Energy Storage

In California, energy storage is becoming a viable alternative to peakload gas power units. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is developing utility-scale storage with a combined capacity of 567.5 MW and 4-hour duration, aiming to replace three gas-fired power plants.

German engineering giant Siemens is partnering with Hydrogen Renewables Australia (HRA) to develop a 5,000 MW wind and solar farm in Western Australia. Siemens electrolysers will convert the renewable power into low-cost renewable hydrogen for export to Asian markets.

On-site power provider Cummins and researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego are looking into how to reuse and repurpose electric vehicle (EV) batteries for energy storage. The focus lies on lithium-ion batteries, which are currently recycled at a rate of less than 5% in the U.S. market.

Electrification of the transport sector will not only propel up power demand but also spur a surge in global copper consumption. Electric vehicles (EVs) alone are forecast to consume more than 3.7 million tons of copper every year through 2030, and the anticipated 20 million EV charging points are seen propelling up copper demand by 250% over 2019-levels.

U.S. technology innovator Tesla has launched a huge battery, called Megapack, claiming it would be more cost-effective and faster to install than any fossil-fuelled power plant. The pilot utility-scale Megapack battery will be installed on behalf of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for the Moss Landing project in California.

Electrification of transport has propelled up demand for batteries, increasing the risk that battery metals – cobalt, lithium, and nickel – will face a supply crunch by the mid-2020s. If automotive manufacturers realize their pledge to “go completely electric” by 2050, demand for battery metals would skyrocket – as would the electricity-use of these vehicles.

British roads will see some 35 million electric vehicles by 2050 which can be used to store excess electricity and enhance the grid flexibility. According to National Grid, these electric vehicles could store roughly one fifth of GB’s solar generation for when this energy is needed.

LEAG, East Germany’s largest lignite miner and electric utility, has embarked on a 53 MW lithium-ion battery project which will be built next to the company’s Schwarze Pumpe lignite power plant. The so-called BigBattery project is supported with 25 million Euros by the state of Brandenburg.

Long duration, grid-scale energy storage will be a game changer, allowing for more renewables integration. The industry is developing new batteries that will extend the current 2 to 4 hours of energy storage to up to 8 hours. These batteries are expected to be ready for use by 2030.

‘Renewables as baseload’ is possible through Wärtsilä’s integrated solar photovolatic (PV) and battery-based energy storage. The adaptable Hybrid Solar solution allows utilities to monitor and optimize solar power output through the GEMS platform, developed by Greensmith Energy.

In a world first, Siemens Gamesa has commissioned an electric thermal energy storage in Hamburg-Altenwerder. The system can store 130 MWh of energy for up to one week – target is storage capacity in the Gigawatt-hour range. Storage helps decouple electricity generation and use, reducing the intermittency challenge of wind and solar power supply.

The 22MW/34.8MWh Cremzow battery energy storage in northeastern Germany has started full commercial operation, underpinned by Wärtsilä's GEMS control platform. Built by Enel, Enertrag and Leclanché at a cost of about 17 million Euros, the storage provides frequency regulation services for the regional power grid.

Australian energy company Santos is about to launch the world's first battery project at its Darwin LNG export plant. It will integrate batteries at the liquefaction facility's integrated gas power unit to ensure they run more effectively and with less emissions. The project is about to enter FEED phase and is due completed in mid-2020.

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.

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News in Brief

Ansaldo appoints new CEO

Oct 21 – Ansaldo Energia’s board of directors has appointed Giuseppe Marino as new CEO. Together with the chairman, Giuseppe Zampini, he will decide on the company’s strategy particularly relating to the new Chinese joint ventures.

Slow start of STT pipeline

Oct 18 – U.S. gas exports to Mexico have not picked up substantially despite the start of the Sur de Texas-Tuxpan (STT) pipeline. Exports are still below 6.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), although there no current postings regarding maintenance on the Sistrangas pipeline that feeds from NET Mexico.

EIB defers ban on fossil projects

Oct 17 – Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB) has bowed to pressure from Germany and the European Commission and deferred its decision to ban loans to fossil-fuel projects until mid-November. Germany wants the bank to keep financing gas-fired power projects as it views the cleaner-burning fossil fuel as a vital backup for renewable energy sources.

Brexit will not impact UK gas supply

Oct 16 – Security of power and gas supply in the UK will not be jeopardized this winter by the country’s imminent departure from the European Union, even in the event of a hard Brexit, National Grid said. In its assessment, the TSO factored in a halt to flows via the Belgium and Dutch gas interconnectors “from EU exit day one”, but said ongoing deliveries from Norway, the UK Continental Shelf and storage will continue as usual.

Ferrybridge C gets demolished

Oct 15 – Four cooling towers at the Ferrybridge Power Station have been taken down as the coal-fired power station will make way to a new, high-efficiency gas power station. Operator SSE shut down the 500 MW Ferrybridge C unit in March 2016 and now started to tear it down.

Global energy storage tops 10 GW by 2025

Oct 14 – The global market for grid-connected energy storage will grow by 6,900 MW, or 16.6% to reach over 10,500 MW by the end of 2025, according to Reportlinker.com. Germany will add over 267 MW energy storage installations over the next five to six years, while 330 MW will come from other European markets. These numbers are dwarfed by China, where up to 1,200 MW energy storage units could be connected to the grid by 2025.

Wärtsilä services EDL plant

Oct 11 – Energy Developments Ltd (EDL) of Australia has awarded Wärtsilä a service contract for gas engine-based baseload power plant at the McArthur River zinc mine in Northern Territory. The maintenance approach for the 53 MW onsite power plant is no longer pre-planned and scheduled but has been changed to condition-based and predictive maintenance, with an advisory contract.

EPH buys CCGT in Galway

Oct 10 – The Czech energy company EPH has received regulatory approval to purchase an 80% stake in the 400 MW Tynagh Energy combined-cycle gas power plant in Galway, Ireland. Mountainside Partners will continue to own the remaining stake in the CCGT, which operates based on a security-of-supply contract from the Irish TSO based on guaranteed power prices.

ITM gets £38m boost from Linde

Oct 9 – Sheffield-based ITM Power, maker of electrolysers for hydrogen production, has been boosted by a £38 million cash injection, as Linde acquired a 20% stake in ITM at 40 pence per share. Looking ahead, ITM said it is seeking to raise £14 million from new and existing institutional investors.

Drax to convert two power units

Oct 8 – Drax Group has received government approval to convert up to two coal-fired generating units at its power station in North Yorkshire to run on natural gas. With this ruling, the UK regulator overturned objections by ClientEarth, stressing some fossil power is vital for the UK to backup intermittent renewable power source.

Storage use tops 80% in key U.S. regions

Oct 7 – Gas storage utilization in the United States is rising in the autumn, with net injections topping 112 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the first week of October. According to EIA figures, underground storages are at least 80% full in the East, Midwest, and South Central non-salt regions, allowing for seasonal withdrawals to help meet peak-day gas demand throughout the upcoming winter.

Maine, NY aspire to 100% clean energy

Oct 4 – Three U.S. states—Maine, New York, and Ohio—have updated their renewable portfolio standards (RPS), since May 2019. As a result, Maine and New York joined California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia in requiring 100% clean electricity by 2050.

TransAlta to built CHP in Alberta

Oct 3 – Canada-based Transalta and SemCAMS Midstream have agreed to develop, construct and operate a new cogeneration facility at the Kaybob South No. 3 sour gas processing plant in Alberta. To be built at a cost of some 105 million, the CHP will have an installed capacity of 40 MW. Start of commercial operation is targeted for late 2021.

GE’s 100th HA turbine sold in Greece

Oct 2 – Greek industrial firm Mytilineos has ordered a GE 9HA.02 gas turbine to be the heart of the 826 MW Agios Nikolaos combined-cycle gas power plant. This deal also marks the 100th unit of GE’s HA gas turbine sold. Construction of the CCGT is due to start before the end of the year.

ABB launches M4M analyzer

Oct 1 – Swiss technology firm ABB has launches its first Bluetooth-equipped network analyzers, called M4M. The system gathers data from distribution grids and connects them to a cloud-based control system, allowing users to react on energy consumption and on-site power generation trends.

Microsoft invests in wind power

Sept 30 – Microsoft and ENGIE have entered a long-term solar and wind energy power purchase agreement (PPA) in the United States. The deal will see Microsoft purchase a total of 230 MW from two ENGIE projects in Texas, bringing Microsoft’s renewable energy portfolio to more than 1,900 MW.

Gazprom tackles issue of ownerless gas grid

Sept 27 – Gazprom, the main supplier of pipeline gas to Europe, is trying to settle the issue of ownerless gas pipelines – a relic of the former Soviet Union. Abandoned gas transmission pipeline spanned 6,651 kilometers as of March 1, with the issue seen as “especially acute” in the North Caucasus region where half of this infrastructure is located. If no owner registers these facilities within three months, Gazprom will take over to ensure reliability and safety.