Energy Storage

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.

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.

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News in Brief

ExxonMobil enhances turbine oils

Jan 17 – New high performance turbine oils, developed by ExxonMobil Lubricants, are  entering the market which are formulated to prevent build-up of lacquer, varnish and deposits. The oils are designed to protect against thermal and oxidative degradation, one of the root causes of deposit build-up.

Wärtsilä signs O&M deals in the Bahamas

Jan 16 – Following the commissioning of a Wärtsilä-built 132 MW power plant in Bahamas in December, the Finish manufacturer now signed a two-year operation and maintenance (O&M) accord with the plant owner, the Bahamas Power and Light Company (BPL). Wärtsilä will transition, train, and develop the owner’s Bahamian work force and provide key performance guarantees.

China, S'Korea curtail coal to tackle air pollution

Jan 15 – Beijing city government’s aggressive approach to tackling air pollution is working and South Korea’s spring coal-fired curtailments show some success in cutting seasonal emissions. According to Wood Mackenzie, this should benefit LNG, particularly while spot prices remain low.

Sri Lanka at brink of power shortages

Jan 14 – Sri Lanka could face power cuts by March, after plans for a large-scale coal power plant were been cancelled just prior to start of construction, and a tender for a 300 MW diesel plants ended up in court. On the demand side, pressure is building up as the region is moving into the dry season in February and March. Weather warnings say the island is likely to receive lower than average rainfall in the first quarter of 2020.

Caterpillar’s new genset comply with UK & German grid codes

Jan 13 – Caterpillar Inc. has launched a series of new generator sets that comply with the new G99 United Kingdom, VDE-AR-N 4110 German and Belgium C10/C11 grid codes. The following gensets – G3500H, CG132B, CG170, and CG260 (rated from 280-4,500kVA) – have been verified to be able to accommodate different reactive power modes, active power functions, and connection conditions for normal operation or reconnection after mains decoupling.

Transneft launches battery-based power supply for ILI tools

Jan 10 – Transneft Diascan, the largest Russian inspection service provider for pipelines, has developed and put into operation a power supply system for in-line inspection (ILI) tools based on rechargeable batteries. Flaw detectors performing inspections of trunk oil pipelines, gas pipelines and oil product pipelines can now use the energy from rechargeable batteries, which helps save time and reduces the cost of in-line inspection.

Pavilion starts trading LNG out of Madrid

Jan 9 – Singapore-based Pavilion Energy has completed the acquisition of all gas and LNG assets of the Spanish utility Iberdrola. From its new European headquarters in Madrid, Pavilion said has launched 2020 LNG trading operations with supplies focusing on Spain and the UK market.

Gazprom extends gas transits via Belarus until 2021

Jan 8 – Gazprom and Gazprom Transgaz Belarus have sealed additional agreements to extend the contracts for gas supplies to and gas transportation across Belarus until 2021. According to the newly-signed documents, the contractual supply and transit volumes in 2020 will remain at the level of 2019.

EastMed pipeline to take FID by 2022

Jan 7 – Greece, Cyprus and Israel have signed an agreement to build the 1,900-kilometre EastMed pipeline at an estimated cost of 6 billion Euros. The subsea pipeline, spanning over 1,900-kilometres would initially carry 10 Bcm of gas per annum from Israeli and Cypriot waters to Crete and then on to the Greek mainland and into the European gas network via Italy. A final investment decision (FID) is meant to be reached in 2022, given that the pipeline is scheduled for completion by 2025.

U.S. energy-related emissions drop over 2%

Jan 6 – Fewer emissions from coal consumption, combined with lower energy demand, have helped to significantly reduce the overall energy-related carbon emissions in the United States. According to government statistics, energy-related CO2 emissions fell 2.2 percent last year, and the downward trend is forecast to continue into 2020.

Brent crude prices surge

Jan 3 – North Sea Brent crude prices have risen to their highest level since September 2019, up nearly $3 per barrel because of Middle East tensions coupled with improved Chinese economic forecasts. Brent crude futures for March 2020 delivery were last seen trading at 69.21 per barrel the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). This bullish price sentiment will feed through to oil-indexed natural gas contracts and LNG deliveries, linked to the Japanese crude cocktail (JCC) basket price.

IEA says coal’s fate tied to Asia

Dec 23 – Rapid rise of wind and solar power in many parts of the world has pushed coal-fired power generation into steep decline in most developed countries. "But this is not the end of coal, since demand continues to expand in Asia," analysts at the International Energy Agency commented: "The region’s share of global coal power generation has climbed from just over 20 percent in 1990 to almost 80 percent in 2019, meaning coal’s fate is increasingly tied to decisions made in Asian capitals."

Drop in coal-burn makes Germany edge closer to climate targets

Dec 20 – In 2019, Germany managed to increase its greenhouse gas emissions for the second year in a row, mainly due to a 20 percent drop of coal use for power generation and a growing contribution from renewables. Energy savings and efficiency increases also helped. According to calculations by energy research group AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB), Germany’s primary energy consumption declined by 2.3 percent this year, overall energy use fell more than 2 percent, and energy-related CO2 emissions fell by as much as 7 percent.

Glencore buys Orsted’s lgas business unit

Dec 19 – UK-listed mining company Glencore has agreed to take over a loss-making natural gas business from Orsted, including long-term import capacity at the Gate regas terminal in Rotterdam and five other LNG purchase agreements. “The transaction entails a payment from Orsted to Glencore and will result in a loss that exceeds our current provision related to the LNG activities,” stated Copenhagen-based Orsted without disclosing the value of the transaction.

Carbon-intensive firms may shed over 40% in value

Dec 18 – Energy- and carbon-emissions intensive companies could lose up to 43% of their value if national governments enact more stringent policies to reduce air pollution and tackle climate change. Companies using green energy, in contrast, could gain up to 33% in value, research by the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) finds.

COP25 – a “lost opportunity”

Dec 17 – UN Secretary António Gutierrez has dismissed the outcome of the COP25 climate talks in Madrid as “disappointing” and “lost opportunity“. Some of the world’s largest emitters, including Australia, Brazil, China and Saudi Arabia had joined the U.S. in pushing for accounting loopholes to weaken commitments to reduce emissions in the transport and power generation sector.

Industry produces over 13% of Germany’s electricity

Dec 16 – Decentralized power generation at industrial sites keeps rising in Germany. According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), industry produced 55 Terawatt-hours (TWh) of in 2018, meaning local units of mining and manufacturing generated 12.6 percent of the country's gross electricity output, mostly from gas-fired power units. The use of gas as a fuel for industrial power plants has consequently risen from around 35 percent to almost 50 percent over the last ten years.