The nuclear plant powering debate over storage

Artist's view of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. Image: EDF Energy.

Artist’s view of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant. Image: EDF Energy.

By Jason Deign

A surprise U-turn over a UK nuclear power plant has ignited debate over whether renewables, backed by storage, might not be a better alternative.

Last month the UK’s new, post-Brexit administration raised eyebrows after announcing a further review of Hinkley Point C, a controversial nuclear power plant that was supposed to have been given the final go-ahead on July 29.

UK officials rushed to issue assurances after the postponement threatened to spark tensions with China and France, the international partners in the GBP£18bn project.

“The UK needs a reliable and secure energy supply and the government believes that nuclear energy is an important part of the mix,” soothed Greg Clark, business, energy and industrial strategy secretary, in press reports.

The government said it would now make its final decision “in early autumn,” he said.
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Brexit fallout: higher UK energy storage costs

The UK's departure from the European Union is making storage more expensive.

The UK’s departure from the European Union is making storage more expensive.

By Jason Deign

One immediate result of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union is likely to be higher energy storage costs, Energy Storage Report has learned.

The June 23 vote to split with the Union, led by England and Wales, sent sterling tumbling against the dollar. Each pound was worth USD$1.48 on the day of the referendum, versus $1.31 yesterday, an almost 12% drop.

Sterling has also fallen almost 9% against the euro, from €1.30 on June 23 to €1.19 yesterday. This means the cost of importing storage technologies has likely risen by around 10% in the last month.

Nor is it clear whether sterling’s malaise is likely to improve over time.

Joseph Wright of Pound Sterling Forecast this week said: “Moving forward I’m expecting the financial data to continue to disappoint on release, mostly due to the uncertainty created by the Brexit.
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Why analogue utility rates in a digital world?

Doug Staker of Demand Energy.

Doug Staker of Demand Energy.

By Doug Staker, Demand Energy

They say anything can happen in a New York minute. Could one of these minutes change the way we look at demand management, though? After all, from an energy standpoint, not all New York minutes are the same.

Depending on the time of day, electricity in New York can vary significantly in price.

It’s hardly surprising: at certain times, Consolidated Edison (Con Ed), the utility serving New York City, has massive energy needs, peaking at around 13GW. That’s nearly a third of typical peak demand in the entire state of California.

At the same time, base-load production capacity is threatened by the possible closure of the Indian Point Energy Center nuclear plant.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s laudable aim is to replace nuclear fission at Indian Point with nuclear fusion… from the sun. Cuomo is putting USD$1bn into installing 3GW of solar power across New York State by 2022.
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Demand Energy announces project milestone

Demand Energy's DEN.OS software platform is helping New York buildings to benefit from the state's demand management programme. Pic: Demand Energy.

Demand Energy’s DEN.OS software platform is helping New York buildings to benefit from the state’s demand management programme. Pic: Demand Energy.

 

By Jason Deign

Demand Energy last week announced completion of the first five energy storage projects in New York’s Demand Management Program (DMP).

One of the five 100kW, 400kWh behind-the-meter energy storage systems installed in five separate Glenwood properties across Manhattan has already passed measurement and verification (M&V) testing.

M&V certification is currently underway with the other four projects within the DMP, which is managed by utility Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) along with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The aggregated behind-the-meter systems, with batteries from EnerSys, are powered by storage system developer Demand Energy’s Distributed Energy Network Optimization System (DEN.OS).

“We have been working during the off-peak season to install and interconnect the next four systems which make up the first 2MWh of installations for Glenwood,” said Shane Johnson, vice president of client services.
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UK energy storage: why a Brexit may be good

Britons discussing the Brexit in a pub yesterday. Photo: www.animam.photography.

Britons discussing the Brexit in a pub yesterday. Photo: www.animam.photography.

By Jason Deign

UK renewable energy interests could face significant market disruption if Britons vote to leave the European Union (EU) in a referendum this month.

But while sectors such as wind energy fret over what a so-called ‘Brexit’ could mean for European-led subsidy programmes, whether or not a departure could harm the UK’s nascent energy storage market is less clear-cut.

In particular, the fact that storage is already being deployed in the UK without any form of government support means further growth in the market may not be dependent on political links with Europe.

Last month, for example, the UK’s National Grid launched the first battery system in Great Britain to provide sub-second frequency response services.

Hertfordshire, England-based Renewable Energy Systems won the bid to provide 2MW of storage capacity under a four-year contract.
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Battery key to island’s hybrid system

SMA's Sint Eustatius hybrid solar, battery and diesel plant.

SMA has commissioned a hybrid solar, battery and diesel plant to reduce fossil fuel consumption on the Caribbean island of Sint Eustatius.

 

By Jason Deign

Inverter maker SMA Solar Technology yesterday confirmed commissioning of a hybrid battery, PV and diesel system covering the electricity needs of a small Caribbean island.

The system will allow the 21km2, 3,500-population island of Sint Eustatius, in the Caribbean Netherlands, to cut its fossil-fuel consumption by 30%, equivalent to 800,000 litres of diesel and 2,200 tons of CO2 a year.

The hybrid system includes a 1.9MW solar plant, which can cover more than 23% of the island’s 13.5GWh annual electricity demand, plus 1MW of battery storage.

Diesel genset integration is through SMA’s Fuel Save Controller 2.0 software. SMA also supplied a Sunny Central Storage 1000 battery inverter and a Medium Voltage Power Station 1000.

This “enables a measured solar fraction of up to 88% during sunshine hours and supports the grid with stability functions such as frequency regulation, ramp-rate control for PV and optimisation of diesel genset operation,” SMA said.
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P2P energy player lobbies for storage

Battery storage in P2P energy networks could help businesses such as the Eden Project save money. (Pic: Jürgen Matern)

Battery storage in P2P energy networks could help businesses such as the Eden Project save money. (Pic: Jürgen Matern)

By Jason Deign

Peer-to-peer (P2P) power supplier Open Utility is planning to pressure the UK electricity market regulator towards introducing grid-balancing measures that could include energy storage.

The company, which runs an energy marketplace called Piclo, hopes to convince the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) that P2P networks are good for consumers and distributed generation asset owners.

“There are significant benefits in better balancing renewables and demand on a local electricity network,” said James Johnston, Open Utility’s CEO and co-founder. “Energy storage will be key in enabling this balancing.”

Currently, he said, UK regulations do little to encourage the use of energy storage in P2P networks. Piclo, which allows businesses to buy renewable power directly from source, does not currently include storage, for example.

However, Johnston said: “If regulations allow for it, incentivising local balancing using P2P energy matching could unlock significant financial rewards for local consumers and generators.”
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Oil giants pile into energy storage

This five-year chart of Brent crude prices shows the pain oil companies have been experiencing since mid-2014... and why they might be looking to diversify into energy storage.

This five-year chart of Brent crude prices shows the pain oil companies have been experiencing since mid-2014… and why they might be looking to diversify into energy storage (chart: CNBC).

By Jason Deign

The last week has seen two Big Oil firms move into energy storage as continuing low prices for crude force petroleum sector players to diversify.

On Monday the French oil giant Total announced a friendly takeover of Saft Groupe, which specialises in batteries for the transport, industry and defence sectors.

The €950m purchase represents a 38.3% premium on Saft’s share price on the close of business the Friday before the announcement. It is also 41.9% above Saft’s weighted average share price over the previous six months, Total said.

“The acquisition of Saft is part of Total’s ambition to accelerate its development in the fields of renewable energy and electricity, initiated in 2011 with the acquisition of SunPower,” said Patrick Pouyanné, Total’s chairman and CEO.

“It will notably allow us to complement our portfolio with electricity storage solutions, a key component of the future growth of renewable energy.”
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