Energy Storage

Risk of gas supply shortages this winter keeps growing in the U.S. because inventories are at record lows due to a late start of the gas storage refill season and high withdrawals. According to EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) gas inventories will reach 3,263 billion cubic feet (Bcf) at the end of October – the lowest end-of-October level since 2005.

UK Power Reserve (UKPR) has awarded the second phase of its battery-based energy storage contracts to Fluence, a Siemens and AES company. The 120-MW project is underpinned by capacity contracts secured in 2016, and UKPR is now tapping Fluence technology to enhance grid flexibility with all new storage projects scheduled to be in operation by winter 2020.

ENGIE and Holyoke Gas & Electric have started operations at a 3 MW/6 MWh power storage system connected to a solar farm near Boston. Massachusetts has been one of the first U.S. states to enact an energy storage target, which helped renewables plus energy storage installations to spread and become increasingly cost competitive with fossil-fuelled power plants.

Wärtsilä has delivered and commissioned its first engine plus storage hybrid installation worldwide for Sinergy Kft, a subsidiary of ALTEO Group, in Budapest. Sinergy’s existing engine-driven plant is now optimized with a power storage solution that also incorporates GEMS, an energy management system from Greensmith Energy.

MIT researchers have developed a novel battery, based on sodium/nickel chloride electrodes and a new type of metal mesh membrane. Costs of this battery type are significantly lower due to its stronger and more flexible material that can better withstand the rigors of daily use for industrial-scale energy storage.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has developed an interactive dashboard showing daily and weekly updates on Lower 48 and regional storage activity, as well as market fundamentals that affect underground gas storage activity. Updates are published online and in the Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR).

The U.S. Department of Energy’s blue-sky research program APRA-E has handed out $28 million in R&D grants for ten projects aimed at delivering long-duration energy storage systems. The grants are funded by ARPA-E's “Duration Addition to electricitY Storage (DAYS),” targeting the development of applications with 10 to approximately 100 hours of continuous operation.

The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has delivered its first engine plus storage hybrid installation worldwide to Sinergy, part of ALTEO Group, in the Hungarian capital Budapest. The upgraded plant, running on three W34SG engines, was commissioned earlier this week and has a total output of 6 MW / 4 MWh.

Deployment of large-scale battery storage is rapidly increasing across the United States, but capital costs of energy storage systems vary greatly, dependent on the technology uses. Energy-oriented batteries systems, used for peakload shaving, are designed for longer durations and consequently have higher average costs per kilowatt and lower costs per kilowatthour. This type is mostly used in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) area.

Energy SRS and partners have secured £727,000 in funding from Innovate UK to develop phase-2 of a gravitational energy storage. Dubbed GENSSIS, this prototype bundles the knowledge of industry and academia to deliver a gravitational storage prototype, ready for testing in 2019.

India, home to the world's sixth largest solar PV capacity, needs backup to mitigate intermittency risks. Over $200 billion would have to be spent on energy storage, considering the IEA's Technology Roadmap ‘breakthrough scenario’ where capital costs for storage are assumed to be $1 200/kW and $30/kWh in 2050.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PG&E), together with Texas-based Vistra Energy, have sought regulatory approval to install a 300-MW/1,200-MWh battery storage facility at Moss Landing in California. The project is part of a wider PG&E venture, comprising four projects with a total capacity of 567.5 MW – all due for commissioning before end-2020.

Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, has highlighted the country’s potential to become a world leader in energy storage, including renewable hydrogen. Large-scale deployment of energy storage, however, requires a smarter electricity grid and mechanisms to empower consumers to manage their costs.

Speed and scale is of the essence for new energy storage to solve intermittency issues of a renewables role-out. However, there's little political will for subsidies and critics doubt that markets alone can sufficiently reward both flexibility and storage. If not, EU member states will likely fall short of their 40% emission reduction target for 2030.

Finland’s technology group Wärtsilä has launched an integrated solar PV and energy storage to deliver a true “renewables as baseload” solution that increases resilience and efficiencies. The adaptable Wärtsilä Hybrid Solar can be supported by a power producer’s existing grid infrastructure.

Page 8 of 16

News in Brief

Mitsubishi produces methanol in Trinidad

Jan 20 – Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company has launched commercial operations of a methanol and dimethyl ether plant in Trinidad and Tobago. The plant has an annual production capacity of one million tons of methanol and 20,000 tons of dimethyl ether, which can be used as an alternative fuel for cars and power generation.

First 8-cylinder B36:45 engine delivered

Jan 19 – Rolls-Royce has delivered the first 8-cylinder variant of its Bergen B36:45 gas engine to a tomato producer in Belgium. The medium speed genset is planned for delivery this spring and will drive an onsite power plant that generates 4700 kW electricity and 5520 kW heat. The new engine offers a 20% increase in power per cylinder and will replace an existing Bergen 12-cylinder B35:40 genset.

Moody’s upgrades Enel to Baa1

Jan 18 – Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Enel’s long-term rating to Baa1, with a stable outlook. The upgrade reflects Enel’s progress in reducing its risk profile, analysts said, pointing at the Italian utilities ongoing investment in networks and renewables, growing geographical diversification and focus on centralised financing.

GE sues Siemens Energy

Jan 15 – General Electric has sued its German rival Siemens Energy over the alleged use of stolen trade secrets to win gas turbine contracts worth several billion dollars. GE told the US district court in Virginia that Siemens received the secret information from a Dominion Energy employee.

Orbital Energy launches Eclipse

Jan 14 – Nasdaq-listed Orbital Energy Group has launched a new subsidiary, Eclipse Foundation, a drilled shaft construction company. The new company specialises in providing services for power transmission and substations, communication tower and a disaster restoration through emergency power.

S’Korean coal and LNG imports slide

Jan 13 – South Korea’s imports of thermal coal and LNG have fallen 12% and 11%, respectively, as the government cracks down on fossil fuel usage to curb air pollution. Customs data shows that coal imports amounted to 10.2 million tons in December, down 1.4 million tons from the same month last year but up from November’s imports of 9.5 million tons.

SMC builds 1.7 GW CCGT in Batangas

Jan 13 – Excellent Energy Resources, part of SMC Global Power Holdings, is building a 1,700 MW combined cycle gas power plant in Barangay Dela Paz and Ilijan in Batangas City with investments of about 67.863 billion Philippine Pesos ($1.41bn). The project is estimated to be completed in 36 to 40 months.

UK’s National Grid issues supply warning

Jan 12 – Natural gas prices in the UK surged as National Grid issued warnings on supply deficit as LNG cargoes are being diverted to North Asia. Prices at the British NBP gas trading hub soared to the equivalent of $8.95 per MMBtu, while the JKM price for North Asian spot LNG cargoes for February 2021 was last at $19.700 per MMBt.

Fortistar invests in hydrogen

Jan 11 – Fortistar, a privately-held fund, has joined an equity investment of up to $157 million in hydrogen producer BayoTech. Cottonwood Technology Funds and the New Mexico State Investment Council also participated in the latest financing round. BayoTech’s systems produce local hydrogen close to the application, serving end users in the industrial gas and petrochemical segment as well as those who use of hydrogen to power fuel cells.

Ashtead appoints new CFO

Jan 5 - Ashtead Technology has appointed a chief financial officer (CFO) and five managers for newly created roles across its international team. The appointments are meant to cement the company’s position in the offshore energy market, including offshore wind and decommissioning of thermal power plants

NFE secures LNG for Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua

Dec 23 – New Fortress Energy (NFE) has agreed to purchase Henry-Hub-indexed LNG for its integrated gas and power businesses in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Nicaragua. The New York-based project developer said it now has covered 80% of its expected needs throughout Latin America, thus reducing its need for spot purchases and its exposure to changes in the market price for LNG.

China and Korea mandate coal-to-gas switch

Dec 22 – The Chinese government has launched a coal-to-gas boiler switching programme, targeting 7.1 million homes, which makes gas demand more weather-sensitive this winter. Similarly, South Korea mandated the closure of 15 coal-fired plants since the start of December in an effort to reduce air pollution. Analysts expect this will accelerate the drawdown of LNG terminal inventories going into Q1-2021.

GE repowers oil field in Brazil

Dec 21 – GE Power Conversion has been awarded a contract by Sulzer Pumps UK to supply motors for four water injection pumps of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel. The 8,000 kW, two pole motors will run at 3,600 rpm with a limitation of the starting current at 300%, enabling the oil and gas field operator to optimise the generator which supplies electricity on the FPSO.

VELO distributes Sapphire Metal 3D-Printers in the US

Dec 18 – California-based VELO3D has formed a distribution partnership with GoEngineer for Flow pre-print software, Sapphire metal AM printer, and Assure quality assurance and controls. GoEngineer will be VELO’s only distributor in the United States.

Indian electric boats to achieve zero emissions

Dec 17 – Cochin Shipyard, India’s largest shipbuilder, has asked Siemens Energy to equip India’s first fleet of 23 boats with electric propulsion drive train, integrated with batteries and vessel automation. Combining the electric propulsion drive trains, energy storage, and automation systems is expected to significantly reduce fuel consumption.

Terna BESS auction six times oversubscribed

Dec 16 – A pilot auction, held by the Italian TSO Terna, for battery energy storage systems (BESS) to provide reserve grid services has been six times oversubscribed. The auction was held with an expectation that around 230 MW would be on offer, but Terna received 1,327 MW worth of bids and eventually awarded contracts for 249.9 MW.

New £150m link to UK’s Easington terminal

Dec 15 – National Grid has completed a gas pipeline under the River Humber, build in 18 months and at a cost £150 million, as new link to the import terminal at Easington. Following commissioning, the pipeline is now operational and can now transport between 70 to 100 million cubic metres - around a quarter of Britain's gas needs.