Energy Storage

Five Singaporean and two Japanese companies have joint forces to utilize hydrogen as a green energy source in Singapore. Sembcorb, Chiyoda and Mitsubishi, among others, committed to develop novel technologies related to the import, transportation and storage of hydrogen.

Travel bans, imposed in the United States to contain the coronavirus, have halted commissioning works on energy storage facilities, delayed grid connections and threatens to undermine project economics. Wood Mackenzie expects 31% less behind-the-meter energy storage units will be installed in the U.S. this year.

Shutdowns are lifted in China and South Korea, allowing battery supply chains to ramp back up while rivals in Europe and North America are in lockdown. Electric vehicle sales stayed strong through February, according to Wood Mackenzie, and China’s labour force is returning, expected to be at 70% in March and over 90% in April.

Nearly all of Hawaii’s utility-scale energy storage is installed adjacent to onshore wind turbines or solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Pairing battery storage with wind and solar helps mitigate some operational challenges of non-dispatchable renewables, as Hawaii aspires to boost its green energy share from 30% at present to 100% by 2045.

Global battery manufacturing capacity is seen surge as energy storage is increasingly installed in conjunction with fast-start gas engine gensets and renewables. By 2021, battery making is forecast to more than double to 278 Gigawatt-hours (GWh), up from 103 GWh at present.

Demand from Asia has pushed up shipments of hydrogen fuel cells beyond 1.1 GW and E4tech sees 2020 characterized by "rapid commercialization and infrastructure build out." Fuel cell vehicles and energy storage remain the largest demand drivers, with Japan’s Toyota and South Korea’s Hyundai accounting for two thirds of total shipped capacity.

The French power grid operator RTE has chosen Nidec to deploy an electricity storage system to optimize the management of electricity flows on the transmission grid in Vingeanne, near Dijon. The pilot project, dubbed Ringo, aims to prevent grid congestion at times of peak demand.

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Tesla have been given regulatory approval to build a 182.5 MW/730 MWh clean energy storage system that could eventually be boosted to 1.1 GWh at Moss Landing, California. Construction of the facility, based on 268 Tesla Megapack lithium-ion batteries, is due for completion by the end of 2020.

Falling technology costs, policy incentives and clean energy targets are poised to propel up energy storage deployment from currently about 4 GW annually to more than 15 GW in 2024, Wood Mackenzie forecasts. Manufacturers, developers and investors are consolidating as they compete for their slice of this burgeoning industry.

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.

In the face of Britain's renewable energy build-out to become carbon-neutral by 2050, more batteries will be deployed to balance the grid. But scaling up batteries to do all the load-shifting is still uneconomical with current technologies, so flexible gas generators remain vital to back-up the grid, says London-based flexible power provider Statera.

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.

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News in Brief

Zhonghua’s profits halve

April 1 – Hong Kong-listed Zhonghua Gas Holdings has recorded a staggering 46.7% fall in profit, citing a lower margin for LNG supplies and reduced subsidies, although full-year revenue rose by 7.3%. In December, Zhonghua partnered with Shanghai Shenergy to supply LNG in the Yangtze River Delta region, and also has strong business relationships with Tractebel Engineering and Tianjin Jinre Heat-Supply Group.

Endesa donates $28m to fight coronavirus

March 31 – Endesa has created a 25 million euros ($27.8 million) fund to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in Spain. The Spanish utility, subsidiary of Enel, said the fund will be designated for purchases of protective equipment for health-care workers.

 

MAN develops liquid methane terminal in Swedish port

March 30 – OxGas has commissioned MAN Energy Solutions to act as ‘owners engineer’ to develop and build a liquefied methane-based fuels terminal in the Swedish Port of Oxelösund. The terminal will feed both LNG and green methane derived from bio gas to SSAB ’s local steel production, and to re-distribute it via train and trailers to other parts of Sweden for use in the steel industry and decentralized power generation.

American ISOs to delay grid investments

March 27 – North America’s independent system operators (ISO) are considering delaying investments in grid upgrades and enhancement as electricity demand weakens due to industry shutdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic. PJM Interconnection, the largest U.S. bulk power market which spans 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states, revised its daily forecast of about 100,000 MW of load but actual demand came in at 95,500 MW.

Wärtsilä starts combustion trials using ammonia

March 26 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has initiated combustion trials using ammonia in an effort to reduce emissions. Based on initial results, the tests will be continued on both dual-fuel and spark-ignited gas engines, followed by field tests in collaboration with ship owners from 2022, and potentially also with energy customers.

Xodus sees growth in cable services

March 25 – Xodus Group has stepped up services related to subsea power cables over the last twelve months. The number of new consulting assignments grew by more than 50%, resulting in more than 70 active work streams that are handled by more 30 permanent staff.

Electricity “more indispensible than ever”

March 24 – Disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis lay bare how much modern societies rely on electricity, according to the International Energy Agency (IAE). Millions of people are mandated to stay home, causing a surge in teleworking, e-commerce and video streaming which pushes up domestic electricity use.

U.S. frackers cut Capex

March 23 – Sharp cuts in capital spending among Appalachian gas producers are now being replicated in other U.S. basis, with Energy Aspects anticipating the deepest impact on production and earnings to take place starting from the second half of 2020. So far, E&P companies just hedged 52% of this year’s expected production even though some Appalachian producers are seen “lock in some pure gas volumes at prices above the curve.”

EV makers face bankrupcy

March 20 – Electric vehicles (EVs) remain particularly exposed to the corona effect of supply-side constraints and demand erosion. Gigafactory facilities are likely to be delayed and fledging EV manufacturers could face bankruptcy, Wood Mackenzie warns. On the flip side, declines in EV sector demand may be gains for the stationary energy storage segment.

Manufacturing rebounds in Asia

March 19 – Asian-dominant supply chains for solar and energy storage are gradually rebounding after contractions in February. Moving forward, Wood Mackenzie expects near-term development activity and local logistics in leading European and North American markets will outweigh lingering supply issues.

Italy’s gas demand plunges

March 18 – Corona-struck Italy has seen demand for natural gas plunge 8% from the previous week, with similar declines likely in other EU countries as national governments impose lockdowns to contain the virus. Industrial demand is “particularly volatile,” while gas generators will bear the brunt of demand loss, Wood Mackenzie says, as a carbon price decline is bolstering thermal coal.

Nexif raises funds for Rayong CHP

March 17 – Nexif Energy, a joint venture between Singapore-based Nexif and Denham Capital, has raised project financing for the Rayong gas-fired cogeneration project in Thailand. The 92 MW plant is being developed project with Ratch Group, based on 25-year power purchase agreement with Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

ADB provides $10m loan for Afghan IPP

March 16 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide $10 million in debt financing for a gas-fired power unit in Mazari Sharif with a capacity of nearly 60 MW. Phase-1 of the Independent Power Project (IPP) will get another $10 million loan from the Leading Asia's Private Sector Infrastructure Fund (LEAP).

IEA models 50% Carbon-Free Generation

March 13 – Analysts at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) have drawn up the 50% Carbon-Free Generation case - assuming a stark shift in state-level policies. In this event, the U.S. would have 19% more nuclear power generation, 10% more wind power and 17% more solar PV contribution than in its Annual Energy Outlook 2020 (AEO2020) reference case.

E-charging market to top $15bn by 2030

March 12 – By 2030, the U.S. market for energy-optimisation in support of charging electric-vehicles could be worth $15 billion per year, McKinsey finds. The consultancy expects high demand for home-charging appliances as residential power tariffs are comparatively cheap and most charging can happen overnight when off-peak electricity prices are lower.

Oversupply builds up

March 10 – Energy Aspects’ end-March forecast has added on another 100+ billion cubic feet of natural gas supply while demand remains subdued. In the U.S., the seasonal decline in heating degree days nearly halved the natural gas withdrawal rate. Gas-burn in the power sector and residential/commercial demand are forecast to fall by 1.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) and 4.0 bcf/d, respectively.

Small-scale LNG cuts cost for power plants

March 10 – Decentralized gas power plants in remote locations can source cheaper fuel from small-scale LNG regas terminals than from trucking the super-chilled gas across long distances. “Trucking LNG further inland would entail additional costs as well as logistical challenges,” IEA analysts noted. For example, a 100 MW baseload power plant would require, on average, around 20 daily deliveries from tanker trucks.