Energy Storage

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.

Falling technology costs of solar power and heat have sparked a spree of new installations across India. The country now has the sixth largest installed capacity for solar thermal globally, according to IEA figures, however the rapid growth in solar PV deployment with its intermittent supply requires an adequate backup based on flexible gas generation and energy storage.

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.

Only large scale and intelligent energy storage can solve the issue of variable renewable electricity generation. There is little political will for a fresh wave of subsidies for storage – as there was for renewables – hence a carefully crafted market design is needed to incentivises flexibility and storage, says Patrick Clerens, Secretary General at the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE).

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.

June 14 – Enel Group’s first utility-scale, stand-alone battery energy storage - the 25 MW/12.5 MWh Tynemouth project - is about to start operations, supported by a four-year contract with British System Operator National Grid to provide grid-balancing services. Enel bought the storage venture from Element Power in May 2017, and invested about 20 million Euros in the overall project, including construction.

UK Power Reserve has partnered with Fluence to deliver the first phase of its 120 MW battery storage portfolio to the British power grid. Fluence agreed to provide three 20 MW storage systems at sites in the Midlands and North West using its Advancion technology. All three new sites are due operational during winter 2018/19.

The Swiss arm of MAN Diesel & Turbo and ABB Switzerland have started to jointly develop, produce and commercialize a three-way Electro-Thermal Energy Storage system (ETES). Based on so-called ‘charging cycle,’ the ETES uses surplus renewable-electricity to generate heat and cold for storage in insulated reservoirs. The stored heat and cold can then be converted back into electrical energy on demand.

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.

Technology of battery-based energy storage has matured and industry stakeholders in some regions of the United States have gained experience financing, procuring, and operating power storage installations. Lithium-ion chemistries batteries currently make up 80% of large-scale U.S. power storage, and most of the capacity is being installed in California followed by the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection (PJM).

Mexico, the largest buyer of US pipeline gas and LNG, is preparing a tender for strategic storage at depleted oil and gas reservoirs. Cenagas, the Mexican National Natural Gas Control Centre, has already selected four underground sites – Acuyo, Brasil, Jaf and Saramako – from a list of 15 proposed sites. Registering strong bidding interest from foreign players, the Mexican Energy Secretariat (Sener) will hold the tender in September 2018.

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News in Brief

Fuel switch could abate 1.2bn tons of CO2

July 19 – Some 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 could be abated by switching to gas using existing infrastructure, if prices and regulation are supportive. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this would be enough to bring global CO2 emissions back down to where they were in 2013.

IEA launches methane tracker

July 18 – A new ‘methane tracker’, launched by the International Energy Agency (IEA), provides up-to-date estimates of current oil and gas methane emissions by drawing on the best available data. Analysts stressed methane emissions could be reduced by nearly half at no net cost.

Canada’s CO2 tax also affects gas power

July 17 – Change in Canada’s carbon tax regulation for new power plants has changed to also affect cleaner-burning, gas combined-cycle power stations starting from 2021. The move could cause SaskPower to reconsider its planned upcoming Moose Jaw gas power station.

MAN, Daewoo, HSD partner on engine digitalization

July 16 – MAN Energy Solutions, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and HSD Engine (HSD) have signed a strategic agreement to cooperate in the field of marine engine systems digitization. The three companies also work together on auxiliary systems and data analysis, aiming to apply part of their know-how to power generation and related sectors.

Canada launches first utility-scale smart microgid

July 15 – The Ontario-based municipal utility North Bay Hydro Services is cooperating with the smart grid solutions firm S&C Electric to launch Canada’s first utility-scale microgrid system. Among some solar power, the 789KW microgrid system will be powered by two 265kW natural gas generators.

Macquarie funds Mexican power plant

July 12 – Macquarie Capital has chosen Credit Agricole, Natixis and SMBC to co-finance a $380 million combined-cycle gas power plant. The 560 MW plant is designated to be built in San Louis Potosi, a city in central Mexico.

B&V launches distributed energy group

July 11 – Black & Veatch has launched a dedicated distributed energy group to place its conventional power business in the context of the global energy transition. The distribute energy group will look into new fuel sources such as hydrogen and aspires to “re-power the more-than-century-old power industry.”

Funding secured for Kazah CHP project

July 10 – Kazinform Erg has committed to spend $500 million on a gas cogeneration station that will provide heat and electricity to the south of Kazakhstan. Over 87% of Kazakhstan’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels, and in 2018 the country produced 107,060 billion kWh of electricity, a 3.8% increase over the previous year and enough to cover total power use of 103,228 kWh.

Bitcoin mining uses much energy

July 9 – Estimates of bitcoin’s electricity consumption are wide-ranging, on the order of 20‑80 TWh annually. According to George Kamiya, digital energy analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA), bitcoin mining consumed around 45 TWh in 2018 although this has risen significantly this year. Through the first six months of 2019, bitcoin mining has already consumed an estimated 29 TWh.

Coal exit doesn’t impact Germany's supply security

July 8 – Electricity supply security in Germany is set to stay “very high” even as the country begins to phase out coal-fired power generation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) said in a monitoring report. “Energy supply is adequately ensured”, the ministry said, in all scenarios examined up to 2030. Thereafter, things are less clear but the German Coal Commission is adamant that its proposal to exit coal power by 2038 is feasible and won’t seriously impact reserve margins.

Hydrogen demo plant starts in Adelaide

July 5 – The Australian Gas Networks (AGN), part of the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG), has received A$4.9 million in government funding for an A$11.4m hydrogen electrolyser demonstration project at the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide. At the test site, AGN plans to blend 5% renewable hydrogen with natural gas for supply to customers using its existing gas distribution networks. The project is based on a Siemens proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser, running based on wind and solar power.

Wärtsilä forms biogas solution

July 4 – Wärtsilä Puregas Solutions, specialists in biogas upgrading technology, has merged with Wärtsilä’s biogas liquefaction team to create a one-stop-shop service for biofuel production. Having installed the world’s largest bioLNG facility in Skogn, Norway, Wärtsilä will deliver two more bio-LNG plants to customers in Scandinavia. The company’s Puregas CA process recovers more than 99.9% of the biomethane present in raw biogas.

PNM to close San Juan Generating Station

July 3 — New Mexico's largest energy holding, PNM Resources, has filed an application to the Public Regulation Commission to close the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station. For replacement power, PNM said the preferred option was a mix of gas power plants, solar and wind farms and new battery storage facilities. The utility strives to be ‘emissions-free’ by 2040.

ADB opens office in Singapore

July 2 — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has decided to open an office in Singapore. The lean office with twelve staff will focus on the expansion of its private sector operations, e.g. through Public-Private Partnerships. “We estimate that developing Asia will need $1.7 trillion per year in infrastructure investments until 2030 to maintain the region’s growth momentum,” commented Singapore’s finance minister Heng Swee Keat.

Testing starts at Haliade-X

July 1 – Technology testing has started at GE’s Haliade-X, the world’s biggest offshore wind turbine. The 12 MW nacelle and 107-metre long blade was shipped to the UK as part of an advanced technology testing program, focused on enhancing the platform before it enters into serial production in 2021.

Tata to build UK’s first CCUS plant

June 28 – Tata Chemicals has announced plans to build the UK’s first industrial-scale Carbon Capture, Usage and Demonstration plant at its Northwich industrial site. The CCUD unit will be built at an estimated cost of£16.7 million and is planned to start operation in 2021. It will make use of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants and turn it into sodium bicarbonate, which can then be sold to pharmaceutical industries.

Gazprom seeks to partner with Fortum

June 27 – The heads of Gazprom and Forum, Alexey Miller and Pekka Lundmark, have met in St. Petersburg to discuss a potential cooperation in the field of power generation. The Finish energy company Fortum owns 29.5% of the Russian power plant TGC-1 as well as a 49.99% share in the German utility Uniper. Through the talks, Gazprom could gain Fortum’s support to expand its firm long-term deliveries of Russian gas to Finland and Germany.