Ice Energy’s plan to end the duck curve

Ice Energy hopes to counter the Californian duck curve by replacing traditional air conditioning with ice energy storage. Pic: Ice Energy.

Ice Energy hopes to counter the Californian duck curve by replacing traditional air conditioning with ice energy storage. Pic: Ice Energy.

By Jason Deign

Thermal energy storage developer Ice Energy is gearing up to increase sales of a product that has the potential to end California’s famous ‘duck curve’.

The Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) has already announced plans to buy up to 100 of Ice Energy’s Ice Bear 20 residential cooling systems, which completed testing about a month ago.

The 20 ton-hour systems use energy when there is excess production, for example at night, to create ice that is then used for cooling during peak electricity consumption periods, such as evenings.

“At 9.6kW per Ice Bear 20, the order will potentially add nearly 1MW of new energy storage and peak demand reduction capacity to the SCPPA network, saving energy, improving efficiency and reducing emissions,” said Ice Energy.

The deal marks Ice Energy’s debut in the residential energy storage market, a move the company unveiled in Energy Storage Report last year, and follows growing utility interest in using Ice Bears for demand response. 
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The utility response to grid defection

Utility responses to grid defection will be one of the many topics being discussed at the Energy Storage World Forum in Berlin this May. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

Utility responses to grid defection will be one of the many topics being discussed at the Energy Storage World Forum in Berlin this May. Pic: Energy Storage World Forum.

By Mike Stone

Utilities are seeking new ways to respond to grid defection as the economics of solar-plus-storage make it easier for homeowners to disconnect.

A report called The Economics of Grid Defection, by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), concludes that in territories such as Hawaii off-grid solar plus storage is already economically competitive with remaining on the electricity network.

Tens of millions of customers will defect in other areas such as California and New York as solar plus storage achieves grid parity by 2030, and possibly even 2020, the RMI predicts.

And grid defection is by no means a US-only phenomenon.

In many parts of Australia and Germany, for example, the business case for residential PV and storage is still far from convincing, but that has not stopped homeowners from installing systems for a whole host of other reasons. 
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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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TenneT: “Storage is needed”

What is the future for grid-scale energy storage in Europe? We ask the Netherlands TSO TenneT, a key speaker at Commercialising Grid-Scale Energy Storage Global Congress 2015. Photo credit: TenneT

What is the future for grid-scale energy storage in Europe? We ask the Netherlands TSO TenneT, a speaker at Commercialising Grid-Scale Energy Storage Global Congress. Photo: TenneT

Previously published by Commercialising Grid-Scale Energy Storage Global Congress 2015. Republished with permission.

If you’re wondering what the future holds for grid-scale energy storage in Europe then it helps to speak to the people who run Europe’s grids.

That includes organisations such as TenneT, the independent owner and operator of 100% of the high-voltage electricity grid in the Netherlands and around 30% of the high-voltage grid in Germany.

As a Transmission System Operator (TSO), TenneT’s principal tasks are to provide power transmission and system services and facilitate the functioning and development of the electricity market.

At the end of 2014, TenneT, which is currently 100% owned by the state of the Netherlands, owned around €13.7bn of assets, of which 15% are located in the Netherlands and 85% in Germany.

Here Bianca van Ommen, of TenneT’s mergers and acquisitions business development unit, talks about the role that energy storage could play in the TSO’s future operations.
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Eos plans international expansion next year

Eos Energy Storage talks about its future business plans – which include global expansion for the grid-scale Eos Aurora battery. Photo credit: Ideal Power

Eos Energy Storage talks about its future business plans – which include global expansion for the grid-scale Eos Aurora battery system. Photo credit: Ideal Power

By Jason Deign

Eos Energy Storage, the New York, US, grid-scale battery manufacturer, is planning to expand internationally in the second half of 2016.

Philippe Bouchard, vice president of business development, told Energy Storage Report the company was looking at opportunities in Australia, India and South Africa. “You could also add Europe to that list,” he said.

The news follows two additions to the Eos executive team in July, when former Aquion Energy man Donald Humphreys joined as vice president of manufacturing and Jim Morgenson, ex of SMA, took over sales.

At the same time, the company confirmed it had taken more than 8GWh of qualified pre-orders for its Aurora 1000/4000 containerised 1 MW DC battery system, which it says will sell for USD$160/kWh ‘in volume’.
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US incentives for energy storage

PG&E recently inaugurated the largest battery energy storage system in California at Yerba Buena, San Jose.

PG&E – one of the utilities that must introduce a PLS programme – recently inaugurated the largest battery energy storage system in California, at Yerba Buena, San Jose. Photo credit: PG&E

We are firm believers that most new technologies that might have benefits for society and the planet will never triumph through blind market forces alone and need to have at least some of their costs subsidised before they gain the economies of scale needed to compete successfully.

Thankfully, despite its free market rhetoric, the US government seems as wedded to Keynesianism as those of Europe, either through direct incentives, tax-breaks and partnerships, or through the perennial back-door of the Pentagon’s military budget.
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Energy storage key to utility trends

David Owens of the Edison Electric Institute debates energy storage at the National Town Meeting on Demand Response.

David Owens of the Edison Electric Institute debates energy storage at the National Town Meeting on Demand Response. Photo credit: Momenta Creative Photography

Reporting on the recent National Town Meeting on Demand Response, an official Siemens blog highlights energy storage as a big factor in changing the utility game.
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Who should store energy?

This was the question most recently asked by Rasika Gokhale Athawale, in an article for Asian Power, and the big versus small, centralised versus distributed debate is one of the key conversations in the emerging energy storage sector. The central question being asked is: should energy be stored locally, in a household or community or office building, or are utilities better placed to do so?

Athawale also discusses a mid-sized model, consisting of between 20 and 100 households. Our opinion at Energy Storage Report is that local and utility storage are both essential at this point in time. Local solutions have already proven their worth during disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, and some prestigious buildings are planning to have their own energy storage back up (see below).

You can use domestic energy storage to save excess power from a PV panel on your roof for when you need it, or sell it to a grid when other users’ demand is high. But with big renewable generation comes big variability, and consequently you need big energy storage solutions to soak up the extra, then use it to fill the gaps.