary and Poland will ramp up production starting from 2021.

Highview Power is about to switch on the world’s first cryogenic, or liquid air, energy storage at a decommissioned thermal power station in the north of England. Provided developers can secure a stable, contracted return, the 50 MW/250 MWh CRYOBattery will start operation by 2022.

New York Public Service Commission has given the green light for the Ravenswood project, a 316 MW battery-based energy storage that would replace ageing fossil-fuelled capacity in NYC. If built, the project will be the first major use of energy storage for peakload power in the U.S. Northeast.

Bracing against the risk of wild-fires, the Californian utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) shut off electricity to hundreds of thousands of customers in 34 California counties. The impact of these shutoffs could have been buffered by supplying electricity from energy storage facilities.

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News in Brief

Wärtsilä wins contract in Barbados

Jan 24 – Barbados Light & Power Company Ltd (BLPC) has contracted Wärtsilä to fast-track the supply of a 33 MW flexible power plant, as an EPC project. The plant, set to run on four Wärtsilä-32 engines, will be built at a site adjacent to BLPC’s 10 MW solar photovoltaic plant at Trents, St. Lucy, located on the northwestern coast of Barbados.

Azito power plant takes FID

Jan 23 – Globeleq and IPS have reached financial close on a 253 MW expansion of the Azito gas-fired power plant near Abidjan. An MXL3 upgrade will boost the capacity of the combined-cycle plant from 460 MW currently to 713 MW, equaling about 30 percent Ivory Coast’s total capacity installed.

Climate risks become urgent

Jan 22 – Adaptation to climate change is now “urgent,” McKinsey claims, suggesting there would be “many adaptation opportunities.” Climate science shows that the risk from further warming can only be stopped by achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions through renewable built-out and energy storage.

India’s electricity demand may triple, IEA finds

Jan 21 – Energy demand in India is set to double by 2040, and its electricity demand may triple, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Oil consumption in India is seen grow faster than that of any other major economy, making energy security a key priority, the IEA said in its first in-depth review of India’s energy policies. Amid strong growth, renewables now account for almost 23 percent of India’s installed capacity, while energy efficiency improvements helped avoid 15 percent of India’s additional energy demand, oil and gas imports, and air pollution.

Regulators approve CCGT in Wisconsin

Jan 20 – State regulators have approved a permit for Dairyland Power Cooperative to build a $700 million combined-cycle gas power plant in northwestern Wisconsin. The Nemadji Trail Energy Center will produce 625 MW and is scheduled to begin operations by 2025.

ExxonMobil enhances turbine oils

Jan 17 – New high performance turbine oils, developed by ExxonMobil Lubricants, are  entering the market which are formulated to prevent build-up of lacquer, varnish and deposits. The oils are designed to protect against thermal and oxidative degradation, one of the root causes of deposit build-up.

Wärtsilä signs O&M deals in the Bahamas

Jan 16 – Following the commissioning of a Wärtsilä-built 132 MW power plant in Bahamas in December, the Finish manufacturer now signed a two-year operation and maintenance (O&M) accord with the plant owner, the Bahamas Power and Light Company (BPL). Wärtsilä will transition, train, and develop the owner’s Bahamian work force and provide key performance guarantees.

China, S'Korea curtail coal to tackle air pollution

Jan 15 – Beijing city government’s aggressive approach to tackling air pollution is working and South Korea’s spring coal-fired curtailments show some success in cutting seasonal emissions. According to Wood Mackenzie, this should benefit LNG, particularly while spot prices remain low.

Sri Lanka at brink of power shortages

Jan 14 – Sri Lanka could face power cuts by March, after plans for a large-scale coal power plant were been cancelled just prior to start of construction, and a tender for a 300 MW diesel plants ended up in court. On the demand side, pressure is building up as the region is moving into the dry season in February and March. Weather warnings say the island is likely to receive lower than average rainfall in the first quarter of 2020.

Caterpillar’s new genset comply with UK & German grid codes

Jan 13 – Caterpillar Inc. has launched a series of new generator sets that comply with the new G99 United Kingdom, VDE-AR-N 4110 German and Belgium C10/C11 grid codes. The following gensets – G3500H, CG132B, CG170, and CG260 (rated from 280-4,500kVA) – have been verified to be able to accommodate different reactive power modes, active power functions, and connection conditions for normal operation or reconnection after mains decoupling.

Transneft launches battery-based power supply for ILI tools

Jan 10 – Transneft Diascan, the largest Russian inspection service provider for pipelines, has developed and put into operation a power supply system for in-line inspection (ILI) tools based on rechargeable batteries. Flaw detectors performing inspections of trunk oil pipelines, gas pipelines and oil product pipelines can now use the energy from rechargeable batteries, which helps save time and reduces the cost of in-line inspection.

Pavilion starts trading LNG out of Madrid

Jan 9 – Singapore-based Pavilion Energy has completed the acquisition of all gas and LNG assets of the Spanish utility Iberdrola. From its new European headquarters in Madrid, Pavilion said has launched 2020 LNG trading operations with supplies focusing on Spain and the UK market.

Gazprom extends gas transits via Belarus until 2021

Jan 8 – Gazprom and Gazprom Transgaz Belarus have sealed additional agreements to extend the contracts for gas supplies to and gas transportation across Belarus until 2021. According to the newly-signed documents, the contractual supply and transit volumes in 2020 will remain at the level of 2019.

EastMed pipeline to take FID by 2022

Jan 7 – Greece, Cyprus and Israel have signed an agreement to build the 1,900-kilometre EastMed pipeline at an estimated cost of 6 billion Euros. The subsea pipeline, spanning over 1,900-kilometres would initially carry 10 Bcm of gas per annum from Israeli and Cypriot waters to Crete and then on to the Greek mainland and into the European gas network via Italy. A final investment decision (FID) is meant to be reached in 2022, given that the pipeline is scheduled for completion by 2025.

U.S. energy-related emissions drop over 2%

Jan 6 – Fewer emissions from coal consumption, combined with lower energy demand, have helped to significantly reduce the overall energy-related carbon emissions in the United States. According to government statistics, energy-related CO2 emissions fell 2.2 percent last year, and the downward trend is forecast to continue into 2020.

Brent crude prices surge

Jan 3 – North Sea Brent crude prices have risen to their highest level since September 2019, up nearly $3 per barrel because of Middle East tensions coupled with improved Chinese economic forecasts. Brent crude futures for March 2020 delivery were last seen trading at 69.21 per barrel the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). This bullish price sentiment will feed through to oil-indexed natural gas contracts and LNG deliveries, linked to the Japanese crude cocktail (JCC) basket price.

IEA says coal’s fate tied to Asia

Dec 23 – Rapid rise of wind and solar power in many parts of the world has pushed coal-fired power generation into steep decline in most developed countries. "But this is not the end of coal, since demand continues to expand in Asia," analysts at the International Energy Agency commented: "The region’s share of global coal power generation has climbed from just over 20 percent in 1990 to almost 80 percent in 2019, meaning coal’s fate is increasingly tied to decisions made in Asian capitals."