Study unveils secrets of long-duration storage

About 30% of energy storage procurement decision makers interviewed for the ESS study Beyond Four Hours said long-duration storage was “very important” for their business already. Image: ESS.

About 30% of storage procurement decision makers interviewed for the ESS study Beyond Four Hours said long-duration storage was “very important” for their business already. Image: ESS.

By Jason Deign

More than half of upcoming energy storage projects could require assets with a discharge duration of around four hours or more, according to new research.

About 30% of energy storage procurement decision makers interviewed for the ESS study Beyond Four Hours said long-duration storage was “very important” for their business already.

Another 30% said they were currently considering long-duration storage projects, 20% said it would be important in future and 10% considered it as part of a broader portfolio. Only 10% said it was not applicable to their business.

The research, carried out among energy storage procurers and project developers in association with Energy Storage Report, revealed a wide range of definitions for what constitutes a ‘long-duration’ asset.

But six out of 10 respondents claimed a requirement of more than four hours, which is generally considered beyond the cost-effective range of lithium-ion batteries commonly used for shorter-duration electricity storage. 
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Study: distributed storage is going to take over

Residential solar could become energy storage's heartland in a few years, according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Pic: SunPower.

Residential solar could become energy storage’s heartland in a few years, according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Pic: SunPower.

By Jason Deign

A major study published last week not only forecasts massive energy storage growth but also predicts a seismic shift in the structure of the market.

The Global Energy Storage Forecast, 2016-24, from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), predicts about 45GW and 81GWh of storage could be installed by 2024, representing an investment of USD$44bn.

The figure excludes pumped hydro capacity, of which there is currently 104GW according to 2012 US Energy Information Administration data cited by the American Energy Storage Association.

Perhaps more importantly, though, the Forecast shows worldwide behind-the-meter storage overtaking utility-scale applications between 2020 and 2021.

By 2024, predicts BNEF, 66% of all storage will be behind the meter, compared to just 16% at present.
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The second-life threat to non-lithium batteries

Second-hand batteries from electric vehicles such as buses could drastically cut the price of lithium-ion-based storage, research predicts. Photo: www.animam.photography

Second-hand batteries from electric vehicles such as buses could drastically cut the price of lithium-ion-based storage, research predicts. Photo: www.animam.photography

By Jason Deign

Lithium-ion’s potential to dominate the stationary storage battery sector may be stronger than previously thought, according to the implications of a new study.

Research published last week by the analyst firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows a glut of second-hand lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries from the auto industry could cut battery storage costs significantly.

By 2018, says Used EV batteries for stationary storage: second-life supply & costs, the cost of repurposing batteries for second-life applications could go down to as little as USD$49 per kWh.

This compares to a cost of roughly $300 per kWh for new batteries at the moment, and $160 for lowest-cost battery chemistries such as the zinc hybrid cathode technology being commercialised by Eos Energy Storage.

Given that BNEF expects around 10GWh of capacity from used electric vehicle batteries to be entering into the stationary storage market by 2025, second-life applications could deal a real blow to the prospects for non-Li-ion chemistries.
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New report reviews top US projects

Grid-scale energy storage projects in the USA are causing problems for utilities, according to a report from Energy Storage Update. Photo: Borrego Springs microgrid, San Diego Gas & Electric Company

Grid-scale energy storage projects in the USA are a challenge for utilities, says an Energy Storage Update report. Photo: Borrego Springs microgrid, San Diego Gas & Electric

By Jason Deign

Grid-scale energy storage projects are still a challenge for US utilities, according to a new report from Energy Storage Report sponsor Energy Storage Update.

The free US Energy Storage Projects and Prospects Guide 2016 focuses on three leading battery plants and reveals two of them have experienced significant setbacks since they started.

Notrees, which is owned by Duke Energy in Texas, and Tehachapi, belonging to Southern California Edison (SCE) in California, both had problems with battery vendors and have subsequently had to overcome additional hurdles.

At Notrees, a 36MW, 24MWh plant that was commissioned in October 2012, the original battery provider, Xtreme Power, went out of business. The vendor’s assets ended up with the German energy storage project developer Younicos.

At the same time, however, Duke discovered the advanced lead-acid batteries installed by Xtreme were a poor fit to the storage applications emerging at Notrees, which was leading to more rapid battery degradation than expected.
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Could grids negate the need for energy storage?

The potential for more grid interconnections in the European transmission system does not minimise the need for energy storage in Europe, according to the European Commission project e-Highway2050. Photo credit: ENTSO-E

The potential for more grid interconnections in the European transmission system does not minimise the need for energy storage in Europe, according to the European Commission project e-Highway2050. Photo credit: ENTSO-E

By Jason Deign

The potential for interconnections to minimise the need for storage across Europe looks vanishingly thin in the face of recent research.

Five future interconnection scenarios published last November as a result of a European Commission project called e-Highway2050 all accept the need for significant storage capacity in order to de-carbonise Europe’s energy system.

The 40-month-long project concluded it would be possible to achieve close to zero carbon emissions by 2050 with an investment of between €100bn and €400bn in electricity transmission infrastructure.

At the same time, however, all the models used in e-Highway2050’s research findings booklet also included an allowance of between 73GW and 113GW of energy storage, compared to 45GW in place in 2012.

“I suppose that the architects behind the project want to demonstrate the high shares of fluctuating energy can be handled,” consultant Paul-Frederik Bach told Energy Storage Report.
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Report reveals risk for energy storage technologies in US

A new report shows emerging energy storage technologies in the US may face challenges as utilities stick to tried-and-tested technologies. Photo credit: Discovery Cube OC science centre, site of a Southern California Edison energy storage project using lithium-ion battery technology, Edison International

Emerging energy storage technologies in the US may face challenges as utilities stick to older technologies. Photo: Discovery Cube OC science centre, site of a Southern California Edison energy storage project, Edison International

A new report is expected to show emerging energy storage technologies may face commercialisation challenges as utilities stick to tried-and-tested technologies from reputable vendors.

Early indications are that US power companies are shunning innovative technologies and early-stage developers in favour of tried-and-tested equipment from major suppliers, according to the report from Energy Storage Update.

One source quoted in the report says around 60% of the storage currently being considered for installation across Californian utilities is likely to be in the form of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

The balance will probably be small-scale hydro, natural gas compression, liquid air storage and flywheels.

Another source, from Southern California Edison, indicated that the company’s energy storage testing programme was all using lithium-ion batteries.

Elsewhere, utility respondents also expressed a clear preference for industry-leading suppliers such as Sharp, LG Chem and Panasonic. “Big companies like ours only like to deal with more established companies, with actual balance sheets,” said one.
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California seen as key for energy storage commercialisation

Energy storage in California is projected to drive commercialisation and technology development in the rest of the US. Photo credit: PG&E test battery storage systems, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Energy storage in California is projected to drive commercialisation and technology development in the rest of the US. Photo credit: PG&E test battery storage systems, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

California is set to become a global powerhouse for energy storage technology commercialisation in the next half decade, a new guide says. ‘Commercializing Energy Storage in the United States’, published by Energy Storage Update, forecasts that California’s unprecedented 1.325GW storage mandate will turn the state into the world’s leading energy storage test bed.“This opportunity is significant because it will force utilities to deploy energy storage technologies at increasing levels between now and 2020,” says the report. “California is effectively set to become a major proving ground, with learning from the market serving to help deploy energy storage at scale elsewhere in the US and worldwide.”

A key finding is that California will not only be able to help with the commercialization of technologies that are already gaining mainstream market acceptance, but also those that are still in the early stages of development.
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Electricity storage guide available

Sandia National Laboratories

Photo credit: Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories has released an updated handbook on energy storage. The book was created in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and was funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
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