Energy Storage

Highview Power is about to switch on the world’s first cryogenic, or liquid air, energy storage at a decommissioned thermal power station in the north of England. Provided developers can secure a stable, contracted return, the 50 MW/250 MWh CRYOBattery will start operation by 2022.

New York Public Service Commission has given the green light for the Ravenswood project, a 316 MW battery-based energy storage that would replace ageing fossil-fuelled capacity in NYC. If built, the project will be the first major use of energy storage for peakload power in the U.S. Northeast.

Bracing against the risk of wild-fires, the Californian utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) shut off electricity to hundreds of thousands of customers in 34 California counties. The impact of these shutoffs could have been buffered by supplying electricity from energy storage facilities.

Slovenian energy solution provider NGEN has invested over 15 million Euros to install the largest Tesla Powerpack storage system in Europe. The 12.6 MW/22.2 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) is used for grid balancing and will soon be accompanied by a second, similar-sized unit.

In California, energy storage is becoming a viable alternative to peakload gas power units. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is developing utility-scale storage with a combined capacity of 567.5 MW and 4-hour duration, aiming to replace three gas-fired power plants.

German engineering giant Siemens is partnering with Hydrogen Renewables Australia (HRA) to develop a 5,000 MW wind and solar farm in Western Australia. Siemens electrolysers will convert the renewable power into low-cost renewable hydrogen for export to Asian markets.

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.

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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.