US energy storage gets serious this summer

Energy Storage USA 2015 will come at a critical time when energy storage deployments are beginning to gather momentum. Photo credit: San Diego Gas & Electric
Energy Storage USA 2015 will come at a critical time when energy storage deployments are beginning to gather momentum. Photo credit: San Diego Gas & Electric
Energy Storage USA 2015 will come at a critical time when energy storage deployments are beginning to gather momentum. Photo credit: San Diego Gas & Electric

Energy Storage USA 2015 will come at a critical time when energy storage deployments are beginning to gather momentum. Photo credit: San Diego Gas & Electric

The commercial value of grid-scale energy storage looks set to undergo its strongest test to date in the USA this summer.

California’s grid is expected to strain as the impact of midday solar power production and afternoon air conditioning rises to highest-ever levels, with only energy storage promising to curtail the system operator’s infamous ‘duck curve’ in net load.

Meanwhile New York State is rushing to deploy energy storage before the shutdown of the last nuclear reactor at the Indian Point Energy Center at the end of this year. It too will be looking to use energy storage to cope with air-con loads over the summer.

Against this backdrop, utilities will be gathering at Energy Storage USA 2015 in San Diego to review progress on early pilots in California and elsewhere.

One of the star speakers at the event will be Rosalie Roth of Southern California Edison (SCE), who will talk about how the company has assessed the viability and cost-effectiveness of different technologies during its procurement process.

A 250MW commitment

SCE has a 250MW storage commitment under the California Public Utilities Commission’s Assembly Bill 2514 (AB 2514), which makes it one of the world’s top purchasers of energy-storing systems.

Roth, who will be presenting alongside Burbank Water & Power’s power resources manager Lincoln Bleveans, is due to review how the AB 2514 procurement framework has worked in practice and the steps being taken to streamline the process in the future.

Another SCE expert, senior engineer Paul Delaney, is set to discuss the types of technology and applications end users are investigating and the financial and performance benefits of storage technologies at the transmission and distribution levels.

Also comparing energy storage cost and performance data will be Jacob McKee, head of PV engineering at the German energy giant E.ON, and Hank Price, chief technology officer at Abengoa.

Abengoa’s presence at the event is significant because the company works with molten salt thermal storage.

This currently accounts for the biggest slice of US energy storage capacity outside of pumped hydro applications, with 541MW in existing and planned projects, according to Energy Storage Update’s US Energy Storage Technology Outlook report.

The battery market

Representing the battery market, meanwhile, will be speakers from NEC Energy Solutions and S&C Electric Company.

Last but not least, for companies looking for state support in energy storage commercialisation there will be a keynote address from Peter Davidson, executive director of the Loan Programs Office at the US Department of Energy.

He will speak of how the Loan Programs Office is supporting the commercial deployment of energy storage technologies and the funding options available to accelerate the commercialisation process.

“Energy storage is taking off in the US, but for many companies in the technology ecosystem it is still a struggle to get in front of customers with a compelling product,” said Jack Ahearne, Energy Storage Update’s head of strategy and development.

Energy Storage USA 2015 will come at a critical time when energy storage deployments are beginning to gather momentum and utilities are building on the experience of their early pilots. Companies missing out on this event could risk missing out on critical knowledge at a crucial juncture in the development of the US market.”

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