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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Don’t believe the public utilities: California rocks

Despite lack of interest from public utilities, the Southern California Edison (SCE) announcement of the winners of its 250MW procurement shows the California energy storage market is growing rapidly. Photo credit: AES Energy Storage

Despite lack of interest from public utilities, the Southern California Edison (SCE) announcement of the winners of its 250MW procurement shows the California energy storage market is growing rapidly. Photo credit: AES Energy Storage

The California energy storage market is coming to life in spite of lacklustre backing from the state’s publicly owned utilities. Last week, Southern California Edison (SCE) announced the winners of contracts for 250MW of energy storage, Greentechmedia said, even as California’s publicly owned utilities committed to a mere 27.6MW by 2016, according to the Energy Matters blog.

The blog claims the California public utilities’ targets, all submitted in response to the Assembly Bill 2514 on energy storage procurement, represent about 0.1% of their combined peak load.

The 27.6MW commitment pretty much all came from just two providers: Redding Public Utilities and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
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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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Conference to feature biggest names in energy storage

The NY-BEST Capture the Energy conference will explore developments in technology, policy and opportunities for energy storage in New York and California.

Developments in technology, policy and opportunities for energy storage in New York and California will be examined at the NY-BEST Capture the Energy conference. Photo credit: Matt H Wade

Vendors and developers are set to get insights into two of energy storage’s most important global markets at a key industry event next week. Progress in California will come under the spotlight as Arthur O’Donnell, energy division supervisor of the state’s Public Utilities Commission, takes the stage at the New York Battery and Energy Storage (NY-BEST) two-day annual conference, Capture the Energy. O’Donnell will be sharing a panel with Margarett Jolly, director research and development at ConEdison of New York, in a panel session titled ‘Expanding markets for energy storage on the grid.’ ConEdison is currently moving ahead with an incentive programme that includes energy storage.

The whole State of New York, meanwhile, is tipped to become one of the big energy storage hotspots in the US, after California, with recent studies indicating the industry could yield more than 11,000 new jobs state-wide by 2020 and 43,000 new jobs by 2030.
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