Energy Storage

Aug 25 – Southern California Edison has selected a subsidiary of AltaGas to build a 20 MW storage project with a discharge capacity of 80 MWh east of Los Angeles. AltaGas Pomona Energy Storage will build, own and operate the project, which is estimated to cost up to $45 million and is meant to be operational by December. State regulators urge utilities to procure storage to avoid power outages.

Aug 25 – More than 20 days after Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat attended the ‘Sail-away Ceremony’, the gas storage ship destined to support power stations in Malta is still docked in Singapore. No fixed date has been set for its departure – so it is unclear whether will reach Malta as planned in mid-September.

Affordable storage is seen as the missing link between intermittent renewable power and reliable energy supply. McKinsey research anticipates costs could fall to $200 per kWh in 2020 – half of today’s price, which would help transform the energy mix of many nations. By 2025, costs of power storage are expected to fall to $160 kWh or less, making it affordable to use for utilities and grid operators.

By 2030, Levelized Cost of Storage (LCOS) below €100/MWh will be achievable through various innovative technologies. At present, conventional battery power storage has LCOS of around €200-400/MWh.

Toshiba Corp has struck a deal with Tepco and the Japanese city of Yokohama to launch a trial for the control of multiple, grouped storage batteries attached to Virtual Power Plants (VPPs). The pilot projects test the waters as Toshiba seeks to build up a battery service business.

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Russia’s Gazprom have agreed to form a joint venture for gas-fired power generation and underground gas storage in China. The MoU was signed on Saturday after detailed discussions on Russian gas supplies via the western route – the so-called ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline is already under construction.

Flexibility of power network hinges on storing excess electricity and demand response to alleviate the impact of intermittent generation. California and Germany used subsidies as a trigger to advance power storage; yet to further commercialise these technologies the industry needs market-based regulation that remunerates flexibility and puts in place a level playing field between different assets.

Prices for energy storage systems are anticipated to fall by around 10% annually, but “even by 2020 this may still not be sufficient to allow the UK market to grow above 15,000 units per annum, Delta-ee researcher Julian Jansen cautioned. Lessons could be learned from the German or the US model.

Affordable, efficient power storage is a key enabler for the transition to low-carbon energy systems. Looking to 2030, it is particularly striking that battery technology becomes especially more competitive, with sodium (NaS), lead acid and lithium-ion technologies leading the way.

Apr 28 – Energy arbitrage opportunities, renewable energy installations, and growing electric vehicles market are expected to drive the energy storage systems market to grow 4.4% annually. It is estimated to expand from $12.89 billion in 2015 to $15.96 Billion by 2020, according to MarketsandMarkets analysis.

Apr 15 – E.ON has started to sell its Aura electricity storage system in Germany. With a storage capacity of 4.4 kilowatt-hours, E.ON Aura can meet the entire electricity needs of a three- to four-person family during the evening and night hours. The system can increase a home’s energy self-sufficiency rate from about one third to around 70%.

Affordable, efficient power storage has been singled out at the World Economic Forum as the Holy Grail in the transition to a low-carbon energy system. With the many new technologies in the pipeline, storage costs of electricity are estimated to fall by as much as 70% over the next 15 years.

Dec 18 - Technology and power firms Samsung and E.ON are to collaborate to develop new means of profitable energy storage for grid stabilization applications.

The new partnership will initially focus on four key markets of Germany, the UK, the Czech Republic and the U.S.  

Once battery storage is economically viable in the US in 3 to 5 years, gas-fired peaking power plants are at risk of losing out. Costs of battery plunged and already now high-volume customers can already purchase battery packs for energy storage for just over $250/kWh - a quarter of 2012 prices.

U.S. energy firm General Electric (GE) has announced a deal with back-up power provider Coachella Energy Storage Partners (CESP) to provide a 30 MW battery system, which will be used in conjunction with adjacent gas power capacity.

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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.