Energy 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.

Slovenian energy solution provider NGEN has invested over 15 million Euros to install the largest Tesla Powerpack storage system in Europe. The 12.6 MW/22.2 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) is used for grid balancing and will soon be accompanied by a second, similar-sized unit.

In California, energy storage is becoming a viable alternative to peakload gas power units. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is developing utility-scale storage with a combined capacity of 567.5 MW and 4-hour duration, aiming to replace three gas-fired power plants.

German engineering giant Siemens is partnering with Hydrogen Renewables Australia (HRA) to develop a 5,000 MW wind and solar farm in Western Australia. Siemens electrolysers will convert the renewable power into low-cost renewable hydrogen for export to Asian markets.

On-site power provider Cummins and researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego are looking into how to reuse and repurpose electric vehicle (EV) batteries for energy storage. The focus lies on lithium-ion batteries, which are currently recycled at a rate of less than 5% in the U.S. market.

Electrification of the transport sector will not only propel up power demand but also spur a surge in global copper consumption. Electric vehicles (EVs) alone are forecast to consume more than 3.7 million tons of copper every year through 2030, and the anticipated 20 million EV charging points are seen propelling up copper demand by 250% over 2019-levels.

U.S. technology innovator Tesla has launched a huge battery, called Megapack, claiming it would be more cost-effective and faster to install than any fossil-fuelled power plant. The pilot utility-scale Megapack battery will be installed on behalf of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for the Moss Landing project in California.

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News in Brief

AI predicts peak in power use

Nov 20 – ABB and Verdigris Technologies have developed machine-learning algorithms to predict unplanned peaks in electricity consumption and help avoid them. The Energy Forecasting app will enable users to reduce their electricity bills by reducing peak demand charges.

India’s first UHVDC link commissioned

Nov 19 – GE Grid Solutions has commissioned Pole-3 - the ultra high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line in India, capable to transmit 4,500 MW of electricity. Once completed the Champa-Kurukshetra UHVDC project will be expanded to transmit 6,000 MW of electricity at 800 kV, serving customers in the areas of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh.

COP25 urged to step up climate efforts

Nov 18 – The COP25 UN climate conference in Madrid is urged to enshrine greater commitments from the world's industrialised nations to curb their greenhouse gas emissions. “Europe will have to play a key role in this regard,“ environment minister Svenja Schulze said, adding Germany's recently announced climate package marks a "restart" in the country's climate policy.

Wärtsilä launches ‘Expertise Centre’ in Singapore

Nov 15 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has chosen Singapore as the location for its latest Expertise Centre (EC) that provides operational support and dynamic maintenance planning, both for marine and energy business customers. All of Wärtsilä’s Expertise Centres combined currently monitor some 900 installations with more than 2,000 engines around the world.

U.S. storage injection hits record high

Nov 14 – Near-record volumes of natural gas have been placed into storage in the United States in the current injection season. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the amount of gas held in storage in 2019 surged from a relatively low value of 1,155 billion cubic feet (Bcf) at the beginning of April to 3,724 Bcf at the end of October.

SaskPower proceeds with Moose Jaw project

Nov 13 – Canadian utility SaskPower has taken a significant step towards realizing a 350 MW gas power plant at Moose Jaw. The project was first proposed in 2017, but in the Canadian federal government June last year introduced new regulations for gas generation coming online after January 1, 2021, which stalled the plans. Having completed its regulatory review, Sask Power was now granted permission to proceed from the municipality of Moose Jaw. Major Fraser Tolmie said “this $700-million investment into the city of Moose Jaw, will ensure we have base-load power in the province of Saskatchewan and to maintain our power independence.”

Sembcorp powers up first BESS unit in the UK

Nov 12 – Sembcorp Energy UK, part of Singapore-based Sempcorp Group, has started to operate the first 60 MW unit of its battery energy storage system (BESS) fleet, supplied by GE. Combined, the three storage units in Leicestershire and Cheshire will bring Sembcorp Energy UK’s total energy portfolio to 973 MW.

Global gas glut may clear in 2021

Nov 11 – Economics of exporting American liquefied natural gas to Europe no longer add up. With Henry Hub spot prices around $2.7/MMBtu, moving LNG cargoes from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Europe is “not workable,” BP analysts said, indicating that production shut-ins could help clear the massive supply overhang towards the end of 2021.

Gazprom reassures Germany of Ukraine gas transits

Nov 8 – Alexey Miller, chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, has been trying to reassure the German government commissioner Georg Graf Waldersee that Russia was ready to signing a new transit contract with Naftogaz if both companies mutually waive claims. Before gas flows can proceed, however, Ukraine will have to create an independent gas transmission operator by January 1, 2020.

GE makes gains in wind power

Nov 7 – GE Power is gradually turning away from its loss-making fossil power segment to focus on the fast-growing renewable business. This week, GE struck a deal for its new Haliade-X turbines to be used at Dogger Bank Wind Farms. The three 1.2 GW Dogger Bank projects, situated offshore the UK’s Yorkshire coast, are expected to trigger approximately £9 billion of capital investment between 2020 and 2026.

PetroVietnam eyes LNG-to-Power project

Nov 6 – PetroVietnam has signed an agreement with B.Grimm Power Public Company (BGRIM) to jointly study the development of an integrated LNG import and power generation project. The aim is to build a 3,000 MW gas-fuelled power plant and an adjacent LNG import terminal. The location of the project has not been disclosed.

ABB launches ‘Smart City’

Nov 5 – Electrification specialists of the Swiss manufacturer ABB have designed an interactive ‘Smart City’ that contains smart buildings, e-mobility, energy management and data centers. The use of smart technologies and digitalization are encouraged by the United Nations as a way to help decarbonize cities around the world.

Gazprom, BASF cooperate on sulfur separation

Nov 4 – The Russian major Gazprom and the German chemical company BASF have agreed to devise a comprehensive solution for separation of sulfur from natural gas. The aim is to  enhance eco-efficiency of the Astrakhan gas processing plant and improve operational efficiency of BASF’s amine gas treatment units at the Orenburg gas-fired power plant.

Germany’s emission fall ‘markedly’

Nov 1 – Germany is headed for second consecutive year of substantial reductions in carbon emissions, amid a sharp drop in coal-burn in the power sector and an overall decline in energy use in 2019. If this trend continues, the country could get much closer to its 2020 climate target than widely anticipated.

Exmar to refinance Tango FLNG

Oct 31 – Exmar, the Belgian shipping company, is trying to refinance the Tango FLNG vessel, moored offshore Argentina on behalf of YPF. The aim is to generate around $60 million in additional capital, Exmar said, suggesting a deal will likely be struck in the first months of 2020.

Petronet doubles net profit

Oct 30 – Indian LNG importer Petronet has nearly doubled its net profits in the third quarter although revenues fell by 13%. Net profits came in at 1,089 crore rupees ($153.6m), an increase of 90% on the same period in 2018 as the company benefited from India’s lower corporate tax rates. Third-quarter revenues, in contrast, fell to 9,449 crore rupees ($1.33 billion).

Wildfires spread around LA

Oct 29 – Thousands of Los Angeles residents have been evacuated as wildfires spread fast around the metropolis and power outages brought life close to a standstill. The risk of fires caused by overland transmission lines prompted Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to prolong precautionary blackouts that could last up to three days.