Energy Storage

Flexibility of power network hinges on storing excess electricity and demand response to alleviate the impact of intermittent generation. California and Germany used subsidies as a trigger to advance power storage; yet to further commercialise these technologies the industry needs market-based regulation that remunerates flexibility and puts in place a level playing field between different assets.

Prices for energy storage systems are anticipated to fall by around 10% annually, but “even by 2020 this may still not be sufficient to allow the UK market to grow above 15,000 units per annum, Delta-ee researcher Julian Jansen cautioned. Lessons could be learned from the German or the US model.

Affordable, efficient power storage is a key enabler for the transition to low-carbon energy systems. Looking to 2030, it is particularly striking that battery technology becomes especially more competitive, with sodium (NaS), lead acid and lithium-ion technologies leading the way.

Apr 28 – Energy arbitrage opportunities, renewable energy installations, and growing electric vehicles market are expected to drive the energy storage systems market to grow 4.4% annually. It is estimated to expand from $12.89 billion in 2015 to $15.96 Billion by 2020, according to MarketsandMarkets analysis.

Apr 15 – E.ON has started to sell its Aura electricity storage system in Germany. With a storage capacity of 4.4 kilowatt-hours, E.ON Aura can meet the entire electricity needs of a three- to four-person family during the evening and night hours. The system can increase a home’s energy self-sufficiency rate from about one third to around 70%.

Affordable, efficient power storage has been singled out at the World Economic Forum as the Holy Grail in the transition to a low-carbon energy system. With the many new technologies in the pipeline, storage costs of electricity are estimated to fall by as much as 70% over the next 15 years.

Dec 18 - Technology and power firms Samsung and E.ON are to collaborate to develop new means of profitable energy storage for grid stabilization applications.

The new partnership will initially focus on four key markets of Germany, the UK, the Czech Republic and the U.S.  

Once battery storage is economically viable in the US in 3 to 5 years, gas-fired peaking power plants are at risk of losing out. Costs of battery plunged and already now high-volume customers can already purchase battery packs for energy storage for just over $250/kWh - a quarter of 2012 prices.

U.S. energy firm General Electric (GE) has announced a deal with back-up power provider Coachella Energy Storage Partners (CESP) to provide a 30 MW battery system, which will be used in conjunction with adjacent gas power capacity.

Aug 18 – RWE has officially launched its power-to-gas energy storage system in Ibbenbüren, North Rhine Westphalia. Test results of the PEM electrolyser system, delivered by ITM Power, measured an overall energy efficiency of 86%.

To test its smart battery energy storage system (BESS) in real conditions, the Alstom-Saft consortium has installed and commissioned it at the EDF's Concept Grid Lab. The 1 MW per 30 minutes BESS will help with frequency regulation in mainland France to stabilise the grid.

Many are questioning if the century-old model of utilities selling kilowatt-hours still makes sense. At today's opening of PowerGen-Europe, Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the IEA underlined that "the future lies in flexible backup capacity, decentralised generation and storage technologies."

Apr 30 – Tucson Electric Power has issued a request for proposals (RFP), seeking a project partner to build and own a 10 MW energy storage facility under a 10-year agreement. "We're looking for cost-effective, proven energy storage systems that will help us integrate renewable energy into our electric grid," TEP senior director Carmine Tilghman said, adding the company plans to slash its coal power capacity by 30% and step up the use of solar and gas generation.

Apr 30 - Australian power provider AusNet Services is implementing an ABB hybrid power storage, diesel generation and grid stabilisation system to enhance the management of peak electricity demand in the state of Victoria. At full power, the 1 MW pilot system will automatically provide additional power for the 22 kV distribution network during periods of peak demand.
AusNet Services provides gas and electricity to 1.3 million homes and businesses in Victoria – home to 5.8 million people.

Apr 17 – In California's central valley, Con Edison Development (CED) will install an 8 MWh battery energy storage, able to provide 2 MW of electricity over a four hour period. The GE storage solution will be utilising Mark VIe-based plant control, Brilliance MW Inverters, and packaged lithium ion batteries.

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News in Brief

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.

GE powers USS Zumwalt

June 16 – The US Navy has taken delivery of the USS Zumwalt, its first full-electric power and propulsion ship, equipped by GE’s Power Conversion. The ship features a high-voltage system, propulsion drive trains with multi-phase VDM25000 power converters and advanced induction motors. Kevin Byrne, head of GE’s North America marine segment said “the full-electric power and propulsion ship has the flexibility to direct energy where it is needed on the platform.”

New England power prices down 40%

June 15 – Spot electricity prices in New England (NE) has fallen since winter 2019/20 when it stood at an average $28/MWh, down 40% from an average $47/MWh in the previous winter. Low natural gas prices, warmer-than-normal temperatures, lower loads, and reduced needs to run expensive peakload generators were the cause for the substantial drop in NE’s winter electricity prices, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) finds.

Calpine closes $1.1bn in financing for Geysers Power

June 12 – Calpine Corp has closed $1.1 billion Climate Bonds Certified financing for its subsidiary, Geysers Power, the largest complex of geothermal power plants in the U.S. Geyers will use the proceeds to repay some debt it owes to Calpine and to fund ongoing operations and maintenance.