Australian mining giant Fortescue Metals Group is fast-tracking a US$450 million power generation project at its Pilbara iron ore mine. Featuring 150 MW of gas-fired capacity, 150 MW of solar photovoltaic and a large-scale battery storage, the hybrid project will help reduce the mine’s energy costs.
In the face of Britain's renewable energy build-out to become carbon-neutral by 2050, more batteries will be deployed to balance the grid. But scaling up batteries to do all the load-shifting is still uneconomical with current technologies, so flexible gas generators remain vital to back-up the grid, says London-based flexible power provider Statera.
The hydrogen fuel sector managed to break the 1 GW global shipment barrier in 2019 when a total of 1.1 GW were transported, mostly to Asian markets. Fuel cell vehicles and energy storage remain the largest demand driver, according to E4tech research, with Japan’s Toyota and South Korea’s Hyundai accounting for two thirds of total shipped capacity.
Lowest levelized cost of energy (LCOE), a widely-used metric to compare the profitability of power sources, is “not the right approach” for hybrid units. “A paradigm shift is underway,” the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) says, arguing hybrid plants with energy storage need to be rewarded for flexibility and grid ancillary services.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), a municipal utility, has confirmed plans to convert its Intermountain Power Plant in Utah from coal to natural gas, and then to 100 percent hydrogen. Right from the start of the new 840 MW gas power unit in 2025, hydrogen will fuel 30% of its operation and the ratio will be increased to full hydrogen fuelling by 2045.
The United Kingdom and Germany are ready to expand their cooperation in offshore wind and take the lead on hydrogen production in Europe. Together, the two countries are home to 85% of Europe’s installed offshore wind farms whose excess low-cost electricity output can be used to produce hydrogen, which can then be stored in the natural gas grid.
Tesla’s decision to build Gigafactory-4 – its first European factory for battery cells and e-vehicles – in German is expected to bring an “enormous boost” for the country's lagging shift to electric mobility. Economy minister Peter Altmaier called the surprise announcement by Tesla CEO Elon Musk a "milestone" for the production of battery cells production and the rollout of e-mobility.
Sun-soaked Saudi Arabia is taking steps to use excess renewable energy to evolve into a global supplier of commercially competitive hydrogen. Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), developer of a large hydrogen gas turbine, says Saudi Giga-scale projects like NEOM can help the kingdom achieve its transformation to a ‘Hydrogen Society’.
Nearly all utility-scale battery systems installed in the United States over the past five years use lithium-ion technology, according to government findings. Provided all battery system additions will be completed as planned, and no capacity is retired, the total battery storage capacity in the U.S. could exceed 2,500 MW by 2023.