Risk of gas supply shortages this winter keeps growing in the U.S. because inventories are at record lows due to a late start of the gas storage refill season and high withdrawals. According to EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) gas inventories will reach 3,263 billion cubic feet (Bcf) at the end of October – the lowest end-of-October level since 2005.
UK Power Reserve (UKPR) has awarded the second phase of its battery-based energy storage contracts to Fluence, a Siemens and AES company. The 120-MW project is underpinned by capacity contracts secured in 2016, and UKPR is now tapping Fluence technology to enhance grid flexibility with all new storage projects scheduled to be in operation by winter 2020.
ENGIE and Holyoke Gas & Electric have started operations at a 3 MW/6 MWh power storage system connected to a solar farm near Boston. Massachusetts has been one of the first U.S. states to enact an energy storage target, which helped renewables plus energy storage installations to spread and become increasingly cost competitive with fossil-fuelled power plants.
Wärtsilä has delivered and commissioned its first engine plus storage hybrid installation worldwide for Sinergy Kft, a subsidiary of ALTEO Group, in Budapest. Sinergy’s existing engine-driven plant is now optimized with a power storage solution that also incorporates GEMS, an energy management system from Greensmith Energy.
Researchers at MIT have developed a new type of battery, based on electrodes made of sodium and nickel chloride and using a new type of metal mesh membrane. Costs of the battery are significantly lower than traditional lithium-ion counterparts, researchers say, pointing out the stronger and more flexible material can better withstand the rigors of use in industrial-scale energy storage systems.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has developed an interactive dashboard showing daily and weekly updates on Lower 48 and regional storage activity, as well as market fundamentals that affect underground gas storage activity. Updates are published online and in the Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR).
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.
India, home to the world's sixth largest solar PV capacity, needs backup to mitigate intermittency risks. Over $200 billion would have to be spent on energy storage, considering the IEA's Technology Roadmap ‘breakthrough scenario’ where capital costs for storage are assumed to be $1 200/kW and $30/kWh in 2050.
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 market observers say a carefully crafted market design is needed to incentivise both flexibility and storage.