New love for US pumped hydro?

The pumped hydro project on El Hierro, Spain, is failing to meet expectations. The US faces a glut of applications for similar projects, which will face challenges of their own. Pic: Animam.photography.

The pumped hydro project on El Hierro, Spain, is not meeting expectations. The US faces a glut of applications for similar projects, which will face challenges of their own. Pic: Animam.photography.

By Jason Deign

Pumped hydro, the forgotten granddaddy of energy storage, seems back in fashion: records show 19 new project applications were filed in the US this year.
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California: “We are just getting started”

California's demand for energy storage is set to soar to new heights as renewables accentuate the duck curve. Pic: egorshitikov/Pixabay.

California’s demand for energy storage is set to soar to new heights as renewables accentuate the duck curve. Pic: egorshitikov/Pixabay.

By Jason Deign

If you thought California’s lead as an energy storage market might fade in the face of upstarts such as Australia or Germany, then think again. Recent moves might see new gigawatts of capacity being installed across the state by 2020.
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Europe chases GWh energy storage

The door is opening for technologies such as CAES. Pic: ALACAES.

The door is opening for technologies such as CAES. Pic: ALACAES.

By Jason Deign

Gaelectric’s Larne project funding approval this month has focused attention on European efforts to develop large-scale storage technologies that could rival pumped hydro.

Dublin, Ireland-based Gaelectric was granted €90m in European Union backing for a compressed air energy storage (CAES) project due to be built in Larne, east Antrim, on the Northern Irish coast.

The funding came on top of €15m in previous grants, the BBC reported. The Larne CAES project, due for completion around 2022, is a European project of common interest that will generate up to 330MW of power for up to six hours.

Being developed in association with Dresser-Rand, it will store compressed air in two caverns located in salt deposits below ground. When needed, the air would be re-heated using natural gas and, on expansion, drive a turbine.

The plant’s compressors will also provide up to 250MW of demand response to mop up excess wind capacity on the Northern Irish grid, which only has limited connections to electricity networks on Ireland and Great Britain. 
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Industry reaches turning point

The industry's ability to deliver will be under the spotlight as experts gather at the Energy Storage World Forum next month. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

The industry’s ability to deliver will be under the spotlight as experts gather at the Energy Storage World Forum next month. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

By Jason Deign

Speakers from 22 countries will be gathering at the 10th Energy Storage World Forum and 4th Residential Energy Storage Forum in Berlin next month at a critical point for the industry.

Tesla’s recent pledge to build a 100MWh battery plant in Australia within 100 days, or give it away for free, has put the industry under unprecedented pressure to deliver on its promises.

Tesla energy division boss Lyndon Rive offered to install between 100MWh and 300MWh of battery capacity at breakneck speed in South Australia when he introduced Tesla’s new Powerwall and Powerpack systems in March.

The seemingly throwaway comment was picked up in local news reports and prompted Australian software tycoon Mike Cannon-Brookes to reach out to Tesla CEO Elon Musk over whether the offer was for real.

Musk said it was, and added the Australians wouldn’t have to pay for the system if Tesla failed to deliver it within 100 days of a contract. 
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