Energy Storage

Global market for battery energy storage is seen surge at a dazzling rate of 46.7 percent to reach $111.34 million by 2026. Data Bridge market research sees growing demand for grid-connected lithium-ion batteries to back up intermittent electricity supply from wind and solar power sources.

Australian mining giant Fortescue Metals Group is fast-tracking a US$450 million power generation project at its Pilbara iron ore mine. Featuring 150 MW of gas-fired capacity, 150 MW of solar photovoltaic and a large-scale battery storage, the hybrid project will help reduce the mine’s energy costs.

Power-to-X through electrolysis can swiftly utilize large overcapacities of wind and solar power, helping to balance the grid. Producing ammonia – a hydrogen liquid – is more attractive than hydrogen gas, the World Energy Council (WEC) says, given its energy density is higher by a factor 300.

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.

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News in Brief

MHPS extends service for Thai power station

Feb 26 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has been awarded a third long-term maintenance agreement for the 1,400 MW BLCP Power Station in Thailand. The service accord covers the power plant’s major equipment including boilers, steam turbines and flue gas cleaning system built by MHPS on a turnkey basis.

VPower signs PPA in Sri Lanka

Feb 25 – Hong Kong listed VPower Group has entered into a power purchase agreement for two 38.8 MW projects in Sri Lanka. The latest deal brings VPower Group's installed capacity in the Chinese city state to nearly 100 MW.

UAVT launches portable genset

Feb 24 – UAV Turbines has launched a lightweight microturbine generator for on-demand electrical power ranging from 3 kilowatt (kW) to 40 kW. The new device extends UAVT’s micro propulsion technology, the Monarch 1, and features a new portable micro-turbogenerator system that fits in a small case that can be carried by two people.

Castleton buys CCGT in Spain

Feb 21 – Castleton Commodities International (CCI), a British independent power producer, has acquired the Amorebieta combined-cycle gas power plant in Bilbao, Spain, for an undisclosed amount. CCI claims the 786 MW plant is “one of the most efficient CCGTs in the Iberian Peninsula.”

NNPC scrutinizes Abuja IPP project

Feb 20 – Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is scrutinizing technicality and economics of developing a 1,350 MW Independent Power Plant (IPP) project in Abuja. The project is likely to be realized, as it is backed by a $1.1 million grant from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and will be powered by GE gas turbines.

Batteries vs. hydro power

Feb 19 – More than 28 GW of lithium batteries deployed for stationary storage applications by the year 2028, according Navigant Research. Pumped hydro power plants, however, dominate the market as they account for 96 percent of installed energy storage worldwide.

Micro CHP market to top $3bn by 2026

Feb 18 – The global micro CHP market revenue is forecast to exceed $3 billion by 2026 amid rising demand for captive combined heat and power units by industry. According to Global Market Insights, micro CHPs are also increasingly combined with solar PV and energy storage into hybrid power units.

Rio Tinto uses battery to power Pilbara mine

Feb 18 – Australian mining company Rio Tinto has freed up $98 million for a new solar PV unit and a lithium-ion battery energy storage system to help power its entire Pilbara mining network. The 12 MWh battery storage at Tom Price will provide spinning reserve to help stabilize the local grid.

Japan and Korea eager to build ‘hydrogen economy’

Feb 17 – Liquid hydrogen is meant to become the basis of Japan’s and South Korea’s new energy economy. Several public-private partnerships accelerate efforts to produce hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and use hydrogen as a clean energy source, gradually replacing oil and natural gas.

MHPS teams up with KBR to expand sales

Feb 14 – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has agreed to cooperate with U.S. firm KBR to expand sales of SDA pitch-fired power plants. The fuel for these plants is insoluble matter (SDA pitch), which remains when light oil fractions are recovered from heavy oil fractions using the solvent de-asphalting (SDA) process. The petroleum industry can now utilize this residual material for power generation.

Turboden provides CHP to First Nations

Feb 13 – Brescia-based Turboden, part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), has agreed to an 8,000 kW combined heat and power (CHP) plant, running on woody biomass to indigenous First Nations in Saskatchewan, Canada. The Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power gen system will uses sawmill residual woody biomass as fuel and help electrify some 5,000 homes.

Himoinsa gensets win award

Feb 12 – Himoinsa has received an Innovation Trail Live award for its rental gas generator sets. Three gensets – HRGO 30, HRGO 40 and HRGO 70 – were distinguished due to their long running time, low operational costs, as well as reduced emissions and sound level.

Ofgem lowers default price cap

Feb 11 – UK energy regulator Ofgem has announced it will lower the default price cap by £17 to £1,162 for the six months effective from 1 April 2020. Analysts say Ofgem’s decision comes amid a “warm winter” and “healthy LNG supply,” which pushed down wholesales gas prices to a 13-month low. Looking ahead, there might well be “another slight reduction to the cap later this year.”

Opel plans Gigafactory for battery cells

Feb 10 – German carmaker Opel, part of French PSA, plans to manufacture enough battery cells for half a million e-cars annually in a new factory in the western German town of Kaiserslautern from 2024. Two billion Euros would be invested in the factory, designed to house three units with 8 GWhs each, which would be the largest in Europe so far.

GE adds 235 MW in Ivory Coast

Feb 7 – GE is carrying out a gas turbine extension at the Azito power plant in the Ivory Coast. Under the contract, GE will supply its GT13E2 gas turbine in combined-cycle configuration, one HRSG, one steam turbine and associated equipment. The upgrade will boost the plant’s capacity by 30 percent, or 253 MW to reach a total of 710 MW.

FID on Azito extension

Feb 6 – Independent power producer Globeleq and IPS have reached financial close on expanding the Azito gas-fired power plant in Ivory Coast. The plant currently has 460 MW installed capacity and provides 25 percent of the country’s power supply. Once the lasted upgrade will be completed, Azito’s capacity will be boosted to 713 MW.

Batteries vs. hydro power

Feb 5 – More than 28 GW of lithium batteries deployed for stationary storage applications by the year 2028, according Navigant Research. Pumped hydro power plants, however, dominate the market as they account for 96% of installed energy storage worldwide.