How value stacking could boost profits by “several millions of dollars a year”

GridSME's model can help solar firms make more cash from their plants. Pic: Cypress Creek Renewables.

GridSME’s model can help solar firms make more cash from their plants. Pic: Cypress Creek Renewables.

By Jason Deign

Stacking multiple energy storage applications could improve the profitability of assets by “several millions of dollars a year,” an expert has said.
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US energy storage momentum builds with two significant announcements

Enel Green Power carried off the lion’s share of new storage capacity procured by PG&E. Shown here: Enel Green Power technicians at a wind farm in Minnesota. Pic: Enel.

By Jason Deign

The US energy storage sector looks set to enter 2018 at full throttle following developments in two key markets over the last week.
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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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The concept that could put AC on ice

Ice Energy's remarkable storage compound is colourless, odourless and so safe you can drink it. Pic: Pixabay.

Ice Energy’s remarkable storage compound is colourless, odourless and so safe you can drink it. Pic: Pixabay.

By Jason Deign

Thermal energy storage such as that being commercialised by Ice Energy may have a much greater impact than just doing away with the duck curve.

If sold at scale, it could also effectively put traditional air conditioning (AC) out of business in large areas of the world where AC is essential for daytime workplace and home cooling.

Ice Energy is already bracing itself for growing demand in sunny US territories where increasing distributed solar penetration is causing regulators to move away from net metering plans.

In places such as Hawaii, the shift away from net metering is depriving solar-equipped homeowners of electricity bill reductions and forcing them to look at alternative ways to save money with PV. Powering AC units is one option.

AC is one of the biggest daytime and evening energy loads of households in hot locations. With net metering, much of electricity you need to drive AC units can come for free from any excess you have poured into the grid. 
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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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Sharp’s money magic makes storage more viable

New Sharp energy storage finance packages and solar plus storage bundles are being pushed at the commercial and industrial market in California.

New Sharp energy storage finance packages and solar plus storage bundles are being pushed at the commercial and industrial market in California. Photo: Miyuki Meinaka

By Jason Deign

Sharp is relying on financial nous as well as technical expertise to improve the numbers for commercial and industrial energy storage in the US.

Tricks such as providing financing packages or bundling storage with solar to take advantage of investment tax credits are helping to make projects more viable, said Carl Mansfield of Sharp’s Energy Systems and Services Group.

The moves are in response to complications with California’s Assembly Bill 2514 incentive scheme, he said.

Earlier this year, “one of the things that changed in California was that the incentive programme became log-jammed,” said Mansfield, who is general manager and founder of the Energy Systems and Services Group.

“We’ve been working through the past several months with models where the deployment doesn’t really need that incentive in order to be viable.”
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Storage put to test in Orange County pilot

The Southern California Edison Preferred Resources Pilot in Orange County is pitting distributed renewable energy and energy storage against the solar duck curve. Photo credit: SCE

The Southern California Edison Preferred Resources Pilot in Orange County is pitting distributed renewable energy and energy storage against the solar duck curve. Photo credit: SCE

By Jason Deign

Batteries look set to face a major challenge in a pilot where energy delivery is needed when it makes more commercial sense to store it.

The business model for storage will be tested to the full in the Southern California Edison (SCE) Preferred Resources Pilot (PRP) because load peaks are expected to coincide with maximum solar output periods.

This means energy in the pilot area of central Orange County, California, will be at its cheapest precisely when it would usually be best to store power rather than discharge it.

The unusual set of circumstances is likely to occur because the area has heavy daytime peak loads with little local generation capacity following the closure of the 2.2GW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

As a result, energy needs to be brought in from outside the area, straining the transmission network served by two SCE substations, Johanna and Santiago, and increasing flows with neighbouring San Diego Gas & Electric’s grid.
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Renewable producers target short-term storage

Independent power producers and energy storage: IPPs are likely to focus on short-term energy storage in markets like California, SunEdison says. Photo: A SunEdison Outdoor Microstation

Independent power producers and energy storage: IPPs are likely to focus on short-term energy storage in markets like California, SunEdison says. Photo: A SunEdison Outdoor Microstation.

By Jason Deign

Independent power producers (IPP) considering the booming California energy storage market will most likely target short-term, power-based applications, Energy Storage Report has learned.

“IPPs will focus on power applications just because of the design of the [storage] target,” said SunEdison’s director of Grid Energy Storage, Faisal El Azzouzi, ahead of his appearance at Energy Storage USA 2015.

SunEdison is evaluating energy storage technologies and applications with a view to possible deployment in California, where a 1.3GW mandate through Assembly Bill 2514 (AB2514) is creating interest in new projects.

However, said El Azzouzi, the structure of the Californian market drives IPPs to focus on short-term storage applications and leave longer-duration tasks, such as energy shifting, to the utilities.
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