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.
—————————-

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.
Read more →

IESDB: a priceless resource

According to the International Energy Storage Database – IESDB, pumped hydro represents 96% of recorded global energy storage capacity. Photo credit: Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant, Tennessee Valley Authority

According to the IESDB – International Energy Storage Database – pumped hydro represents 96% of recorded global energy storage capacity. Photo credit: Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant, Tennessee Valley Authority

Mike Stone speaks to Cedric Christensen, director of operations and development at Strategen Consulting, the organisation responsible for the upkeep and development of the International Energy Storage Database (IESDB) portal.

One of the many exciting aspects of energy storage is just how new the industry is. But it’s this very novelty that leads to a lot of hype, flim-flam and plain old-fashioned snake-oil salesmanship. Getting trustworthy info on technologies, techniques and markets that barely existed a decade ago can be frustrating, and the sector’s 10-a-penny forecasts, which usually cost a lot more than that, are sensibly to be taken with a boulder of salt.

Which begs the question: where to dig for hard facts? One of the most impressive mines of useful information for researchers, investors and enthusiasts alike is the US Department of Energy (DoE) International Energy Storage Database.
Read more →

Storage and the Scottish situation

REDT is testing a vanadium redox battery on Gigha. Is more investment needed for energy storage of renewable energy in Scotland?

REDT is testing a vanadium redox battery system on Gigha. Should government funding for energy storage of renewable energy in Scotland be a priority before possible independence from the UK? Photo credit: Patrick Mackie

Has anyone thought through what will happen to Scotland’s renewable energy generation if the country ends up exiting the UK? Right now Scotland is ploughing ahead with what amounts to one of the most ambitious renewable energy generation programmes in the world.

In June 2011 the Scottish government published a 2020 Route map for Renewable Energy in Scotland with a target to generate the equivalent of 100% of its own electricity demand from renewable sources by the start of the next decade.

“This does not mean Scotland will be 100% dependent on renewables generation,” observed a report titled Energy in Scotland (PDF Link), from March last year, “but rather that renewables will form the key part of a wider, balanced electricity mix.”

Quite so. September figures (PDF Link) from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that Scotland is already home to 44% of all wind generation in the sovereign state, just one percentage point below England.
Read more →

The future of German energy storage

Hamburg citizens vote to buy back their energy grid, as factors other than the Energiewende energy policy impact on energy storage in Germany.

Hamburg citizens vote to buy back their energy grid, as factors other than the Energiewende policy impact on energy storage in Germany. Photo credit: Unser Hamburg – Unser Netz

Germany is awash with electricity, yet customer bills remain high. And the chief reason is unprecedented subsidies of over €20bn in feed-in tariffs (FITs) for renewables paid every year. Meanwhile, the country has pledged to retire its entire nuclear fleet and make renewables 80% of the energy mix by 2050, as part of its Energiewende or energy transition doctrine.

With mounting costs and commercial uncertainty for conventional generators, Chancellor Merkel stated at the beginning of her new mandate in September that reforming the Energiewende in some way would be one of her priorities as premier.
Read more →

California forces utilities to invest in storage

In advance of the new California energy storage legislation, PG&E (one of the state's three energy utilities, along with San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison) has been testing battery storage systems. Photo credit: Pacific Gas and Electric  Company

In advance of the California energy storage legislation, PG&E (one of the three utilities, with San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison) has been testing battery storage systems. Photo credit: Pacific Gas and Electric Company

After two and a half years wrangling, we finally got an agreement… and it was unanimous. On October 17, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a press release confirming that the state’s three utilities would be forced to adopt 1,325MW of energy storage, which must be up and running by the end of 2024.

This is being lauded as a first for the US, an unprecedented step forward in the integration of renewable energy into a major grid system, plus a huge boost for the energy storage industry.
Read more →

Encouraging signs for fuel cells

The US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) and GM are jointly testing fuel cells. Photo credit: General Motors

The US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) and GM are jointly testing fuel cells. Photo credit: General Motors

Last week we took a look at fuel-cell vehicles and concluded that, although they represent an exciting future prospect, they are unlikely to make a big impact any time soon. When we turn to non-vehicle fuel cell energy storage, the signs are much more promising, as we’ll see in this concluding part of our analysis.
Read more →

Spain kills its renewable industry

Short-sighted mandarins in Spain are studiously dismantling a once-iconic renewable industry and its accompanying prospects for energy storage.

Short-sighted Spanish mandarins are studiously dismantling a once-iconic renewable industry and its accompanying prospects for energy storage.

Spain’s beleaguered renewable energy sector suffered a further setback last Friday when the government approved measures many observers feel will plunge most plants into debt. The proposals, announced in July, have yet to be ratified by the courts but will almost certainly see feed-in tariffs replaced with an allegedly ‘reasonable retribution’ of 7.5% over the lifetime of a plant, based on parameters which have yet to be announced.
Read more →

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.
Read more →