Storage seen as key in COP21 talks

COP21 2015: We analyse what participants at the Paris Climate Conference are saying about climate change and energy storage, and how it will affect global industry investment. Photo credit: COP21

COP21 2015: We analyse what participants at the Paris Climate Conference are saying about climate change and energy storage, and how it will affect global industry investment. Photo credit: COP21

By Jason Deign

Energy storage looks set to benefit from increased funding worldwide if leaders make good on pledges at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) this week.

Up to USD$30 trillion in investment could be freed up to fight climate change in what has been hailed as the “end of the fossil era.”

The money would be needed to improve renewable energy penetration to reach the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) being presented at COP21.

An initial $20bn or so in funding for renewable energy innovation, including storage, was announced on Monday when the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group of 30 or so major investors, joined the fight against climate change.

Elsewhere, energy storage was specifically cited as an investment target for “tens of billions of dollars” by White House sources at the COP21 talks in Paris.
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UK elections: who’s best for energy storage?

UK energy storage policy: A Conservative government may spell the end of subsidies for for renewable energy such as onshore wind turbines.

UK energy storage policy: A Conservative government may end subsidies for onshore wind turbines. Photo: Animam.

By Jason Deign

Energy storage supporters may have some reason to hope for a Labour Party-led outcome to tomorrow’s UK General Elections, an analysis of electoral pledges reveals.

Labour, currently trailing the ruling Conservatives by a photo-finish margin in opinion polls, has issued one of the strongest renewable energy promises in the electoral campaign, with a plan to de-carbonise the UK completely by 2030.

“We will work to make Britain a world leader in low carbon technologies over the next decade, creating a million additional green jobs,” says Labour’s manifesto.

“This aim will be supported by ambitious domestic carbon reduction targets, including a legal target to remove the carbon from our electricity supply by 2030, and a major drive for energy efficiency.”

And while Labour, the UK’s main left-wing party, does not mention energy storage as such in its proposals, at least two of its potential government alliance partners do.
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IRENA to fine-tune 160GW energy storage plan next week

The International Renewable Energy Agency is finalising its energy storage roadmap to install 160GW battery storage worldwide by 2030. Photo credit: IRENA

The International Renewable Energy Agency is finalising its energy storage roadmap to install 160GW battery storage worldwide by 2030. Photo credit: IRENA

A group of experts is next week expected to finalise details of a road map to install 160GW of battery storage worldwide in 2030. The plan, being developed by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), would see nearly four times as much battery storage being deployed in the next 15 years as all the solar power installed worldwide to date.

The road map is due to be launched this summer following feedback next week from political, industrial and scientific experts at an International Energy Storage Policy and Regulation workshop at the Energy Storage Europe 2015 Conference and Expo.

“The road map will guide IRENA’s 139 member states on the key activities needed to support energy storage for the global expansion of renewable energy,” said IRENA last week in a press release.

The need for 160GW of battery storage is based on IRENA’s REmap 2030 study of how to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix from 20% in 2010 to 40% by 2030.
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An energy storage solution for Greece?

A focus on solar power and energy storage in Greece could offer Alexis Tsipras and his new government a way to fulfil its election pledges. Photo credit: Syriza

A focus on solar power and energy storage in Greece could offer Alexis Tsipras and his new government a way to fulfil election pledges. Photo credit: Syriza

UPDATE: Minutes after this article went out in our newsletter, the Greek government announced it was paralysing the privatisation of the energy sector. Whether, or how, Syriza will support renewables, and potentially energy storage, is still unclear.
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A focus on residential and commercial energy storage could offer Greece’s newly elected parliament a way to fulfil some of its well-nigh impossible election pledges.

The far-left Syriza party, which won national elections on Sunday, has promised to provide free electricity for 300,000 households and further stimulate the development of renewable energy.

But the administration’s capacity to deliver on that and a number of other election promises is being questioned because of Greece’s huge debt.

Yanis Varoufakis, the new finance minister, calls it the “largest loan in human history” and admitted his party’s win was a “poisoned chalice” on UK’s BBC Radio 4 on Monday.

Syriza won the elections with a programme that includes clamping down on corruption and renegotiating with Europe a “rational plan for debt restructure” by binding repayments to growth.
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Arizona’s answer to the US carbon headache?

Energy storage in Arizona should see huge growth if new procurement proposals from the state utility APS and RUCO are approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission. Photo: Abengoa, Solana solar power station

Energy storage in Arizona should see huge growth if new procurement proposals from the state utility APS and RUCO become part of Arizona’s energy policy. Photo credit: Abengoa, Solana solar power plant

Arizona could become the next big market for energy storage if a settlement agreed last month gets the go-ahead from regulators. And in doing so it could help lead the way in overcoming an energy headache facing a number of American states. As reported in Greentechgrid, state utility Arizona Public Service (APS) and the state’s Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO) have agreed that the electricity company should evaluate energy storage as an alternative to peaker plants going forward.

The measure, which still needs to be approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), essentially allows storage, along with renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and demand response, to compete with peakers on a like-for-like basis.

“RUCO’s proposed conditions establish a procurement process for consideration of alternative resources, including single or multiple storage projects through 2021,” says the submission to the ACC.
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EU policy: Juncker puts a Spaniard in the works

How will European energy policy be affected by Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy designate. We analyse the background of Junker's proposed candidate from Spain. Photo credit: European Commission

How will European energy policy be affected by Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy designate? Photo: European Commission

In July we cautiously predicted Jean-Claude Juncker’s election as European Commission (EC) president might be good news for energy storage. Now we are not so sure. His choice of energy commissioner appears dubious, to say the very least.

A brief survey of the credentials for Miguel Arias Cañete, Juncker’s proposed EC Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, reveals the veteran Spanish politician is possibly the last person you would want running a low-carbon, green energy agenda.

Cañete, who until recently was Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, has been roundly slammed by environmental groups for having deep links to the fossil fuel industry.

A keen vintage car collector, he formerly ran two petroleum storage businesses and until recently retained 2.5% shares in both of them. This week it was confirmed that he has hurriedly sold the shares off.

But it will be less easy to shake off the fact that during his tenure in the Spanish administration he opened the door to hydraulic fracturing by including it as one of the processes that would be admitted for environmental permitting under a new law.
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Energy Storage in Texas

Energy storage in Texas: with its solar and wind energy resources, plus favourable legislation, it could be the home of the oil boom, not California, that becomes the model to follow.

Energy storage in Texas: with solar and wind energy plus favourable legislation, could the home of the oil boom, not California, become the model to follow? Photo: SolarWorld

Texas. It has always been of huge and obvious importance to the US energy economy, both as a producer of hydrocarbons and as a massive consumer, thanks to its enormous geographical area and its position as a vital component of the US’s industrial heartland.Its huge and growing appetite for energy currently totals around 30,000GWh annually. Increasingly, that burgeoning hunger for more power is being met by sources of renewable energy.

Renewable energy in Texas

As a state, Texas is the wind power capital of the US, with 12GW of operational utility-scale wind capacity, which recently succeeded in generating 29% of total electricity load for the entire state, albeit for a brief moment. The usual figure averages around 9%.

A key element of Texas’s wind strategy was the recent completion of the CREZ project to connect windy, relatively unpopulated West Texas with the state’s urban centres.
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Europe’s controversial election to help storage?

The election of Jean-Claude Juncker as EC president has implications for European energy policy and energy storage. Photo credit: Inelfe: the France – Spain HVDC plus interconnection, part of the European HVDC transmission grid

The election of Jean-Claude Juncker as EC president has implications for European energy policy and energy storage. Photo credit: Inelfe: the France – Spain HVDC plus interconnection, part of the European HVDC transmission grid

Energy storage fans may have cause for optimism if last week’s European Commission (EC) presidential election leads to more joined-up thinking on energy policy. The UK Prime Minister David Cameron was strongly opposed to the election of Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the EC partly on account of the latter’s strong euro-centric stance, which the British leader claimed could stymie hopes of European reform.

However, the appointment of a known euro federalist could also herald a move towards further cross-border thinking on energy generation and distribution, which in turn could favour the development of storage as part of a comprehensive policy package.

As previously covered in Energy Storage Report, the current Russia-Ukraine gas crisis has focused attention on European energy security, an area in which storage could play a significant role.

Meanwhile, policy makers are grappling with the implications of large, intermittent renewable energy inflows from generation sources such as offshore wind and solar PV.

Their concerns are likely to grow as these inflows increase, particularly as some European member states, such as Ireland, are building renewable energy infrastructure with the express intention of exporting it to other countries.
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