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. 
Read more →

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.”
Read more →

Islands of energy storage

Island energy storage projects offer a test bed for the systems and technologies that might proliferate on the mainland on a much larger scale. Photo credit: El Hierro renewable energy project, ABB energy storage systems

Island energy storage projects offer a test bed for the systems and technologies that might proliferate on the mainland on a much larger scale. Photo credit: El Hierro renewable energy project, ABB energy storage systems

Energy storage for island communities has been in the news a lot recently. Hawaii has been seeking out up to 200MW of storage, while El Hierro in the Canaries is set to become the first island to rely entirely on wind and pumped hydro power next month.

Meanwhile, the millionaire’s playground of Necker Island in the Caribbean and several more are looking to invest in various technologies that store energy. The reasons are hardly surprising.

Islands are usually isolated from large mainland grids and shipping or in some cases even flying in diesel to generate energy is expensive. As a result, island-dwellers, such as those in Hawaii and the Caribbean, suffer high energy bills.
Read more →

A123 unit goes Hawaii Live-O

A123 Long Duration grid storage system. Pic courtesy of A123 Systems

A123 Long Duration grid storage system. Pic courtesy of A123 Systems

A123 Energy Solutions yesterday announced the first commissioning of its Long Duration grid storage system in Hawaii for the Maui Electric Company (MECO). The energy storage installation can provide 1MW for up to one hour and will perform services to increase electric grid operational efficiency, stability and power quality.

Installed at an existing MECO substation, the 1MWh energy storage system was packaged in a 20-foot container and shipped to the site fully assembled and tested. A123 Energy Solutions provided the engineering, procurement, construction, installation and testing.

A key component of the Maui Smart Grid Project, the battery will provide peak-load shifting, voltage regulation, reactive power support and wind curtailment relief. “This installation is the second site we’ve commissioned on the island of Maui in the past five months,” said Bud Collins, President of A123 Energy Solutions.

“But while the 11MW commissioned in December of last year was comprised of our widely deployed High Rate systems, this is the first time we’ve commissioned the Long Duration product. We’re very happy with how smoothly the installation went. The entire process took about five weeks from start of construction up to the completion of commissioning.”

Honolulu building gets battery energy storage

The relative isolation and high price of electricity in Hawaii is leading to a lot of projects featuring energy storage in the island state. The latest is a batteries and power management system that will allow a Honolulu building to use its elevators during power outages, without the need for a backup diesel generator.

The ZBB Energy Corp-supplied NIDON Clean Energy system will integrate both power from the electrical grid as well as renewable energy from the building a 20-kilowatt solar system, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Auwahi Wind and energy storage facility goes online

It’s always good to see a project through to the end, so we were delighted to read in North American Wind Power that the Auwahi Wind facility in Hawaii, originally announced in May 2012, was now up and running.

According to owners Sempra US Gas & Power, and BP Wind Energy, the eight Siemens-supplied turbines on the site will generate enough clean energy to power about 10,000 typical Maui homes.

That power is being sold to Maui Electric Co. under a 20-year contract, and the project also features a 10 MW battery capable of storing 4.4 MWh, to plug the energy gap on less windy days, says the report.