Energy Storage

Opinions differ widely when it comes to energy storage. Dominion Energy in its new long-term plan for Virginia and North Carolina notes that the price of battery storage showed it wasn’t ready for full consideration. Instead, the utility is looking to intensify the deployment of new gas-fired peaking power plants.

Dry natural gas production in the United States is forecast to reach a new record of 80.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018, up from 73.6 Bcf/d in the previous year. According to the EIA’s latest Short-term Energy Outlook (STEO), the rise in US natural gas production will help replenish storage levels from current lows and support increasing natural gas exports, both via pipeline to Mexico and in the form of LNG.

Technological challenges are “taking root on the grid,” the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) said with reference to an array of battery storage projects and the first offshore wind project off Long Island. Looking ahead, NYISO expects both baseload and peakload power demand to fall by about 0.14% through to 2028, caused by a rising use of distributed power sources and  energy efficiency measures.

Elon Musk, the man at the helm of Tesla, has hinted at the company’s Q1 investors’ call that a giant 1 GWh energy storage project would be announced soon. Highlighting the impact of Tesla’s 129 MWh battery in South Australia, he said “its grid stabilization was much greater actually than even a gas turbine plant, which normally respond quite fast.”

Siemens is applying its electrification experience in the marine industry to offshore oil and gas, focussing on reducing emissions and risk in harsh operational environments. BlueVault, Siemens’ advanced lithium-ion battery-based solution, is suited for both all-electric and hybrid energy-storage applications.

ITM Power and Northern Gas Networks (NGN) have announced the outcome of a feasibility study, evaluating the potential of deployment and cost-effective operation of 50MW energy storage capacity within the boundaries of the NGN gas distribution network. Low Thornley in Gateshead is being recommended as the most suitable site for a power-to-gas demonstration plant in the size range 50-100MW.

April 17 – Enel X, the energy services division of Enel Group through its US subsidiary EnerNOC, has struck an agreement with Algoma Orchards of Ontario, Canada to deploy a 1 MWh lithium-ion battery storage system under a contract spanning 11 years. The storage system will be deployed in the first half of 2018.

GE Reservoir, a new power storage platform for AC or DC coupled systems, condenses 4MWh of energy capacity into a 20’ box. The system improves battery the lifecycle by about 15%, delivers 5% higher efficiency and reduces installation time and costs, GE said, adding it already has a 20 MW, 80 MWh pre-launch commitment.

About two-thirds of the utility-scale battery storage capacity installed in the United States is located in two electricity markets: the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and the PJM Interconnection which covers all or parts of 13 eastern states.

Greensmith Energy, a part of Wärtsilä group, has completed two grid-scale energy storage systems in Texas. Called ‘Texas Waves’, the two 9.9-MW short-duration storage facilities are fed by E.ON’s 249-MW Pyron and the 197-MW Inadale wind farms, both near Roscoe, delivering energy on short notice to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Arenko Group, a leading energy storage systems operator, has selected GE to deliver a 41-MW battery – one of the largest in the UK – to supply power on demand to approximately 100,000 homes. The grid-scale energy storage is designed to enhance efficiency of power transmission, balance renewable energy supply and help reduce customers’ energy bills. To be sited at a strategic location in the Midlands, the battery storage will commence operations in 2018.

Jan 17 – California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has ruled that Calpine needs to replace three gas-fired peaking power plants with energy storage facilities by 2019, “if feasible and at a reasonable cost to ratepayers.” Calpine had initially sought regulatory permission to maintain “must-run status” for the two 47-MW peaking plants in Feather River and Yuba and a 605-MW gas power plant in Metcalf.

Fluence, the new joint venture by Siemens and AES Energy Storage, has started operations at the start of this year, backed by a dedicated financing programme from Siemens Financial Services, and a substantial contract to supply a 400MWh battery system in California.

Jan 11 – Kilkenny County Council is processing an application Greener Ideas, a joint venture set up in 2009 between Bord Gáis Energy and Mountside Properties,for the construction of a 100MW battery energy storage system. Initially the project partners intended to develop an open-cycle gas turbines power plant on the site which is now listed for the battery project.

Commenting on the UK Government’s decision to de-rate battery storage ahead of the Capacity Market auction in February next year, UK Power Reserve (UKPR) said it “accepts and understands” this move while remaining confident about the future of battery storage in Britain. UKPR also underlined its goal to bring 120MW of battery storage online before 2020.

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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.