Energy Storage

Controversy is mounting in Australia over whether the lifetime of AGL Energy’s 2,051-MW Liddell power plant should be extended – as proposed by the Turnbull government – even though the operator wants to shut down the “costly and unreliable” unit in 2022. A new report finds the government’s stipulated lifetime extension would cost around $3.6 billion over five years, compared to $2.2 billion for a combination of wind power, demand side-response and energy efficiency measures.

ITM Power has secured funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to deploy large scale Power-to-Gas energy storage on the Northern Gas Networks’ (NGN) distribution grid. In a subsequent study, both partners will examine the potential and cost-effectiveness of such storage solutions, starting from the 50 MWh range.

GEMS software from Greensmith Energy, a Wärtsilä company, will be utilized to help realise 2.4 MW/2.4MWh energy storage system test bed that CW Group is realising on behalf of Singapore's Energy Market Authority (EMA) and SP Group, a leading energy utility in Asia Pacific. The facility is due to be fully operational during the latter part of 2018.

Seeking to complement fossil power plants, South Australia has invited bids from investors in energy storage and bioenergy to share a $150 million fund. The tender is part of the government's wider $550 million energy plan that will see the world’s largest battery being built, and additional flexible gas power capacity. Applications for the $150 million fund close on September 28.

Aug 14 – GE Renewable Energy has booked a turnkey contract with Star Pumped Storage Ltd for the 344 MW Kokhav Hayarden hydro pumped storage station, the second to be installed in Israel. GE Renewable Energy is responsible for the design, manufacture, supply and installation of all electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical equipment as well as complete balance of plant for the two 172 MW pumped-storage units. The project will be executed by a consortium led by Chinese EPC SinoHydro.

June 29 – Following this week’s working meeting in Belgrade between Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Dusan Bajatovic, director general of Srbijagas, the Gazprom head has signed a roadmap with Serbia’s Minister of Mining and Energy, Aleksandar Antic on how to jointly expand the Serbian gas transmission system. The expansion of the Banatski Dvor underground gas storage facility in Northern Serbia was also discussed. A memorandum, signed early June 2017, stipulates that the UGS facility's capacities will be increased from 450 to 750 million cubic meters. Serbia is a transit country for Russian pipeline gas exports which first reach Turkey and then get transported onwards to Austria and Western Europe.

Though Centrica CEO Ian Conn told the BBC this morning that closure of its 3.4 Bcm Rough gas storage facility will not destabilize Britain’s gas supply – given the possibility to import LNG and source gas from Norway and the EU through several interconnectors – some analysts see it differently. Commenting on Centrica’s move, Wood Mackenzie analyst Graham Freedman said the decision not reopen Rough storage comes as “no surprise” and makes “good commercial sense” for Centrica. However, he believes the implications on the UK's future security of gas supply “will no doubt lead to a UK Government review of its position, particularly in light of current Brexit negotiations.”

June 9 – Car manufacturer Renault-Nissan is finalising plans to build a 100-MW power storage plant in Europe, based on disused and recycled car batteries. Similar to rival Tesla’s electricity storage arm, the latest move of Renault-Nissan indicates the company’s aspiration to cultivate a second-hand battery market. The projected power storage facility, if built, would have enough capacity to meet the electricity needs of 120,000 homes. The carmaker confirmed the news, stating “We're working with The Mobility House on several programs including a major energy storage project that is currently still in the study phase.”

Utility-scale capacity provided by various energy storage technologies and renewables beyond wind, solar and hydro, collectively accounted for 4% of the electricity generating capacity in the United States in 2016. Latest EIA figures shows a small, but growing trend towards demand-side response – vital tools for balancing electricity markets the United States, and elsewhere.  

Italy’s state-owned utility Enel has bought the Tynemouth stand-alone battery storage project in the North East of England from Element Power for approximately 20 million euros. The construction-ready project is an “investment opportunity,” according to Enel said, as it is supported by a 4-year Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) contract to provide grid balancing services.

The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has introducing a hybrid and standalone energy storage to the market, combined with engine-based power generation. The company stated is sees “high market potential” in areas with remote microgrids and for solar PV integration.

May 11 – Advanced energy storage systems market is estimated to be worth $15.96 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period, according to MarketsandMarket estimates. Technologies included pumped hydro energy storage as well as battery power storage. The dominant manufacturers – such as Toshiba, ABB, Siemens, Voith, Alstom and Dominion Energy – are trying to penetrate developing economies to grab a bigger market share.

Worldwide markets for battery energy storage systems (BESS) are expected to grow exponentially due to its grid, generation, and consumer-side applications – reaching more than 14 GW by 2020, up from about 1.5 GW in 2015, according to GlobalData analysis. The United States is leading the BESS market followed by Japan, Germany and China.

April 18 – The ‘1414 Degrees prototype’ of the patented thermal energy storage system (TESS) has been built in the Tonsley Park Innovation Precinct in Adelaide. Inside the unit elements heat silica in receptacles to its melting point, 1414 degrees Celsius, where it has “a large energy capacity associated with every unit of silica,” he says. The elements require energy to get sufficiently heated up and supply spikes from renewable energy sources would fit the bill.

US gas storage capacity increased slightly in 2016, according to the US Energy Information Agency, after a couple of years of marginal falls (see chart).

Page 9 of 15

News in Brief

Tokyo Gas snaps up US shale assets

July 31 – The Japanese utility Tokyo Gas has agreed to raise its stake in the U.S. firm Castleton Resources to 70 percent from 46 percent to increase its foothold in shale gas production in Texas and Louisiana.  Castleton Resources holds acreage in the Haynesville and Cotton Valley formations. The transaction is scheduled to be completed on August 14.

Electrical PE market to grow 1.7% through 2027

July 30 – The market for electrical protective equipment (PE) in North America, valued at $2,787 million in 2019, is forecast to rise at an annual rate of 1.7 percent to reach $3,163 million by 2027. Main growth drivers, according to ResearchandMarkets, are ongoing power transmission projects in the context with U.S. LNG export infrastructure expansions.

GE wins turbine order from Italian paper mill

July 29 – DS Smith Paper Italia has ordered a GE LM6000PF aero-derivative gas turbine for its paper mill in Lucca, Italy. The paper mill is currently powered by two aero-derivative turbines, and the additional unit will increase plant efficiency by 2%, while assuring steam supply for the industrial process.

Aceleron secures £2m green energy investment

July 28 – UK battery developer Aceleron today announced receipt of a £2 million equity investment from BGF and Mercia Asset Management. Aceleron is BGF’s second investment into a pure clean technology, signalling a shift in behaviour as more and more fund managers support a green recovery and the UK’s policy of net-zero carbon by 2050.

NRG buys Centrica’s North American arm for over $3.6bn

July 27 – U.S. utility NRG Energy has agreed with Centrica to acquire the latter’s North American subsidiary Direct Energy for $3.625 billion in an all-cash transaction. The transaction will diversify NRG’s earnings by adding more than three million retail customers and generate an estimated $740 million in adjusted EBITDA upon closing.

Siemens rolls out Comfy app

July 24 – Siemens is deploying its workplace experience solution Comfy across its global offices, including major utility customers. The aim is to equip approximately 600 company locations by October 2020.

BlackRock puts $18bn into sustainable investment

July 23 – Sustainability aspects are poised to bring about "fundamental change" to the way financial market actors operate, said Philipp Hildebrand, vice head of U.S. investment company BlackRock. About 18 billion dollars have been put into BlackRock's sustainable investment products since the beginning of 2020, he told the German business daily FAZ, arguing this would be "only the beginning" of a much larger shift in investment practices.

Vaca Muerta output slows

July 22 – Argentina has resorted to importing LNG for the Southern Hemisphere winter as domestic production at the vast Vaca Muerta shale formation fell in the first half of 2020. State-owned IEASA purchased 28 LNG cargoes at average prices of $2.87 million British thermal units (mmBtu).

GE to implement air quality control systems in India

July 21 – GE Power India Ltd (GEPIL) has won three contracts with a combined value of $112.57 million to supply air quality control systems. One semi-dry flue-gas desulfurization (FDG) unit will be installed for Hindalco Industries’ 1x150MW power plant at the Aditya aluminium smelter in Sambalpur. A wet FDGs system will be installed on behalf of NTPC for their Feroze Gandhi Unchahar thermal power plant (2x210MW plus 2x210 MW plus 1x210MW units) in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh.

Wärtsilä CEO sees “tough” H2 ahead

July 20 – Wärtsilä CEO Jaakko Eskola has told analysts he sees a “tough second half of the year ahead,” as the Finish manufacturer seeks to mitigate Covid-related business disruptions. In the segment of up to 500 MW, Wärtsilä’s market share fell from 9% to 8%, while orders for gas- and liquid- power plants increased by 1% to 17.8 GW during the twelve-month period ending in March 2020.

GE launches update to digital plant software

July 17 – GE Digital has unveiled updates to its digital power plant software: Proficy Plant Applications, Proficy Operations Hub, Proficy Historian, and Proficy CSense. The software accelerates digitization for industries and integrates related onsite power generation units.

Germany EEG fund slips into the red

July 16 – Germany's green energy fund, funded through the renewable energy surcharge (EEG levy), has slipped into the red for the first time since 2013, according to TSO data. The account, funded by end-customers through a surcharge on their power bill, fell from about €2 billion in available funds to €-1.16 billion in the first six months of 2020.

China seen overtake Japan as worlds’ largest LNG buyer by 2025

July 15 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects China to overtake Japan as the world’s biggest LNG buyer with imports of 128 Bcm a year by 2025, equivalent to around 174 million tonnes. However, IEA analysts cautioned this scenario is “highly dependent on China’s future policy direction” and whether that includes an ongoing push for coal-to-gas switching for industry, residential heating and power generation.

IEA stages Clean Energy Transitions Summit

July 14 – Ministers from dozens of countries, accounting for over 80% of the world economy, have participated in the first Clean Energy Transitions Summit organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said there “clearly is momentum” behind a sustainable recovery from the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participants agreed to reconvene in mid-2021.

Siemens Energy to exit coal

Jul 13 – Newly formed technology company Siemens Energy wants to phase-out any operations and technology to related to coal-fired power generation, CEO Joe Kaeser said, without giving a specific timeline. Siemens had been harshly criticised earlier this year for participating in the Adani coal mine project in Australia.

Statkraft, GE enhance GB grid stability

July 10 – Statkraft and GE Power Conversion are working together to stabilise Britain’s power grid. To that end, GE will manufacture and install two Rotating Stabiliser synchronous machines at Statkraft’s site in Keith, Moray. Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts (two at Keith and two at Lister Drive) by National Grid ESO (NGESO) earlier this year.

Siemens Energy spin-off approved

July 9 – A large majority of Siemens shareholders have voted to approve the spin-off of the company’s energy business. The spin-off was approved by 99.36 percent of capital stock represented at today’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting.