Energy Storage

The battery boom is coming as solar-plus-energy storage prices keep falling, making this hybrid technology preferable over gas peaking power plants on a levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) basis. According to Wood Mackenzie analysis, unsubsidized utility-scale LCOE for a 4-hour lithium-ion solar-plus-storage will be competitive against gas peakers in all the National Electricity Market (NEM) states of Australia in 2023.

Vietnam Electricity (EVN) has awarded GE’s energy consulting arm a contract to carry out a battery storage feasibility study, funded by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). State-owned EVN seeks to deploy energy storage throughout Vietnam to help meet an estimated 8% annual electricity load growth through 2035.

MAN Energy Solutions has received the Storage Highlight award for its new energy management solution, offering scalable and CO2-neutral energy storage and sector coupling. The basic principle of MAN ETES is the reversible conversion of electrical energy into thermal energy via storage in form of hot water and ice.

Norway’s state energy group Statkraft says its new 1GW virtual power plant (VPP) in Britain will help bridge the intermittency challenge and aims to double capacity by the summer. Connecting gas engine-driven power units, energy storage and renewables, the VPP can react to market demand within seconds.

With variable renewables accounting for more than half of global capacity additions to 2040, utilities and power grid operators increasingly turn to energy storage to cover their flexibility requirements. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects the cost for four-hour battery systems will fall to $220 per kWh by 2040, spurring a utility-scale deployment of energy storage of close to 220 GW.

ContourGlobal Bonaire, the Caribbean arm of London-based ContourGlobal, has selected Wärtsilä to build a 6-MW energy storage on the island to accommodate greater supply of intermittent wind and solar energy. Works on the EPC project are underway and are due to be completed in April 2019.

Sunny south-western parts of the United States is where solar PV plus energy storage can now outcompete flexible gas-fired peaking plants. Several tenders in the region for solar plus storage came in at less than $30/MWh last year – and technology costs keep falling.

Falling technology cost and supportive policies are seen pushing up the American grow from currently $400 million to top $4 billion by 2024. According to Global Market Insights, power storage could become a “market disruptor”, having nearly doubled in 2018 by adding yet another 1,000 MWh of capacity.

By 2024, China’s market for flow vanadium energy storage is likely to exceed $3 billion. The new technology is based on domestic resource and offers virtually unlimited storage capacity, long duration, and rapid response time. A 200MW/800MWh vanadium flow battery is under development in Dalian, with the batteries made in a nearby factory of Rongke Power.

Sempra Energy has sealed a deal to divest its non-utility US natural gas storage facilities for $322 million to an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners. Once the sale is closed in Q1-2019, ArcLight will own 100% of Mississippi Hub and Bay Gas storage facilities.

Nov 28 – Tokyo-based Toshiba will reinforce its green energy footprint by spending 100 billion yen ($175m) on a new biomass power plant near the thermal Mikawa power station in Omuta, Fukuoka prefecture. Going forward, Toshiba aims to aggregate all its renewable energy sources and storage batteries, creating a Virtual Power Plant (VPP).

Energy storage will play a growing role in the British power mix as the Brexit process is at a critical stage and the country seeks to reduce reliance on importing electricity through from mainland Europe. “Interconnectors are direct competitors in the flexibility marketplace,“ Wood Mackenzie said, suggesting Brexit could be good news for the UK storage market.

Nov 21 – Rebuking warnings of gas supply shortages, the UK government said it will not give any regulatory support for new gas storage facilities. Insisting that “the benefits of more insurance are not worthwhile,” energy secretary Greg Clarke said, insisting the market was already providing sufficient gas security and optionality.

Closure of the large Rough storage has left the UK in a “precarious position” and “vulnerable” to gas supply shortages, Wood Mackenzie finds. Spot LNG cargoes can help cover demand at a short notice – but it would be imprudent to rely on flexible gas imports through the Interconnector, particularly as UK gas demand is bound to increase due to the government’s coal phase-out policy.

Dynamics of the global energy transition are driven by the speed of electrification and the competition between flexible gas power plants and renewables plus energy storage. Margins in the downstream power market are becoming more attractive, as price discrimination allows for better value capture downstream than in the generation business.

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News in Brief

EIA launches State Energy Portal

May 22 – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released a new State Energy Portal, providing interactive energy data and customizable views of more than 150 charts, tables, and maps. The new portal gives users access to more than 1,700 state- and regional-level data series from more than 50 data sources.

GE repowers Azito plant in Ivory Coast

May 21 – Azito Energy has contracted GE to deploy its Predix software for two GT13E2 gas turbines and two generators at the Azito III plant site in Ivory Coast. The MXL2 upgrade for the two gas turbines is expected to boost the power plants overall output by 15 MW per turbine which, according to GE, is equivalent power for up to 120,000 homes

ERCOT at risk of brownouts this summer

May 20 – Texans is at risk of power emergency alerts this summer, and even rotating blackouts, as the current electric reserve margin of about 8.6% may prove insufficient to meet strong electric demand growth, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) warned. Power grid operators typically aim for reserve margins of 10% to 15%.

ABB microgrid makes Indian villages energy self-reliant

May 17 – ABB’s MGS100 microgrid is helping some 39,000 homes and shops in remote regions in India to become energy independent, relying solely on renewable power sources and energy storage. Together with Husk Power Systems, ABB developed the MGS100 microgrid using wind and solar power to reduce household energy costs by up to 40% and improve productivity in 85% of factories and small businesses.

J-ENG develops new biofuel engine

May 16 – Japan Engine Corp. (J-ENG) has started to cooperate with Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line) to research and development a test engine running on biofuel. The new engine is designed for use in the maritime sector and is likely to be re-calibrated at a later stage for use in small-scale power generation applications.

‘Smarter E-Europe’ conference opens doors in Munich

May 15 – Today, the 2019 “Smarter E-Europe” conference and trade show is opening its doors to visitors in Munich. At the exhibition, Siemens is presenting decentralized energy solutions based on renewables and intelligent energy management systems for buildings, infrastructure and industry. Expert presentations on transforming the energy system, renewable integration and storage technologies can be seen at Siemens’ exhibit at Booth 110 in Hall B2.

Marubeni buys stake in U.S. distributed energy firm

May 14 – Japan's Marubeni Corp. has invested an undisclosed sum to buy an equity stake in GridMarket, a U.S.-based provider of development services to distributed energy resources (DER). Using proprietary analytics and machine learning, GridMarket’s distributed energy project platform helps utilities by recommending best-fit solutions like battery storage, solar PV, fuel cells and combined heat and power. By cooperating with GridMarket, Marubeni expects to identify cost-effective projects and source best-fit technologies for its own DER network in North America and Japan.

Global RES additions stall after 20-year growth

May 13 – The International Energy Agency (IEA) has reported an “unexpected flattening of growth trends” in the deployment of renewable energy sources (RES) deployment that raises concerns about meeting long-term climate goals. After two decades of strong annual growth, renewable energy developers around the world added as much net capacity in 2018 as they did in 2017.

RWE cancels €1.5bn coal power project

May 10 – The German utility RWE has decided to no longer invest in any coal-fired power projects and has cancelled a planned €1.5 billion ($1.68bn) lignite-fired power plant in Niederaussem, Germany. Instead, the utility is accelerating its transformation to renewables, energy storage and gas-fired generation through an asset swap with Europe’s largest utility, E.ON.

China’s CPECC to process gas from Iraq’s Halfaya oilfield

May 9 – Iraq and China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation (CPECC) have signed a $1.07 billion deal to build and operate facilities to process natural gas extracted alongside crude oil at Iraq’s giant Halfaya oilfield. CPECC, an affiliate of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), will process around 300 million standard cubic feet per day (mcf/d) of natural gas extracted from the field alongside crude oil, the oil ministry said.  Halfaya, operated by PetroChina, is Maysan Oil Company’s largest oilfield, producing 370,000 barrels per day (bpd) of the company’s total output of around 510,000 bpd.
Iraq continues to flare some of  gas extracted alongside crude oil but the Iraqi oil minister Thamer Ghadhban told Reuters Iraq is in talks with international oil companies to build a 300 mcf plant to process gas from the West Qurna 2 and Majnoon oilfields.

Chiyoda to get large cash injection

May 8 - Following losses of nearly $1 bill on an liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant project in Louisiana, Japanese construction company Chiyoda is to get a $1.4 bill cash injection. The company suffered a $953 mill loss in the six months to 30th September, 2018 after costs spiralled on the $10 bill Hackberry LNG plant in Louisiana, largely, due to escalating labour costs, it was claimed. Chiyoda was expected to record a net loss of about $1.4 bill for the fiscal year to March. Mitsubishi Corp, which owns a 33.4% stake in Chiyoda, and the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, have agreed to provide capital while the company implements a rescue strategy, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

Siemens, TÜV SÜD partner on digital energy security

May 7 – Siemens and the German technical verification association TÜV SÜD have come together to address the growing risk of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, notably in the energy sector. The companies will digitally asses industrial control systems in both the oil and gas and power generation sectors (nuclear applications excluded). All tests will be vendor-agnostic.

UK ‘can cut emissions to net-zero’ by 2025

May 6 – Advisors to the British government have urged the Cabinet to “set and vigorously pursue” a new target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net-zero’ levels by 2050, replacing the current target of an 80% reduction against 1990 levels. The the Committee on Climate Change, which published the report, believes the new target could be achieved within the same cost-framework as the current more lenient goals.

Iraq’s gas imports from Iran bound to rise in June

May 2 – Iraq has no alternative to importing more Iranian gas to meet peak summer demand, the country’s electricity ministry said. He specified that halting imports would cost Iraq’s power grid 4,000 MW per day. Some 14 GW of Iraq’s installed capacity is run on domestic gas, and supplies from Iran keep an additional 4GW operational. “Until now, we have no alternatives to Iranian gas,” a spokesman of the energy ministry said, adding imports from Iran are expected to increase in June from currently 28 million cubic metres per day to 35 MMcm/d.

Waukesha gas engines delivered to CHP in East Germany

May 1 – INNIO’s authorized partner, S&L Energie-Projekte, has provided four packages of INNIO’s Waukesha VHP 9394GSI gas engines for a CHP, operated by the municipal utility of Lutherstadt Wittenberg in eastern Germany. The modernized district heating plant is claimed to achieve an overall efficiency above 95%.

Burns & McDonnell oversee commissioning of fast-ramp plants in Michigan

April 30 – Two quick-ramp gas power plant projects in Michigan, overseen by Burns & McDonnell, are now commissioned and in full commercial operation. Both the F.D. Kuester and A.J. Mihm generating stations are powered by 18-MW, gas-fueled Wärtsilä 18V50SG reciprocating engines. The two plants have a combined 180 MW in generating capacity.

Gazprom advances start of ‘Power of Siberia’ link

April 29 – Russia’s Gazprom is preparing to start injecting natural gas into the ‘Power of Siberia’ pipeline to China in Q3-2019. Preparations are “going according to schedule”, Gazprom chairman Alexey Miller told CNPC chairman Wang Yilin at a working meeting in Beijing.