Convergent toasts pure-play developer model

Convergent is helping its customers cut costs using storage. Pic: Convergent.

Convergent is helping its customers cut costs using storage. Pic: Convergent.

By Jason Deign

New York, USA-based Convergent Energy and Power is seeing the fruits of sticking to a pure-play developer model after building a 75MW, 200MWh project pipeline.

Johannes Rittershausen, Convergent’s CEO, told Energy Storage Report that behind this pipeline of projects in operation, being built or under contract there was “hundreds of megawatts … of deals we’re working on.”

Even though the company is currently focused on just two countries, the USA and Canada, its business has been doubling every year for the last couple of years.

In the next couple of years, said Rittershausen, “I could easily see a scenario where we could do better than that. We can barely keep up. It’s a great market to be in.”

The most recent addition to Convergent’s portfolio is the 7MW, 7MWh Sault Ste Marie plant in Ontario, Canada, being built to store wind and solar energy under a three-year contract with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). 
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GenCell’s secret for hydrogen world domination

GenCell fuel cell technology is being used for San Diego Gas & Electric substation backup power in California. Pic: GenCell Israel.

GenCell fuel cell technology is being used for San Diego Gas & Electric substation backup power in California. Pic: GenCell Israel.

By Jason Deign

GenCell, an Israeli fuel-cell maker, yesterday trumpeted a major win as part of an under-the-radar strategy to get utilities relying more on hydrogen.

The company said San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the Californian utility, would be installing GenCell G5rx fuel cells for substation backup power.

Bloomberg reported the deal would cover an initial three substations, with 27 more to follow within three years. SDG&E is keen to use fuel cells as a way of extending the backup power capacity at substations.

Backup power is a technical requirement at all utility substations. It is used to keep high-voltage circuit breakers open whenever there is a loss of power on the grid.

Most substations are equipped with lead-acid battery arrays that can supply backup power for up to eight hours. Beyond this, the utility usually has to switch to an alternative power source, such as a diesel genset. 
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Storage hopeful Alevo confirms PJM project

Alevo battery technology is entering commercial operation this month, as it installs six GridBank units for the PJM Interconnection Market. Pic: Alevo.

Alevo battery technology is entering commercial operation this month, as it installs six GridBank units for the PJM Interconnection Market. Pic: Alevo.

By Jason Deign

Alevo, a Swiss battery maker with operations in Concord, North Carolina, USA, has confirmed the first commercial delivery of its sulphur-based lithium-ion GridBank product.

The company is due to install six 2MW/1MWh GridBank units this month across three sites in Hagerstown, Maryland, to provide frequency regulation and other ancillary services to the PJM Interconnection Market.

Speaking to Energy Storage Report during European Utility Week last year, Alevo officials confirmed that two other projects were already “grid connected.”

The implication is that these two projects, a 8MW/4MWh deployment Lewes, Delaware, which was announced in March 2016, and a 10MW, 3MWh project in Georgetown, Texas, are non-commercial pilots.

According to the Charlotte Business Journal: “The company has taken longer than initially expected to get to commercial production of the battery and its control systems. 
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Demand Energy ends year with Costa Rica deal

Demand Energy's battery systems will go towards helping Costa Rica maintain its pristine environment. Pic: Pixabay.

Demand Energy’s battery systems will go towards helping Costa Rica maintain its pristine environment. Pic: Pixabay.

By Jason Deign

Energy storage systems developer Demand Energy and Latin America microgrid pioneer Rio Grande Renewables this week announced a record-breaking project in Costa Rica.

The two companies have commissioned a battery storage-plus-solar-PV microgrid at Establishment Labs, a Costa Rican medical manufacturing plant, said Demand Energy in a press release.

The microgrid is said to be the largest in Central America and includes a 500kW, 1MWh lithium-ion battery connected to 276kW of solar PV.

The system is designed to provide multiple on-site and grid-assisting services, including peak demand reduction, solar variability smoothing and backup power for critical loads in the event of an outage.

It is controlled by Demand Energy’s Distributed Energy Network Operating System (DEN.OS™), which optimises how energy storage, distributed generation and other distributed energy resources interact and perform. 
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Finland sees growing role for energy storage

Energy storage in Finland set to grow, as Landis+Gyr installs the largest battery system in the Nordics, which will help stabilise the electricity supply in Helsinki. Pic: Pixabay.

Energy storage in Finland set to grow, as Landis+Gyr installs the largest battery system in the Nordics, which will help stabilise the electricity supply in Helsinki. Pic: Pixabay.

By Jason Deign

Finland’s nascent grid-scale battery market is set to expand rapidly in the coming years, according to Landis+Gyr’s Northern Europe CEO Ari Tolonen.

He told Energy Storage Report his company was pursuing four other energy storage projects in Finland after completing the largest battery plant in the Nordic countries earlier this year.

Up to 4MW of battery storage could be installed across the country “very soon,” he said. “I believe we will see three or four cases a year. I expect to see this kind of system everywhere.”

In August, Landis+Gyr commissioned a 1.2MW, 600kWh battery system for Helen Electricity, a distribution system operator covering the Helsinki area of Finland.

The €2m Helen storage facility was built alongside Finland’s largest solar plant, a 340kW array in Suvilahti, and will also serve an 850kW PV project being built at nearby Kivikko.   
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Skeleton’s crew expands with German focus

Skeleton Technologies pitched to investors at The Business Booster in Barcelona (pic: InnoEnergy).

Skeleton Technologies pitched to investors at The Business Booster in Barcelona (pic: InnoEnergy).

By Jason Deign

Skeleton Technologies is expanding its top team and contemplating further cash injections as its sets its sights on a precious German market.

The Estonian ultracapacitor maker, which has so far raised €26.7m in funding, is looking for a vice president of global sales as it expands manufacturing into Germany, which is expected to account for a fifth of its global market.

The company was also showing off to potential investors and customers at a showcase event called The Business Booster (TBB), in Barcelona, Spain, last Thursday.

Having closed its round C funding, for €13m, this summer, programme director Egert Valmra appealed to TBB’s audience for a round D injection in support of UCGEN3, a ‘next-generation’ ultracapacitor programme led by Skeleton.

In the meantime, however, Skeleton is focusing attention on scaling up production in Estonia and building a presence in Germany, where it opened a factory this year. 
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Why you should aim for an open business model

Delegates at next year's Energy Storage Europe Conference will hear a plea for open business models (Pic: Energy Storage Europe 2016).

Delegates at next year’s Energy Storage Europe Conference will hear a plea for open business models (Pic: Energy Storage Europe 2016).

Energy storage developers and asset owners should aim to be technologically neutral to make the most of global markets, experts will hear next year.

Florian Mayr, partner and storage expert of management consultancy Apricum, is due to make the case for technologically open business models at the Energy Storage Europe Conference 2017 in Düsseldorf, Germany.

These models can benefit most from the growth of international storage markets as flexibility becomes a key factor for success in the industry, he claims.

“Today storage markets are still comparatively small and characterised by individual, often geographically determined application cases,” he said. 
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Sharp: it’s the economy, stupid

Sharp is offering financing to make it easier for customers to buy storage products.

Sharp is offering financing to make it easier for customers to buy storage products. Pic: Otsu4, used under Creative Commons licence.

By Jason Deign

Electronics giant Sharp is pinning its hopes on no-brain financing to gain an uptick in underperforming US commercial and industrial (C&I) energy storage sales.

In September the company, which is an important solar panel maker, introduced a new financing programme for commercial SmartStorage energy storage systems sold with PV.

The no-money-down finance offer is provided by an un-named lender with capacity for up to USD$25m in project funding, equating to around 12MW of installed capacity over the next 12 months.

The financing packages are designed to give C&I customers a saving of at least 5% of annual utility costs, with no upfront investment.

The customer signs an energy service contract similar to a power-purchase agreement, explained Carl Mansfield, general manager and founder of Sharp’s Energy Systems and Services Group. 
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