The next big US battery markets

PJM energy storage installations have overtaken those in California, while Hawaii solar-plus-storage is also a huge US energy storage growth market. Photo credit: RES Americas

PJM energy storage installations have overtaken those in California, while Hawaii solar-plus-storage is also a huge US energy storage growth market. Photo credit: RES Americas

By Jason Deign

At least two US regions outside California now represent double-digit markets for electrochemical energy storage, in terms of the number of projects and megawatts installed.

A new report from Energy Storage Update shows PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organisation, clocking up 28 battery projects and more than 126MW. Hawaii, meanwhile, has 19 projects and 38MW.

PJM overtook California for utility-scale battery installations in the third quarter of 2015, according to US Energy Storage Association data.

A further 28 projects, summing 95.7MW, are under construction in the market and 48 more, totalling 668.3MW, are under review, the Newly emerging energy storage markets Guide 2016 says.

“The PJM market is particularly attractive for battery storage deployment for frequency regulation services,” says the guide. “In 2015, the average hourly regulation market clearing price was USD$31 per MWh.”
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New report reviews top US projects

Grid-scale energy storage projects in the USA are causing problems for utilities, according to a report from Energy Storage Update. Photo: Borrego Springs microgrid, San Diego Gas & Electric Company

Grid-scale energy storage projects in the USA are a challenge for utilities, says an Energy Storage Update report. Photo: Borrego Springs microgrid, San Diego Gas & Electric

By Jason Deign

Grid-scale energy storage projects are still a challenge for US utilities, according to a new report from Energy Storage Report sponsor Energy Storage Update.

The free US Energy Storage Projects and Prospects Guide 2016 focuses on three leading battery plants and reveals two of them have experienced significant setbacks since they started.

Notrees, which is owned by Duke Energy in Texas, and Tehachapi, belonging to Southern California Edison (SCE) in California, both had problems with battery vendors and have subsequently had to overcome additional hurdles.

At Notrees, a 36MW, 24MWh plant that was commissioned in October 2012, the original battery provider, Xtreme Power, went out of business. The vendor’s assets ended up with the German energy storage project developer Younicos.

At the same time, however, Duke discovered the advanced lead-acid batteries installed by Xtreme were a poor fit to the storage applications emerging at Notrees, which was leading to more rapid battery degradation than expected.
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Research shows Italy leading in grid storage

New research shows grid energy storage in Italy is the biggest market in Europe. Sodium battery technology dominates, thanks to the Terna SANC project which uses NAS battery systems from NGK Insulators.

New research shows grid energy storage in Italy is the biggest market in Europe. Sodium battery technology dominates, thanks to the Terna SANC project which uses NAS battery systems from NGK Insulators. Photo credit: Terna SpA

Germany might get most of the attention but when it comes to European grid-scale battery storage the real action is in Italy, a new report says. Based on an analysis of US Department of Energy data for Energy Storage Update Europe 2015, Top markets for energy storage in Europe shows Italy dominating in grid-scale storage by a large margin.

Thanks mainly to a gigantic battery installation by Terna, the transmission system operator (TSO), Italy has almost double the amount of battery capacity in train as the next 11 largest European energy storage markets put together.

Terna’s SANC complex in Campania, totalling more than 278MWh of storage, not only surpasses the battery storage capacity of any other European market but also skews the electrochemical technology mix for the whole continent.

It means Europe’s dominant electrochemical technology for grid-scale applications is set to be sodium-based batteries, rather than lithium-ion, for some time.
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Utility heavyweights gather for US event

Many of the world’s most important energy storage companies are about to gather at the Energy Storage USA 2015 conference in San Diego. Photo credit: Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Many of the world’s most important energy storage companies are about to gather at the Energy Storage USA 2015 conference in San Diego. Photo credit: PG&E

By Jason Deign

Speakers representing some of the world’s most important energy storage purchasers are set to gather at the Energy Storage USA 2015 conference in a fortnight.

Scheduled to appear at the event are utility heavyweights of the stature of Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), NextEra Energy Resources, E.ON and Burbank Water and Power.

The line-up promises to give attendees unparalleled access to decision makers in charge of energy storage selection, said Jack Ahearne, head of strategy and development for Energy Storage Update.

“The timing of this event is highly significant for those seeking to commercialise energy storage in the USA,” he said.

“Energy storage is now a real focus for government bodies such as the DoE and major institutional investors from around the world. Any company serious about developing energy storage in the US will want to make sure they attend.”

Commercialising energy storage

Efforts to commercialise energy storage in the US were given a boost this month when news broke that the government had attracted USD$4bn in renewable energy funding from private-sector backers.
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Report reveals risk for energy storage technologies in US

A new report shows emerging energy storage technologies in the US may face challenges as utilities stick to tried-and-tested technologies. Photo credit: Discovery Cube OC science centre, site of a Southern California Edison energy storage project using lithium-ion battery technology, Edison International

Emerging energy storage technologies in the US may face challenges as utilities stick to older technologies. Photo: Discovery Cube OC science centre, site of a Southern California Edison energy storage project, Edison International

A new report is expected to show emerging energy storage technologies may face commercialisation challenges as utilities stick to tried-and-tested technologies from reputable vendors.

Early indications are that US power companies are shunning innovative technologies and early-stage developers in favour of tried-and-tested equipment from major suppliers, according to the report from Energy Storage Update.

One source quoted in the report says around 60% of the storage currently being considered for installation across Californian utilities is likely to be in the form of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries.

The balance will probably be small-scale hydro, natural gas compression, liquid air storage and flywheels.

Another source, from Southern California Edison, indicated that the company’s energy storage testing programme was all using lithium-ion batteries.

Elsewhere, utility respondents also expressed a clear preference for industry-leading suppliers such as Sharp, LG Chem and Panasonic. “Big companies like ours only like to deal with more established companies, with actual balance sheets,” said one.
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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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