BY RICHARD HEAP:
Energy operators are increasingly aware of how software can boost profits at wind and solar farms. Now they want the same for storage.
This week, Capital Dynamics affiliate Arevon Energy has picked Power Factors to help it optimise the performance of the 100MW / 400MWh Saticoy battery storage project in California. This is one of the largest operational storage projects in North America. It is owned in a 51:49 joint venture by Capital Dynamics and S&B USA Energy, and was developed by Strata Clean Energy.
Now this could look like a purely technical story.
Power Factors has added functionality to its Drive asset management platform to enable operators to see how storage projects are performing. Its first user Arevon is using this to help it extract more value from Saticoy.
But the most interesting aspect is what it says about batteries as an asset class.
Battery storage is a fast-growing and maturing sector. It is gaining huge interest from investors as the levelised costs of energy from batteries fall. The upshot of this interest is that institutional investors will subject batteries – and other storage projects – to the same scrutiny as with other renewables assets.
Investors will look to digital asset management platforms for insights that can boost profitability of projects; establish best practice in asset management; and find out which suppliers systems deliver the best returns and least problems.
It can help give them a competitive edge, as Capital Dynamics has recognised.
Leading the charge
Power Factors said the new storage functions in Drive would help operators to track how their batteries are performing compared to their warranties; their batteries’ state of charge; and track their charging cycles.
The firm is also looking to add advanced analytics, digital twin virtual models, and dispatch schedule optimisation tools.
It said these improvements are being demanded by operators that want to track the performance of their renewables generation and storage assets in one software system.
Abilash Krishnan, vice president of product at Power Factors said storage “is the fastest-growing renewable energy asset class and our customers have been asking for a complete solution for managing all their renewable power assets”. The fact that digital asset management is increasingly used in wind and solar will drive its uptake in storage too, as operators add storage to their projects.
Anand Narayan, vice president of asset management at Arevon, said Saticoy is the first of three large batteries where it will be working with Power Factors this year. He said the use of digital asset management technologies would help it and Capital Dynamics “to compete successfully in this emerging space”.
Companies in the storage space are in a fight to ensure assets are as profitable as they can be. It’s one reason we expect digitalisation in storage to grow fast.
Beyond that, digitalisation can also help speed up the maturation of storage.
First, digital asset management platforms will show operators the technologies that are performing most effectively, and thus make the most financial sense. This will speed up the process of sorting winning suppliers from the also rans.
Second, it will help companies to establish best practice in how they manage their storage assets at an early stage, rather than having to reverse-engineer processes later. This will help firms to quickly learn how to manage assets.
And third, demand for digitalisation in storage from firms such as Capital Dynamics will spark action from industry bodies to standardise how data is collected and used at storage projects. This should include the data transfer standards and key performance indicators that are needed to incorporate storage into a greener electricity system.
Battery storage is becoming a big part of the energy system. Operators need to be able to monitor, manage and optimise how their assets are performing. Using software smartly can play an important role in that process.