NY-BEST Newsletter 2015-1-22


 
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January 22, 2015


Yesterday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo presented his “2015 Opportunity Agenda” at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. Among the priorities called for in the plan is an increase in funding for battery research and development—including $65 million for three projects to expand research capabilities at Brookhaven National Lab and allow commercial developers to make use of their HEX (High Energy X-ray) line for battery testing. This commitment is a clear sign of Governor Cuomo’s continuing belief in the value of the energy storage industry, and we are grateful for his leadership and support. The Governor’s full 2015 Opportunity Agenda policy book is available here, and the corresponding presentation is available here.

The current market for energy storage on the grid is real and growing, but reaching the market’s full potential requires the creation of appropriate market conditions and rules that allow companies to monetize the value they are delivering. New York State is in a leadership position on taking these steps through the State’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding. While steps are being made to open the markets, these changes take time. This week, GE announced (see story below) that they will be reducing the production rate at their Durathon battery plant in Schenectady in a move to match production to current market conditions. The company has taken steps to insure that they can ramp production to meet future demand as the market matures and grows. NY-BEST does not view this as a reduction in the outlook for energy storage on the electricity grid, but rather it further invigorates our efforts to work with our industry, government, regulators and stakeholders to accelerate the utilization of energy storage on the electricity grid.

Two quick reminders of upcoming NY-BEST events — ourupcoming free webinar “Energy Storage Outlook in New York State”to be held on February 5th at 2:00PM-3:00PM Eastern in which we will review progress over the past year and outline the major activities, goals and events for 2015. I hope you will join us for this free webinar.

The NY-BEST Annual Meeting and Capture the Energy Conferencewill be held on at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy, New York. This annual event is NY-BEST’s largest and has grown to become the largest energy storage event in the Northeastern US. We have a great agenda and first class lineup of speakers on tap. Please plan to join us, and remember that sponsorship opportunities are available.
 

I'd like to welcome the newest member of NY-BEST:

  • NGK-Locke, Inc. (Mizuho, Japan) began its operation in the United States in 1965 under the name of NGK Insulators of America, Inc., as an exclusive sales division of NGK Insulators, Ltd., Japan. The name became NGK-Locke, Inc., when a joint venture between General Electric and NGK was formed. NGK Insulators manufactures sodium sulfur (NAS) batteries for large scale energy storage.

Best Regards,

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William P. Acker
Executive Director

Dr. William Acker

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Latest News

The Latest News From The Battery And Energy Storage Industry

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NY-BEST Member News

Cuomo budget increases investment in renewable energy
Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal would increase funding for energy and environment initiatives and increase the state's focus on renewable energy while reducing its use of fossil fuels.The state will invest $65 million in the Brookhaven National Laboratory to develop better battery storage technology, which is considered one of the key areas of growth for the renewable industry. The P.S.C. would also review projects that will promote energy efficiency, including new technological improvements in energy storage and home automation.

ARPA-E grid and microgrid storage projects to be accredited by DNV GL
Grid storage and distributed energy technologies overseen by the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) in the US will be accredited by technical advisory service DNV GL for the next four years. The arrangement between DNV GL and ARPA-A and their partners--including NY-BEST--willl see storage technologies tested and their performance modelled. Applications looked at will include using storage to integrate renewable energy sources to electricity networks and for improving grid stability and reliability. ARPA-E is the US government department responsible for promotion of research and development (R&D) and funding of advances in energy technology.

Compact batteries enhanced by spontaneous silver matrix formations
In a promising lithium-based battery, the formation of a highly conductive silver matrix transforms a material otherwise plagued by low conductivity. To optimize these multi-metallic batteries—and enhance the flow of electricity—scientists needed a way to see where, when, and how these silver, nanoscale "bridges" emerge. Now, researchers from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)'s Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook Univ. have used x-rays to map this changing atomic architecture and revealed its link to the battery's rate of discharge. The study—published online in Science—shows that a slow discharge rate early in the battery's life creates a more uniform and expansive conductive network, suggesting new design approaches and optimization techniques.

General Electric to reduce battery production at Schenectady plant
General Electric will decrease production at its battery plant in Schenectady, a shift the company says will not include layoffs. Instead, the company will move a "significant portion" of its hourly employees to its steam turbine and generator manufacturing operation. Existing commercial deliveries will not be affected.

The Battery Revolution: A Technology Disruption, Economics and Grid Level Application Discussion with Eos Energy Storage
Recent advancements in energy storage technology could finally make renewables, such as wind and solar, truly viable economic alternatives to fossil fuels when it comes to generating power. The ability to store power bridges the reliability gaps that occur with renewables, when, on any given day, the sun just doesn’t shine bright enough or the wind doesn’t blow hard enough to feed the hungry power grid. We are talking about super batteries with the ability to store megawatt-sized loads, enough to power entire neighborhoods or towns if need be. While you could theoretically achieve the same result by stringing together the type of batteries used to power your laptop or smartphone, the cost of doing so would be economically prohibitive. But entrepreneurial companies, such as Ambri and Eos Energy Storage, are pursuing the next generation of battery technology, with the aim of bringing storage costs down significantly for utilities.

Software: The Next Challenge for Grid Batteries
It seems like every day we hear about another incremental breakthrough in battery technology. By tweaking existing battery chemistries or inventing new chemistries altogether, university researchers and startup companies have managed to increase the energy density, cycle life, energy efficiency, and safety of numerous potential grid battery technologies. There’s no doubt that these advances in energy storage hardware are important. However, I think sometimes the focus on energy storage hardware overshadows another major challenge facing grid batteries: software to decide what batteries should do and when they should do it. Unlike renewable energy technologies, grid battery storage does not have the unique advantage of turning freely available wind and sunlight into useful electricity. Thus, capturing value from a grid battery is a lot more complicated than simply pointing it at the sun or facing it into the wind.

Here’s How the US Solar-Storage Market Reaches $1B in 3 Years
GTM Research’s new report, The Future of Solar-Plus-Storage in the U.S., lays out some key success factors for companies seeking to capture a share of this new market, which is set to grow fiftyfold to 318 cumulative megawatts installed by 2018. In dollar terms, solar-storage investment will grow from $48 million in 2014 to about $1 billion in 2018 -- and in terms of penetration, nearly one in ten commercial and industrial solar installations will come with batteries by then, according to the report.

EV Charging Wars: BMW Fires Another Salvo At Tesla
We’re calling this a friendly competition for now, but in the high-stakes US auto market it looks like BMW has armed itself with a new and powerful ally. Yesterday, BMW announced that it is pairing up with the California utility PG&E to offer the “i ChargeForward†EV charging incentive program, which will — you guessed it — pay BMW owners to respond to signals from the utility and adjust their EV charging accordingly. We’ve taken to calling EVs “mobile energy storage units,†and ChargeForward takes it to the next level. The idea is to prevent brownouts and forestall the need to build expensive new power plants, by leveraging the collective energy storage capacity of thousands of EVs.

Is the solar panel & battery combo ready to change energy markets?
Batteries have long been looked to as a way to store energy solar energy during the day to be used at night, but they have long been too expensive to be used widely. But many companies are looking at 2015 as a very important year for the solar and battery partnership and I’ve heard the word “tipping point†being used repeatedly about this intersection recently. First off, traditional lithium-ion batteries — the kind being widely used in cell phones and laptops — are becoming cheaper than ever before. Electric car company Tesla and Japanese battery giant Panasonic have been working closely on lowering costs of their lithium-ion batteries significantly, and with Tesla’s “gigafactory†the companies expect to be able to reduce the lithium-ion battery cost by another third.

AusNet Battery Energy Storage Trial Under Way
In what’s been described as an Australian first, Victoria’s AusNet Services is trialling a 1MW battery to support the mains grid during peak demand. The Grid Energy Storage System (GESS) is housed in 4 x 6 metre shipping containers and is located in an industrial estate in the suburb of Thomastown. Originally announced in January last year when the company was known as SP AusNet; the trial officially began in December 2014 and is occurring in partnership with ABB Australia and Samsung SDI. ABB is one of the world’s leading solar inverter suppliers and Samsung SDI is at the forefront of the energy storage revolution. In August last year, Samsung SDI announced it would also supply a 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) lithium battery system to a solar farm project in Japan.

Grid Batteries for Wind, Solar Find First Customers
Several new types of battery, each capable of cost-effectively storing the energy output from a wind or solar farm, are finally being hooked up to power grids. The so-called grid batteries could lower the cost of renewable energy by eliminating the intermittency problem that arises when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. On Wednesday, Aquion Energy, a Pittsburgh-based startup that makes one such battery, announced that the technology will allow a small electricity grid in Hawaii to run around the clock on solar power. Conventional batteries would be too expensive or unreliable to use for grid-scale storage. The new batteries coming online use materials and manufacturing processes that not only lower costs but should also allow them to last for decades.

Will Batteries Live Up to their Promise For Energy Storage?
Someone has to kick the tires before new battery technologies head to market. That’s the job of a federal effort called Cycling Hardware to Analyze and Ready Grid-Scale Electricity Storage (CHARGES). Recently launched by Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the four-year project will test batteries under a wide-range of weather, terrain and grid conditions. DNV GL, a third-party validation company, will act as project lead for a team that includes NY-BEST, Group NIRE and CAR Technologies.

Eos Energy Storage Introduces Aurora Battery System at $160/kWh
Eos Energy Storage today announced the commercial availability of its MW-scale Aurora system for deliveries starting in 2016. Eos’s standard Aurora 1000|4000 product, a containerized 1 MW DC battery system providing four continuous hours of discharge, offers a cost-effective energy storage solution competitive with gas peaking generation and utility distribution infrastructure. The Aurora 1000|4000 will be sold at a price of $160/kWh in volume.

More NY-BEST Member News Online | Back To Top

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News From Beyond New York

The Electric Scooter Scheme That Could Finally Make Battery-Swapping Work
Watching the professional rider smoke the rear tire, it’s hard to believe he’s on a scooter. It’s doubly hard to believe that scooter is powered by a battery. And when you hear this two-wheeled runabout pitched as a vehicle that could change urban mobility and the way we store and manage electricity, and it just seems silly. But that is exactly what Horace Luke, a designer who’s plied his trade at HTC, Nike, and Microsoft, would have you believe. And damned if he doesn’t make a convincing pitch. The vehicle is called the Smartscooter. It is the debut product of Gogoro, the much-hyped, long-secretive startup. Luke is its CEO. And this week at CES, he finally unveiled the project his company’s been developing since its founding in 2011

Stem, Inc. to Close Out a $27 Million Equity Financing Round
Stem, Inc., a leader in advanced energy storage and data analytics, announced that Constellation Technology Ventures and Total Energy Ventures are investing in the Company to partner in accelerating growth. This capital enables Stem to expand its predictive analytics energy optimization software platform and global market expansion. Investment from Constellation Technology Ventures, the venture capital arm of Exelon Corporation, validates Stem’s momentum as an energy management solution for both businesses and utilities.

California community-owned utility goes for battery to integrate 50MW of PV
A community-owned utility company in California is preparing to install a large-scale battery system that could enable the addition of around 50MW of solar generation capacity to the local grid. On New Year’s Eve, local news outlet The Desert Sun wrote an editorial piece supporting the aims of the project, which has contributed to the utility, Imperial Irrigation District (IID), needing to raise its consumer electricity rates for the first time in 20 years. The project will involve the installation of a 20MW/33MVA batter-based energy storage system with 92kV interconnection.

Army researchers develop batteries that don't corrode
New, lighter batteries are under development for Soldiers now, in-house, at the Army Research Laboratory here. Chemists at the lab here do materials research on lithium ion batteries and other advanced battery chemistry in an effort to support the warfighter. "We help to develop new battery materials that are lighter and last longer for the Soldier, so he doesn't have to carry so many batteries," said Cynthia Lundgren, a chemist and Chief of the Electrochemistry Branch of the Power and Energy Division in the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate.

Back in operation: New owners, outlook for Grove Battery Manufacturing
A Grove manufacturing company will start 2015 with new owners, a new business plan and new employees. Grove Battery Manufacturing, LLC., will open in the facility which housed its predecessor Xtreme Power, under the direction of president Benny Jay, and plant manager Donnie Howe. It will be the first time since the business closed at the end of 2012 that batteries will be manufactured in the facility. At the hight of its operation, Xtreme Power had up to 175 employees on its payroll, operating four shifts of employees on a 24/7 schedule.

The next growth area in energy has nothing to do with oil, wind, or solar. It’s batteries.
The notion of a giant utility regarding the melting and refreezing ice cubes as a realistic way of storing power would have seemed fanciful a few years ago—or even 12 months ago. But next year, pursuant to a deal announced with utility Southern California Edison in November, Ice Energy will install 2,000 of its $10,000 Ice Bear units throughout Orange County, California. Erected adjacent to air conditioners, they use cheap electricity at night to turn tap water into a 450-pound ice block. During the day, refrigerant liquid is funneled from air conditioners through the Ice Bear, which cools it off and sends it back to the AC unit. The process saves an amount of electricity equivalent to taking a 5-ton commercial air conditioner offline for six hours. “We’re able to provide cooling without using any electricity other than using the fan,†says chief executive officer Mike Hopkins.

We Hear: $30,000 Chevrolet Bolt EV w/ 200-Mile Range Coming to Detroit
In order to compete with the upcoming Tesla Model 3 (expected in 2017), GM will show the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle concept at the 2015 Detroit auto show, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Chevrolet Bolt is said to have a 200-mile range and cost around $30,000 when it arrives in 2017, which could undercut the Model 3 by about $5000. Like the Chevrolet Volt extended range plug-in hybrid, LG Chem will supply the battery pack for the Bolt EV. The Volt’s batteries are built in the battery supplier’s Michigan plant, which is said to be capable of building 60,000 Volt battery packs or 20,000 Bolt battery packs or any combination of the two. With an electric range more than four times that of the Volt and no gasoline engine, the Bolt will have a much larger battery pack than the Volt PHEV sedan.

2014 Energy Story #2: Storage Entered The Game
Some observers have noted that storage feels like the solar industry of ten years ago: multiple technologies jostling for position, significant potential economic economic value, falling costs, and potential buyers and financiers feeling out the market. The solar industry has already gone through this multi-year process of maturation into mass markets, creating models for market penetration, cost reduction and financing. The success of solar, and experience gained, will likely create a smoother glide path for storage – people already know how to deal with distributed assets, and have built many similar business cases and economic models. Plus, solar can and will complement storage in many cases. They are natural dance partners.

Massachusetts Awards $18M for Microgrids, Energy Resiliency
Massachusetts awarded more than $18 million to thirteen projects across the state to enhance energy resiliency. The money will go to critical facilities for combined heat and power, battery storage and microgrids. The town of Wayland will receive approximately $265,000 for advanced switches and islanding capability at the middle school, which would allow the school, which serves as a shelter in times of emergency, to rely less on diesel and more on solar PV when the power goes out. The project could add batteries in the future, which would allow it to function as an islandable microgrid.

1 in 78 New Jobs in America is a Solar Job
The Solar Foundation’s annual National Solar Jobs Census shows the solar industry’s explosive growth is creating thousands of new, highly skilled jobs throughout the country. As of November 2014, the solar industry employs 173,807 workers, representing a growth rate of nearly 22% over the previous year.

Battery recipe: Deep-fried graphene pom-poms
In Korea, the work of materials scientists is making news worldwide this week, following publication of their article, "Spray-Assisted Deep-Frying Process for the In Situ Spherical Assembly of Graphene for Energy-Storage Devices," in Chemistry of Materials. Its eight authors used a spray of graphene oxide into hot solvent to form pom-pom-like particles suitable for electrodes and discussed the results of their spray-assisted deep-frying process.

Hawaii's Solar Push Strains the Grid
The prospect of cheaper, petroleum-free power has lured the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) to quintuple utility-scale solar capacity over the past year, building two 12-megawatt photovoltaic arrays. These facilities are the biggest and a significant contributor to the island’s 78-megawatt peak power supply. When the second plant comes online this summer, peak solar output on Kauai will approach 80 percent of power generation on some days

Where the energy storage expansion will happen first and why
New numbers show solar plus storage technology, on the strength of 20%-plus annual price drops over the last 4 years, is on the verge of turning into a billion dollar market by 2018, Utility Dive just reported. "This $6 billion energy market is a huge opportunity," said Clean Coalition Economics & Policy Analysis Director Kenneth Sahm White. “The value proposition is there. The questions are how smoothly the market will open up, how fast it will happen, and who will get the economic benefits.†Because storage can be used to provide both energy and capacity value and a range of grid supports and services, Sahm White added, the commercial and industrial (C&I) space is “the optimal place†to market hybrid solar plus storage systems.

BLAST for Behind-the-Meter Applications Lite Tool
Part of the Battery Lifetime Analysis and Simulation Tool (BLAST) Suite, BLAST for Behind-the-Meter Applications Lite (BLAST-BTM Lite) provides a quick, user-friendly tool to size behind-the-meter energy storage devices used on site by utility customers for facility demand charge management. The tool employs simplified battery performance models for computational efficiency, and it includes a built-in algorithm to identify cost-optimal storage configurations. BLAST-BTM Lite users can supply their own demand and photovoltaic (PV) generation power profiles.

NSF grant to extend lifespan of Li-ion batteries, make them more environmentally friendly
A Virginia Commonwealth University professor has received a five-year, $505,000 award from the National Science Foundation to make lithium-ion batteries — which power electric vehicles and portable electronic devices — far more efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Energy Storage: Changing the Way the World Uses Energy

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