Energy Storage

ABB is to provide an “innovative” microgrid, combining battery and flywheel based storage technologies, designed to test scalability and improve power stability for around 300,000 people in Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

Italy's industry ministry has ruled strategic gas storage volumes in the country for storage year 2017-2018 should remain unchanged year on year at 4.62 billion cubic meters, or around 48,846 GWh.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has successfully completed a technology demonstration project to explore the performance of battery storage systems participating in California's electricity markets.

One of the key factors that will determine the amount of gas used in power generation over future years is the cost and effectiveness of energy storage. The cheaper the storage, the more intermittent renewables will be able to be introduced to grids, and the less gas that will be required; especially in higher latitudes where solar is not available part of the year.

France's Engie has signed an agreement with Ukraine's gas transmission system operator UkrTransGaz aimed at further developing the company's presence in Ukraine's wholesale gas market.

Russia's Gazprom is ready to face the heightened natural gas demand of the winter period, starting the season with some 72.1 billion cubic meters of gas reserves in storage, according to the head of Gazprom, Alexei Miller.

Responding to California’s Aliso Canyon gas supply constraints, the key power provider Southern California Edison (SCE) has decided to install a battery energy storage system from Current, powered by GE’s LM6000 Hybrid EGT package.

Oct 5 – Working with the utility Hamburg Energie the Technical University Hamburg Harburg (TUHH), Siemens is developing a thermal storage solution to be paired with wind energy, which it hopes “will set a future standard in efficiency.” Excess wind energy is used to heat rock-fill, protected by an insulated cover – when stored electricity is needed a steam turbine converts the heat energy back to electricity. Tests in spring 2017 will evaluate the energy conversion of a 36 MWh test bed based on a container holding approximately 2,000 cubic meters of rock-fill. 

The world’s largest lithium-ion battery power storage – a 20 MW/80 MWh Tesla Powerpack – will be put in place at SoCal Edison’s Mira Loma substation in an effort to better harness renewable energy sources. California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) had mandated an accelerated procurement of power storage to counteract energy shortages following the Aliso Canyon gas leak.

Aug 30 – EDF Energy Renewables, the UK renewables arm of the French utility, will install a 49 MW battery power storage at its West Burton CCGT in Nottinghamshire. The final decision was made after EDF won a contract as part of a 200-MW Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) tender by the UK's National Grid.
A total of eight projects secured contracts in the EFR tender; other winners include Vattenfall, Low Carbon, RES, Element Power, E.on UK and Belectric.

Aug 25 – Southern California Edison has selected a subsidiary of AltaGas to build a 20 MW storage project with a discharge capacity of 80 MWh east of Los Angeles. AltaGas Pomona Energy Storage will build, own and operate the project, which is estimated to cost up to $45 million and is meant to be operational by December. State regulators urge utilities to procure storage to avoid power outages.

Aug 25 – More than 20 days after Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat attended the ‘Sail-away Ceremony’, the gas storage ship destined to support power stations in Malta is still docked in Singapore. No fixed date has been set for its departure – so it is unclear whether will reach Malta as planned in mid-September.

Affordable storage is seen as the missing link between intermittent renewable power and reliable energy supply. McKinsey research anticipates costs could fall to $200 per kWh in 2020 – half of today’s price, which would help transform the energy mix of many nations. By 2025, costs of power storage are expected to fall to $160 kWh or less, making it affordable to use for utilities and grid operators.

By 2030, Levelized Cost of Storage (LCOS) below €100/MWh will be achievable through various innovative technologies. At present, conventional battery power storage has LCOS of around €200-400/MWh.

Toshiba Corp has struck a deal with Tepco and the Japanese city of Yokohama to launch a trial for the control of multiple, grouped storage batteries attached to Virtual Power Plants (VPPs). The pilot projects test the waters as Toshiba seeks to build up a battery service business.

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News in Brief

Central Hudson links solar farms to VPP

July 9 – Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp has established its distributed generation program within the broader context of New York State’s energy plan. Together with Sensus and their Remote Telemetry Module (RTM-III), the Central Hudson will monitor decentralized solar PV backed up by flexible gas gensets.

Siemens and GREEN Solar turn German town CO2-free

July 8 – GREEN Solar and Siemens Energy are jointly developing a concept for making Herzogenrath CO2-free. The plan is to provide an energy-efficient and economical combination of solar power plants, wind turbines, batteries, CHP and combined cycle power plants, as well as heat and hydrogen storage. The hybrid system will be built on the grounds of Nivelsteiner Sandwerke and will be large enough to cover the city’s entire energy demand with zero CO2 emissions by 2030.

Denmark paves the way for Nord Stream 2

July 7– Denmark on late Monday gave the Nord Stream 2 consortium permission to utilize pipe-laying vessels with anchors in Danish waters, paving the way for the Gazprom-led consortium to complete the interconnector. Construction of the 1,230-kilometre pipeline is nearly complete, except for a final stretch of about 120-kilometers in Danish waters. The project was halted in December when the Swiss-Dutch pipe-laying company Allseas suspended works over threats of U.S. sanctions.

EPRI tests early warning system

July 6– The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is conducting trial tests with multiple utilities across the United States of an early warning system. It can detect an off-gassing event as a precursor to thermal runaway up to 30 minutes prior to a cascading failure. This gives plant operators time to mitigate the problem or shut down the system.

KKR buys stake in First Gen

July 3 – Valorous Asia Holdings, owned by KKR investment funds, has bought a 11.9% stake in First Gen through a voluntary tender offer. First Gen, one of the Philippines’ largest independent power producers with 3,492 MW installed capacity, is owned by First Philippine Holdings which is controlled by the Lopez family. KKR’s acquisition of the First Gen stake is worth nearly $192.3 million.

Gazprom’s ‘BBB’ rating affirmed

July 2 – S&P Global Ratings, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have affirmed Gazprom's long-term credit ratings as part of their annual reviews. The ‘BBB’ ratings for Gazprom from S&P and Fitch are in line with the sovereign credit rating of the Russian Federation, while Moody's ‘Baa2’ rating is a notch higher.

MHIEC to refurbish WtE plant in Kushiro

July 1 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Environmental & Chemical Engineering Co (MHIEC) has received an order from the Kushiro Wide-Area Federation to repair and improve the core equipment at the local Waste-to-Energy plant in Takayama. The WtE plant has a capacity of 240 tonnes per day (tpd). Renovation will increase the energy efficiency of the fluidized bed type gasification and ash melting furnace facility, reducing emissions by around 15% annually. Works are due completed in September 2023.

Nigeria: Only two of six power projects on target

June 30 – Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises has disclosed that only two out of six privatized power plants were delivered on target. Only Transcorp Power Ltd and Geregu Power Ltd out of the six privatised electricity generation companies (GENCOs) were said to have met their performance targets since taking over.

German investors prefer solar over wind

June 29 – Energy infrastructure investors are keen to build solar power projects in Germany, but shun wind parks. In the latest solar power auction, investors offered to build almost 450 MW of capacity – more than four times the 96 MW of volume on offer– with the average successful bid at 5.27 cents per kilowatt-hour (ct/kWh). The wind auction, in contrast, was undersubscribed: The German network agency  (BNetzA) tendered around 826 MW, but successful bids only totalled 464 MW, at an average price of 6.14 ct/KWh.

MAN ventures into synthetic fuels

June 26 – MAN Energy Solutions has entered the hydrogen economy with the recent pro rata acquisition of H-TEC SYSTEMS, an electrolysis tech firm. The German OEM also committed itself to upgrading its gas turbines to run on 100% hydrogen by 2030.

Varegro starts using Cummins gas genset

June 25 – Belgian-based horticultural company Varegro, has started to use a Cummins HSK78G gas generator to power its greenhouses in Oostrozebeke, West Flanders. Varegro said it selected the Cummins HSK78G genset to produce combined heat and power (CHP) on its premises at a competitive cost for use in energy-intensive greenhouse facilities.

GE names Deloitte as independent auditor

June 24 – GE’s audit committee has selected Deloitte as the company’s independent auditor for the 2021 fiscal year, replacing KPMG. The selection of Deloitte concludes GE’s latest audit tender process.

Northern German states push for hydrogen pilot cluster

June 23 – Northern German states are pushing for greater hydrogen use with a pilot project cluster. Some 12 large demonstration plants for the production and use of green hydrogen are meant to be realised in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The aim is to demonstrate how 75% of CO2 emissions can be saved in the region by 2035.

Wärtsilä to design and equip battery-powered ferries

June 22– The Finish engine maker Wärtsilä has been awarded a contract to design and equip two new zero-emissions ferries on behalf of the Norwegian operator Boreal Sjö. For each ferry Wärtsilä will supply the thruster motors, batteries, onboard and shore-based battery charging equipment, the back-up generators, and various electrical systems. The equipment is scheduled for delivery to the yard in early 2021 for the ships to start commercial operations in autumn 2021.

Subsidy cut slashes Chinese wind turbine margins

June 19 – China’s wind turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) could have their gross profit margins halved due to subsidy cuts, Wood Mackenzie forecasts. Commissioned onshore wind power capacity is expected to drop by more than 16% to 19 gigawatts (GW) from 2020 to 2021 as government subsidies were terminated. This could also lead to a 27% drop in turbine prices over the next five years, slashing OEMs’ gross profit margins by half.

PowerPHASE converts gas peakers into storage engine

June 18 – U.S. emergency power provider PowerPHASE has developed an upgrade to convert 7F gas turbine-based peaking plants (350 MW each) to a so-called Storage Engine (400 MW). The unit would be able to store 3500 MWh daily and discharge 4800 MWh daily. CEO Bob Kraft claims utility customers could dispatch the Storage Engine, despite its lower heat rate (4000), ahead of higher heat rate options (9000 for gas peakers) in a competitive market like ERCOT in Texas.

Cummins names Davis head of New Power unit

June 17 – Cummins has appointed Amy Davis as Vice President and President of the company’s New Power Segment, effective July 1. The new unit includes Cummins’ electrified powertrains, battery design and assembly, battery management, fuel cell and hydrogen generation.