Energy Storage

On-site power provider Cummins and researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego are reusing and repurposing electric vehicle (EV) batteries for energy storage. The focus lies on lithium-ion batteries, which are currently recycled at a rate of less than 5% in the American market.

Electrification of the transport sector will not only propel up power demand but also spur a surge in global copper consumption. Electric vehicles (EVs) alone are forecast to consume more than 3.7 million tons of copper every year through 2030, and the anticipated 20 million EV charging points are seen propelling up copper demand by 250% over 2019-levels.

U.S. technology innovator Tesla has launched a huge battery, called Megapack, claiming it would be more cost-effective and faster to install than any fossil-fuelled power plant. The pilot utility-scale Megapack battery will be installed on behalf of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for the Moss Landing project in California.

Electrification of transport has propelled up demand for batteries, increasing the risk that battery metals – cobalt, lithium, and nickel – will face a supply crunch by the mid-2020s. If automotive manufacturers realize their pledge to “go completely electric” by 2050, demand for battery metals would skyrocket – as would the electricity-use of these vehicles.

British roads will see some 35 million electric vehicles by 2050 which can be used to store excess electricity and enhance the grid flexibility. According to National Grid, these electric vehicles could store roughly one fifth of GB’s solar generation for when this energy is needed.

LEAG, East Germany’s largest lignite miner and electric utility, has embarked on a 53 MW lithium-ion battery project which will be built next to the company’s Schwarze Pumpe lignite power plant. The so-called BigBattery project is supported with 25 million Euros by the state of Brandenburg.

Long duration, grid-scale energy storage will be a game changer, allowing for more renewables integration. The industry is developing new batteries that will extend the current 2 to 4 hours of energy storage to up to 8 hours. These batteries are expected to be ready for use by 2030.

‘Renewables as baseload’ is possible through Wärtsilä’s integrated solar photovolatic (PV) and battery-based energy storage. The adaptable Hybrid Solar solution allows utilities to monitor and optimize solar power output through the GEMS platform, developed by Greensmith Energy.

In a world first, Siemens Gamesa has commissioned an electric thermal energy storage in Hamburg-Altenwerder. The system can store 130 MWh of energy for up to one week – target is storage capacity in the Gigawatt-hour range. Storage helps decouple electricity generation and use, reducing the intermittency challenge of wind and solar power supply.

The 22MW/34.8MWh Cremzow battery energy storage in northeastern Germany has started full commercial operation, underpinned by Wärtsilä's GEMS control platform. Built by Enel, Enertrag and Leclanché at a cost of about 17 million Euros, the storage provides frequency regulation services for the regional power grid.

Australian energy company Santos is about to launch the world's first battery project at its Darwin LNG export plant. It will integrate batteries at the liquefaction facility's integrated gas power unit to ensure they run more effectively and with less emissions. The project is about to enter FEED phase and is due completed in mid-2020.

Falling technology prices make solar-plus-energy storage preferable over gas peaking power plants on a levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) basis. According to Wood Mackenzie, unsubsidized utility-scale LCOE for a 4-hour lithium-ion solar-plus-storage will outcompete gas peakers in all National Electricity Market (NEM) states of Australia in 2023.

Vietnam Electricity (EVN) has awarded GE’s energy consulting arm a contract to carry out a battery storage feasibility study, funded by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). State-owned EVN seeks to deploy energy storage throughout Vietnam to help meet an estimated 8% annual electricity load growth through 2035.

MAN Energy Solutions has received the Storage Highlight award for its new energy management solution, offering scalable and CO2-neutral energy storage and sector coupling. The basic principle of MAN ETES is the reversible conversion of electrical energy into thermal energy via storage in form of hot water and ice.

Norway’s state energy group Statkraft says its new 1GW virtual power plant (VPP) in Britain will help bridge the intermittency challenge and aims to double capacity by the summer. Connecting gas engine-driven power units, energy storage and renewables, the VPP can react to market demand within seconds.

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News in Brief

Zhonghua’s profits halve

April 1 – Hong Kong-listed Zhonghua Gas Holdings has recorded a staggering 46.7% fall in profit, citing a lower margin for LNG supplies and reduced subsidies, although full-year revenue rose by 7.3%. In December, Zhonghua partnered with Shanghai Shenergy to supply LNG in the Yangtze River Delta region, and also has strong business relationships with Tractebel Engineering and Tianjin Jinre Heat-Supply Group.

Endesa donates $28m to fight coronavirus

March 31 – Endesa has created a 25 million euros ($27.8 million) fund to help fight the coronavirus pandemic in Spain. The Spanish utility, subsidiary of Enel, said the fund will be designated for purchases of protective equipment for health-care workers.

 

MAN develops liquid methane terminal in Swedish port

March 30 – OxGas has commissioned MAN Energy Solutions to act as ‘owners engineer’ to develop and build a liquefied methane-based fuels terminal in the Swedish Port of Oxelösund. The terminal will feed both LNG and green methane derived from bio gas to SSAB ’s local steel production, and to re-distribute it via train and trailers to other parts of Sweden for use in the steel industry and decentralized power generation.

American ISOs to delay grid investments

March 27 – North America’s independent system operators (ISO) are considering delaying investments in grid upgrades and enhancement as electricity demand weakens due to industry shutdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic. PJM Interconnection, the largest U.S. bulk power market which spans 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states, revised its daily forecast of about 100,000 MW of load but actual demand came in at 95,500 MW.

Wärtsilä starts combustion trials using ammonia

March 26 – The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has initiated combustion trials using ammonia in an effort to reduce emissions. Based on initial results, the tests will be continued on both dual-fuel and spark-ignited gas engines, followed by field tests in collaboration with ship owners from 2022, and potentially also with energy customers.

Xodus sees growth in cable services

March 25 – Xodus Group has stepped up services related to subsea power cables over the last twelve months. The number of new consulting assignments grew by more than 50%, resulting in more than 70 active work streams that are handled by more 30 permanent staff.

Electricity “more indispensible than ever”

March 24 – Disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis lay bare how much modern societies rely on electricity, according to the International Energy Agency (IAE). Millions of people are mandated to stay home, causing a surge in teleworking, e-commerce and video streaming which pushes up domestic electricity use.

U.S. frackers cut Capex

March 23 – Sharp cuts in capital spending among Appalachian gas producers are now being replicated in other U.S. basis, with Energy Aspects anticipating the deepest impact on production and earnings to take place starting from the second half of 2020. So far, E&P companies just hedged 52% of this year’s expected production even though some Appalachian producers are seen “lock in some pure gas volumes at prices above the curve.”

EV makers face bankrupcy

March 20 – Electric vehicles (EVs) remain particularly exposed to the corona effect of supply-side constraints and demand erosion. Gigafactory facilities are likely to be delayed and fledging EV manufacturers could face bankruptcy, Wood Mackenzie warns. On the flip side, declines in EV sector demand may be gains for the stationary energy storage segment.

Manufacturing rebounds in Asia

March 19 – Asian-dominant supply chains for solar and energy storage are gradually rebounding after contractions in February. Moving forward, Wood Mackenzie expects near-term development activity and local logistics in leading European and North American markets will outweigh lingering supply issues.

Italy’s gas demand plunges

March 18 – Corona-struck Italy has seen demand for natural gas plunge 8% from the previous week, with similar declines likely in other EU countries as national governments impose lockdowns to contain the virus. Industrial demand is “particularly volatile,” while gas generators will bear the brunt of demand loss, Wood Mackenzie says, as a carbon price decline is bolstering thermal coal.

Nexif raises funds for Rayong CHP

March 17 – Nexif Energy, a joint venture between Singapore-based Nexif and Denham Capital, has raised project financing for the Rayong gas-fired cogeneration project in Thailand. The 92 MW plant is being developed project with Ratch Group, based on 25-year power purchase agreement with Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

ADB provides $10m loan for Afghan IPP

March 16 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide $10 million in debt financing for a gas-fired power unit in Mazari Sharif with a capacity of nearly 60 MW. Phase-1 of the Independent Power Project (IPP) will get another $10 million loan from the Leading Asia's Private Sector Infrastructure Fund (LEAP).

IEA models 50% Carbon-Free Generation

March 13 – Analysts at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) have drawn up the 50% Carbon-Free Generation case - assuming a stark shift in state-level policies. In this event, the U.S. would have 19% more nuclear power generation, 10% more wind power and 17% more solar PV contribution than in its Annual Energy Outlook 2020 (AEO2020) reference case.

E-charging market to top $15bn by 2030

March 12 – By 2030, the U.S. market for energy-optimisation in support of charging electric-vehicles could be worth $15 billion per year, McKinsey finds. The consultancy expects high demand for home-charging appliances as residential power tariffs are comparatively cheap and most charging can happen overnight when off-peak electricity prices are lower.

Oversupply builds up

March 10 – Energy Aspects’ end-March forecast has added on another 100+ billion cubic feet of natural gas supply while demand remains subdued. In the U.S., the seasonal decline in heating degree days nearly halved the natural gas withdrawal rate. Gas-burn in the power sector and residential/commercial demand are forecast to fall by 1.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) and 4.0 bcf/d, respectively.

Small-scale LNG cuts cost for power plants

March 10 – Decentralized gas power plants in remote locations can source cheaper fuel from small-scale LNG regas terminals than from trucking the super-chilled gas across long distances. “Trucking LNG further inland would entail additional costs as well as logistical challenges,” IEA analysts noted. For example, a 100 MW baseload power plant would require, on average, around 20 daily deliveries from tanker trucks.