NY-BEST Newsletter

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June 1, 2016

Last Thursday, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) staff convened an 'on the record' technical conference on energy storage at their offices in New York City. NY-BEST and a number of our members participated in the conference that was convened by PSC staff. The conference was a component of the ongoing Clean Energy Standard (CES) proceeding and had a stated purpose to discuss the deployment of energy storage resources within New York State and to advance REV goals, including the integration of renewables, improved system efficiency and customer energy management and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

During the conference, commission staff demonstrated strong interest in how energy storage can help the State meet REV goals, particularly with respect to using storage to provide support for widespread, high renewable energy generation. Several presenters throughout the day cited modeling that suggested a need for 4 to 8 GW of storage as reasonable targets and further made the point that these storage resources needn’t be physically co-located with the renewable resources. Staff asked NY-BEST to provide additional information to support the concept of ‘no regrets’ levels of required storage resources. The conference was webcast, and a recording is available on the PSC website (scroll down to Past Webcasts and look for the May 26th CES Technical Conference).

I’d like to thank the many NY-BEST member companies who participated in this important event, and invite others who would like to file comments to do so. The PSC will accept written comments addressing “aspects and and implications of energy storage” until June 9th. You can read more about the conference and how to submit comments here.

At the end of last week, ConEdison announced they will be conducting an auction on July 27 and 28, 2016 to procure demand response resources for the Brooklyn Queens Demand Management area.  A BQDM DR Forum will be held on the afternoon of Monday, June 6 at Con Edison Headquarters (4 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003) where they will provide market participants and stakeholders with additional information on the upcoming auction. All attendees are required to RSVP here by June 2.

And finally, if you are a NY-BEST member and have not yet completed a member survey, please take a moment to do so now. The survey includes 22 brief questions about your experience with NY-BEST. We have also included 7 questions related to the state-of-the-industry. These questions are optional and will be used in aggregate (no individual company data will be released) to help better inform us about the energy storage industry in New York State. Your feedback and membership is greatly appreciated and valued. Please complete the survey no later than June 3, 2016.​

Best Regards,

William Acker Signature

William Acker
Executive Director

Dr. William Acker

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NY-BEST Member News

Stem Wins $15M Investment From Mithril and Grows Its Energy Storage Portfolio to 68MWh
Stem just announced a $15 million add-on from Mithril Capital Management, bringing its Series C total to $68 million and its total venture funding to more than $110 million since its founding as Powergetics in 2010. Other investors in the firm include Angeleno Group, Iberdrola, GE Ventures, Constellation New Energy, Total Energy Ventures, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and RWE Supply & Trading. Stem combines big data, predictive analytics and energy storage to reduce electricity costs for businesses while delivering aggregated services to the grid.

How to Make a Battery in 7 Steps
From smartphones to electric cars and even the Tesla Powerwall, rechargeable batteries power our modern lives. But have you ever stopped to wonder what’s inside these devices that allow us to send emojis, drive around town and so much more? If so, check out the Advanced Battery Facility at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), one of the few experimental battery manufacturing labs that are open to the public. The facility enables scientists to test out all kinds of new materials -- including lithium, sulfur, sodium and magnesium -- to make batteries last longer and store more juice. The tests are helping scientists from National Labs, universities and industry find more powerful and safer replacements for today’s most common rechargeable battery, the lithium-ion battery.

Nissan home energy-storage battery: another front against Tesla?
The Nissan Leaf electric car doesn't compete directly with any of the luxury models from Tesla Motors, but Nissan is now targeting Tesla in a different arena. The Japanese carmaker will offer standalone battery packs for home energy storage. Available for pre-order in September, the xStorage line of battery packs was developed in concert with power-management company Eaton. In Europe—where the packs were designed—consumers will be able to avoid energy tariffs by connecting them to renewable-energy sources like solar panels, Nissan says. The ability to maximize utilization of home-solar arrays is expected to be one of the main benefits of energy-storage systems.

Storing The Sun’s Energy Just Got A Whole Lot Cheaper
With prices dropping rapidly for both renewables and battery storage, the economics of decarbonizing the grid are changing faster than most policymakers, journalists, and others realize. So, as part of my ongoing series, “Almost Everything You Know About Climate Change Solutions Is Outdated,” I will highlight individual case studies of this real-time revolution. My Monday post discussed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) report that in the first quarter, the U.S. grid added 18 megawatts of new natural gas generating capacity, but 1,291 MW of new renewables. But one of FERC’s “Electric Generation Highlights” for March deserves special attention as a leading indicator of the revolutionary new economics of solar plus storage:

National Grid and RES strike new energy storage deal
Renewable Energy Systems (RES) is to provide 20MW of frequency response to the national transmission network from battery storage for the first time in the UK. RES has signed a four-year contract with National Grid to use battery storage systems to help National Grid perform its system balancing role. RES’ systems will provide frequency response to the grid within one second of the detection of a frequency deviation. The two companies have been working on developing this service since 2014. It is expected to be fully operational within 18 months.

NYPA and SUNY to Build a Campus Microgrid at Gym in New Paltz
The New York Power Authority and the State University of New York (SUNY) are partnering to build a $1.37 million campus microgrid to supply power to a gym when the central grid fails. The campus microgrid will power the Elting Gymnasium, which is a designated Red Cross emergency shelter. The system includes 217-kW of solar, most of which will be installed on the gym’s roof with the remainder on the nearby Sojourner Truth Library. The project also includes a hybrid power converter, backup generator, and a battery storage system located in the gym’s basement.

Brookings analysis: Net metering benefits all ratepayers, not just solar users
A new Brookings Institution analysis indicates that net metering of solar power yields benefits for all ratepayers — not just customers generating their own electricity through solar arrays. The paper largely concludes the benefits associated with net metering outweigh the costs and don’t pose significant cost increases for non-solar ratepayers. Net metering allows solar power users to send excess electricity back to the electric grid in return for rate credits. Mark Muro and Devashree Saha, two fellows at Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program, authored the analysis, which became public today.

Tesla Considers LG Chem, Samsung SDI, & SK Innovation For Batteries
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” my old Irish grandmother liked to say. Tesla Motors is following her advice when it comes to who will supply it with batteries for its cars and energy storage products. Even though Panasonic is a major partner in the Gigafactory currently under construction in Nevada, the company still wants to have an anchor to windward and is turning its attention to several battery makers in Korea, according to Korea Times. LG Chem, which is heavily involved with General Motors and the Chevy Bolt, was the original supplier of battery cells for the Tesla Roadster. It already has built a good working relationship with Tesla based upon meeting production commitments, competitive pricing, and on-time delivery performance.

SolarCity and NRDC Paper: Rooftop Solar Generation Provides Net Benefit to All Nevada Utility Customers
Rooftop solar generation provides 1.6 cents of benefit per kilowatt-hour of energy generated, producing $7 million in benefits annually for all Nevada utility customers, according to a study released today by SolarCity and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). If environmental and health externalities are included, the benefits of rooftop solar increase to 3.4 cents per kilowatt-hour, and $14 million annually. The peer-reviewed paper, "Distributed Energy Resources in Nevada," is the first to quantify all the rooftop solar cost and benefit variables identified by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. The paper recommends policymakers and regulators develop advanced grid planning procedures that incorporate these benefits into the utility ratemaking process, which would enable Nevadans to see the benefits on their electricity bills and ensure that the state transitions to a cleaner, more affordable, and resilient grid.

A Battery Made From Metal and Air Is Electrifying the Developing World
Lithium-ion batteries are having a moment. After becoming the de facto battery in laptops and cell phones over the years, they’re now starting to power electric cars (like those made by Tesla) and plug into the power grid. But lithium-ion batteries aren’t the only battery type in town. Some brand new battery varieties could actually be more promising than lithium-ion when it comes to storing energy generated by solar panels or used to power remote villages in Africa, India, and Asia. Many of these new battery types are highly experimental in nature and are just coming out of university and corporate labs. But one of these new batteries isn’t a pipe dream, and it has quietly been sold to major telecom companies, utilities, and governments across the developing world over the last five years.

Pollution-free cars get a boost as new hydrogen filling station opens marking the start of an eco superhighway
The biggest gathering of super-green electric fuel-cell vehicles in Britain assembled for the opening of London's first ever hydrogen filling station on Tuesday. Clean fuel firm ITM Power is cut the red ribbon to open the fill-up station at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington. It is part of a planned 'hydrogen superhighway' network of refuelling stations for pollution-free fuel-cell cars. Four more are planned to encircle London, and one already exists in Rotherham close to where Sheffield-based ITM Power is based.

News From Beyond New York

Report: Solar+Storage Could Eliminate Electric Bills for California’s Affordable Housing Properties
Under current utility rate tariffs in California, solar plus energy storage could all but eliminate electric bills for the owners of affordable housing properties, according to a new report. The report found that the addition of storage technologies to a solar installation has the potential to nearly double stand-alone solar electricity bill savings at about a third of the cost of solar. For example, the report said that the addition of a $112,100 battery storage system to a $385,000 solar installation increased savings from $15,000 per year to $27,900 — an 85 percent increase. In addition, the report determined that solar plus storage projects result in a significantly shorter payback period than stand-alone solar projects.

FERC grants NYISO request to give behind-the-meter resources market access
Federal regulators have approved tariff changes that will allow behind-the-meter (BTM) resources in New York to participate in capacity and energy auctions, so long as they meet certain size and load requirements, RTO Insider reports. Resources participating in the markets must have nameplate generation of at least 2 MW, a minimum load of at least 1 MW, and an interconnection capable of exporting 1 MW into the state's transmission system. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said in its order that allowing BTM capacity into the markets "should improve the competitiveness, efficiency, and reliability of those markets."

$8.5 Million Raised By Viridity Energy
Battery storage solutions provider Viridity Energy has raised $8.5 million from AltEnergy LLC. Viridity makes demand response and management software to optimize energy revenue and cost reductions, in combination with battery storage solutions. AltEnergy is an investment firm that focuses on demand response, renewables, energy storage, high-voltage transmission, demand management, and cyber security. It invests in early stage and high-growth opportunities.

Proterra Announces New Battery Design, EV Simulator Offering
Proterra, a designer and manufacturer of zero-emission, battery-electric buses in North America, has announced a new battery design for the Proterra Catalyst XR transit vehicle and added the Proterra EV Simulator to its suite of products and services. The company says that the battery-enhanced vehicle, within the same energy storage footprint as the original Catalyst XR, now holds 28% more energy at 330 kWh and features a best-in-market lightweight vehicle body. Proterra adds that all current Catalyst XR customers will receive a complimentary upgrade to the higher energy level.

To Expand Clean Energy, New York Reforms Utility Regulations
The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved structural reforms to the regulations governing electric utilities – in turn, providing more choices and cost-saving opportunities for New Yorkers by expanding clean energy, says the PSC. The PSC has established new financial mechanisms that will help utilities meet the clean energy goals set forth in Reforming the Energy Vision, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s strategy to lead the fight against climate change and grow New York’s economy. Utilities will now be required to develop a more efficient and cleaner network through retail markets for distributed energy resources such as wind and solar, geothermal, fuel cells, combined heat and power, battery storage, and other advanced energy services.

China’s Lithium-Ion Battery Production Tripled In 2015
China’s lithium-ion battery market is booming thanks to government support for electric vehicles, according to a new report from CCM (a major market analysis firm for the country’s chemicals, agriculture, food, and life sciences, markets). The report revealed that in May 2016 alone, around RMB2.6 billion (~$400 million) was put into the country’s lithium-ion battery sector — most of the funds originating from Tianqi Lithium, Ganfeng Lithium, and GEM CO. The growth of the Chinese electrochemical energy storage market over the past 5 years has notably eclipsed the global average, the report also notes, with a CAGR (2010–2015) of 110%. That’s roughly 6 times higher than the global figure. The lithium-ion battery market accounted for about 66% of that market.

A grid of DERs: DOE program aims for 100% solar penetration on the distribution system
The U.S. had 24 GW of solar and 75 GW of wind at the end of 2015. Both are growing faster than ever. The EIA’s just-released Annual Energy Outlook 2016 forecasts 246 GW of new solar and 149 GW of new wind by 2040, and that’s from an agency that chronically underestimates renewables growth. The Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative is pushing the growth along, aiming to cut the cost of solar electricity to $0.06/kWh by 2020, excluding incentives. That would make solar cost-competitive with conventional generation and grow it from today’s 1% of the power mix to “about 14% by 2030 and 27% by 2050,” according to department estimates.

Calif. Study Gauges Benefits Of Solar + Storage For Low-Income Housing
Combining battery energy storage with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems would lead to significant electric bill savings for both property owners and residents of multifamily affordable rental housing in California, according to a new report from the California Housing Partnership, Center for Sustainable Energy and Clean Energy Group. The authors say the report findings are particularly important given the 2015 passage of A.B.693, which established the state’s Multifamily Affordable Housing Solar Roofs program and provides up to $1 billion in cap-and-trade funding over 10 years to create incentives for installing solar PV systems starting in 2017.