Energy Storage

Controversy is mounting in Australia over whether the lifetime of AGL Energy’s 2,051-MW Liddell power plant should be extended – as proposed by the Turnbull government – even though the operator wants to shut down the “costly and unreliable” unit in 2022. A new report finds the government’s stipulated lifetime extension would cost around $3.6 billion over five years, compared to $2.2 billion for a combination of wind power, demand side-response and energy efficiency measures.

ITM Power has secured funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to deploy large scale Power-to-Gas energy storage on the Northern Gas Networks’ (NGN) distribution grid. In a subsequent study, both partners will examine the potential and cost-effectiveness of such storage solutions, starting from the 50 MWh range.

GEMS software from Greensmith Energy, a Wärtsilä company, will be utilized to help realise 2.4 MW/2.4MWh energy storage system test bed that CW Group is realising on behalf of Singapore's Energy Market Authority (EMA) and SP Group, a leading energy utility in Asia Pacific. The facility is due to be fully operational during the latter part of 2018.

Seeking to complement fossil power plants, South Australia has invited bids from investors in energy storage and bioenergy to share a $150 million fund. The tender is part of the government's wider $550 million energy plan that will see the world’s largest battery being built, and additional flexible gas power capacity. Applications for the $150 million fund close on September 28.

Aug 14 – GE Renewable Energy has booked a turnkey contract with Star Pumped Storage Ltd for the 344 MW Kokhav Hayarden hydro pumped storage station, the second to be installed in Israel. GE Renewable Energy is responsible for the design, manufacture, supply and installation of all electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical equipment as well as complete balance of plant for the two 172 MW pumped-storage units. The project will be executed by a consortium led by Chinese EPC SinoHydro.

June 29 – Following this week’s working meeting in Belgrade between Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Dusan Bajatovic, director general of Srbijagas, the Gazprom head has signed a roadmap with Serbia’s Minister of Mining and Energy, Aleksandar Antic on how to jointly expand the Serbian gas transmission system. The expansion of the Banatski Dvor underground gas storage facility in Northern Serbia was also discussed. A memorandum, signed early June 2017, stipulates that the UGS facility's capacities will be increased from 450 to 750 million cubic meters. Serbia is a transit country for Russian pipeline gas exports which first reach Turkey and then get transported onwards to Austria and Western Europe.

Though Centrica CEO Ian Conn told the BBC this morning that closure of its 3.4 Bcm Rough gas storage facility will not destabilize Britain’s gas supply – given the possibility to import LNG and source gas from Norway and the EU through several interconnectors – some analysts see it differently. Commenting on Centrica’s move, Wood Mackenzie analyst Graham Freedman said the decision not reopen Rough storage comes as “no surprise” and makes “good commercial sense” for Centrica. However, he believes the implications on the UK's future security of gas supply “will no doubt lead to a UK Government review of its position, particularly in light of current Brexit negotiations.”

June 9 – Car manufacturer Renault-Nissan is finalising plans to build a 100-MW power storage plant in Europe, based on disused and recycled car batteries. Similar to rival Tesla’s electricity storage arm, the latest move of Renault-Nissan indicates the company’s aspiration to cultivate a second-hand battery market. The projected power storage facility, if built, would have enough capacity to meet the electricity needs of 120,000 homes. The carmaker confirmed the news, stating “We're working with The Mobility House on several programs including a major energy storage project that is currently still in the study phase.”

Utility-scale capacity provided by various energy storage technologies and renewables beyond wind, solar and hydro, collectively accounted for 4% of the electricity generating capacity in the United States in 2016. Latest EIA figures shows a small, but growing trend towards demand-side response – vital tools for balancing electricity markets the United States, and elsewhere.  

Italy’s state-owned utility Enel has bought the Tynemouth stand-alone battery storage project in the North East of England from Element Power for approximately 20 million euros. The construction-ready project is an “investment opportunity,” according to Enel said, as it is supported by a 4-year Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) contract to provide grid balancing services.

The Finish technology group Wärtsilä has introducing a hybrid and standalone energy storage to the market, combined with engine-based power generation. The company stated is sees “high market potential” in areas with remote microgrids and for solar PV integration.

May 11 – Advanced energy storage systems market is estimated to be worth $15.96 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period, according to MarketsandMarket estimates. Technologies included pumped hydro energy storage as well as battery power storage. The dominant manufacturers – such as Toshiba, ABB, Siemens, Voith, Alstom and Dominion Energy – are trying to penetrate developing economies to grab a bigger market share.

Worldwide markets for battery energy storage systems (BESS) are expected to grow exponentially due to its grid, generation, and consumer-side applications – reaching more than 14 GW by 2020, up from about 1.5 GW in 2015, according to GlobalData analysis. The United States is leading the BESS market followed by Japan, Germany and China.

April 18 – The ‘1414 Degrees prototype’ of the patented thermal energy storage system (TESS) has been built in the Tonsley Park Innovation Precinct in Adelaide. Inside the unit elements heat silica in receptacles to its melting point, 1414 degrees Celsius, where it has “a large energy capacity associated with every unit of silica,” he says. The elements require energy to get sufficiently heated up and supply spikes from renewable energy sources would fit the bill.

US gas storage capacity increased slightly in 2016, according to the US Energy Information Agency, after a couple of years of marginal falls (see chart).

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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.