The big news in the battery business this week is Tesla Motors’ announcement that they are going to build a battery “Gigafactory” that will cost up to $5 billion and allow the company to sell as many as 500,000 vehicles a year. According to Tesla, the factory will cover 500 to 1,000 acres and employ up to 6,500 workers.
As outlined in Bill Acker’s February 3rd blog and NY-BEST’s recent newsletter, ConEdison, in conjunction with NYSERDA and the New York Department of Public Service, has just introduced proposed incentives for energy storage and demand response measures that are among the highest in the nation. These incentives--subject to final approval--will provide $2,100 per kW for battery storage and $2,600 per kW for thermal storage projects. Projects must meet a minimum size of 50kW and must be installed and operational by June 1, 2016.
Exciting new opportunities are emerging for energy storage in New York. Last week, Consolidated Edison (ConEd) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the details of a plan to incentivize the installation of energy storage in ConEd’s service territory. New York State leaders frequently use the phrase “market animation” meaning that regulatory and financial initiatives should catalyze and launch vibrant markets. The newly proposed energy storage incentives are an important step in achieving this objective.
In recent weeks, NYISO held a workshop on the subject of distributed energy resources, or DER. Utilities are increasingly seeing behind-the-meter resources of several types entering the grid. The explosive growth in photovoltaic systems is the most visible aspect of this, with nearly a gigawatt of new PV installed in the US in just the 3rd quarter of this year. But other resources such as cogeneration systems and energy storage are also an important part of the story.
One of the most interesting sessions at the recent NY-BEST Technology Conference was the one on Thermal and Mechanical Storage. It was a good reminder that there is more going on in the energy storage world than batteries. Ultracapacitors and fuel cells are also areas of significant activity, but electrochemical technologies are not the only technologies in play. Indeed, pumped hydro energy storage is still the largest capacity form of grid energy storage with over 127 GW worldwide. However, pumped hydro is by no means the only game in town.