Energy Storage

Global market for battery energy storage is seen surge at a dazzling rate of 46.7 percent to reach $111.34 million by 2026. Data Bridge market research sees growing demand for grid-connected lithium-ion batteries to back up intermittent electricity supply from wind and solar power sources.

Australian mining giant Fortescue Metals Group is fast-tracking a US$450 million power generation project at its Pilbara iron ore mine. Featuring 150 MW of gas-fired capacity, 150 MW of solar photovoltaic and a large-scale battery storage, the hybrid project will help reduce the mine’s energy costs.

Power-to-X through electrolysis can swiftly utilize large overcapacities of wind and solar power, helping to balance the grid. Producing ammonia – a hydrogen liquid – is more attractive than hydrogen gas, the World Energy Council (WEC) says, given its energy density is higher by a factor 300.

In the face of Britain's renewable energy build-out to become carbon-neutral by 2050, more batteries will be deployed to balance the grid. But scaling up batteries to do all the load-shifting is still uneconomical with current technologies, so flexible gas generators remain vital to back-up the grid, says London-based flexible power provider Statera.

The hydrogen fuel sector managed to break the 1 GW global shipment barrier in 2019 when a total of 1.1 GW were transported, mostly to Asian markets. Fuel cell vehicles and energy storage remain the largest demand driver, according to E4tech research, with Japan’s Toyota and South Korea’s Hyundai accounting for two thirds of total shipped capacity.

Lowest levelized cost of energy (LCOE), a widely-used metric to compare the profitability of power sources, is “not the right approach” when it comes to hybrid units, according to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “A paradigm shift is underway,” NREL said, stressing hybrid plants that include energy storage need to be rewarded for providing flexibility and grid ancillary services.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), a municipal utility, has confirmed plans to convert its Intermountain Power Plant in Utah from coal to natural gas, and then to 100 percent hydrogen. Right from the start of the new 840 MW gas power unit in 2025, hydrogen will fuel 30% of its operation and the ratio will be increased to full hydrogen fuelling by 2045.

The United Kingdom and Germany are ready to expand their cooperation in offshore wind and take the lead on hydrogen production in Europe. Together, the two countries are home to 85% of Europe’s installed offshore wind farms whose excess low-cost electricity output can be used to produce hydrogen, which can then be stored in the natural gas grid.

Setting the pace for modular onsite power, Aggreko will install a hybrid power unit at Resolute Mining’s operation fot the Syama gold project in Mali. The expandable 70 MW hybrid plant will reduce the mine’s electricity costs by 40% by combining thermal and solar generation with battery 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.

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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.