NY-BEST Newsletter June 17, 2016

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June 17, 2016

Last week, NY-BEST filed consolidated supplemental comments on the Clean Energy Standard proceeding at the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). The request for comments was reinforced during the PSC technical conference on energy storage held in New York City on May 26th. During the conference commission staff requested parties to provide additional information to support the concept of ‘no regrets’ levels of required storage resources. In our supplemental comments filed on June 9, NY-BEST made recommendations for 1GW of multi-hour storage by 2022 and 2 GW by 2025 as “no regrets” targets for the state. We provide rationale for these targets, and outline recommended actions the PSC can take to advance energy storage. These recommended actions include:

  1. Establishment of Energy Storage Procurement Targets
  2. Implementation of an Asset Utilization Tariff to include energy storage, and
  3. Implement a Declining Bridge Incentive for Energy Storage

Our comments provide detail in each of these areas, and I hope you will make the time to read and review them. As always, feel free to contact us with questions and suggestions. A number of other parties provided comments and the full set of responses can be found on the PSC website.

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

Sunverge Energy (San Francisco, CA) allows homeowners efficient management of their own renewable energy generation and helps utilities, retailers and solar power providers manage those renewable power sources and aggregate them into Virtual Power Plants across neighborhoods, communities and entire service areas — reliably, effectively and intelligently. Founded in 2009, the company makes the Sunverge Solar Integration System (SIS), a distributed energy storage and management appliance comprised of powerful storage batteries, power electronics, and system-management software running in the cloud. The Sunverge SIS lowers costs, increases energy reliability, strengthens the grid, and accelerates the adoption and integration of distributed renewable energy.

Best Regards,

William Acker Signature

William Acker
Executive Director

Dr. William Acker

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NY-BEST Member News

NY-BEST Calls for 2 GW of Multi-Hour Energy Storage by 2025
Energy storage advocates in New York are calling for the state to set a California-style portfolio standard that would add 2 GW of multi-hour energy storage by 2025. NY-BEST recommended the target in a filing last week before the state Public Service Commission (PSC). The energy storage would help the grid assimilate the high levels of renewable energy planned by the state, according to the group. The energy procurement would ramp up in steps, starting with 500 MW of multi-hour energy storage by 2020, 1 GW by 2022 and 2 GW by 2025.

Origami ninja star inspires battery design
A new disposable battery that folds like an origami ninja star could power biosensors and other small devices for use in challenging field conditions, a Binghamton University engineer says. Seokheun “Sean” Choi and two of his students developed the device, a microbial fuel cell that runs on the bacteria available in a few drops of dirty water. They report on their invention in a new paper published online in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics

UniEnergy Technologies strategic partner to deliver world's largest battery
UniEnergy Technologies (UET)'s strategic partner and affiliate Rongke Power will deploy the world's largest battery, rated at 800 Megawatt-hour (MWh). UET and Rongke Power have worked closely together since 2012 to develop large-scale Vanadium Flow Batteries (VFB's) to meet the challenges of grid modernization, renewable penetration, and resiliency. The VFB battery will provide peak-shaving and enhance grid stabilization on the Dalian peninsula in northern China. Even more energy storage capacity is anticipated in the future to facilitate additional intermittent renewable energy deployment in the region. The China National Energy Administration approved the strategic application of Rongke's VFB into the utility grid due to its competitive price and lack of emissions, as well as demonstrated longevity, operational flexibility, and class-leading performance.

20 energy storage disruptors
The term disruptor is thrown around a lot these days in a world rapidly facing digitisation and the fight to stay relevant is becoming ever more competitive in energy storage. While technological breakthroughs are always exciting, to paraphrase an old saying, there’s a lot that can go wrong between filling a cup with liquid and putting it to your lips. In the race to commercialise technologies and business models for a mass market still in its infancy, the real disruptors in energy storage aren’t just in the lab, they are making a real difference in houses, commercial buildings and on and off the grid.

Solar Microgrid Project Receives Top Grade At New York College Campus
Last year, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a clean energy standard that will radically change the state’s energy landscape in ways that would have been unimaginable just five years ago. When the standard is fully implemented in 2030, the goal is to have half of all energy consumed in New York come from clean and renewable energy sources, resulting in a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases. One challenge will be integrating intermittent renewables into the grid without affecting grid reliability and stability. That’s something two state agencies, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, are working intently on, along with the Electric Power Research Institute and Central Hudson Gas and Electric.

Little less talk: With new revenue models, New York starts to put REV into action
Sometimes, news can make a splash even when it’s what everyone expects. When New York regulators announced the creation of new revenue models for utilities under the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) docket last month, the order was in line with plans that commission staff laid out in a white paper nearly a year ago. The REV docket aims to convert utilities into platform providers for the distribution grid — akin to an air traffic controller that facilitates the interconnection and management of a diversity of distributed resources. Key to that goal is the reform of utility revenue and ratemaking models so that utilities are incentivized to maximize system efficiency and encourage the deployment of third-party resources, like rooftop solar and storage.

German battery maker sonnen GmbH wins backing from GE
German battery maker sonnen GmbH on Monday said it has secured financial backing from GE Ventures, General Electric's venture capital subsidiary, to develop its brand of residential power storage systems. Sonnen, formerly called Sonnenbatterie, is a start-up which besides producing storage batteries has also launched a scheme to connect households with solar panels and other consumers in Europe's first online energy sharing platform. GE and existing investors in sonnen had together put up a double-digit million-euro sum in growth capital for sonnen, it said in a statement.

SolarCity launches new rooftop loan product to replace MyPower offering
SolarCity, the leading U.S. rooftop solar installer, announced a new solar loan program Thursday that will allow customers to own their rooftop panels rather than lease them from the installer. The new solar loans will replace the MyPower offering, abandoned earlier this year, and includes 10- and 20-year financing options, along with a warranty and Nest programmable thermostat. The loans will be made through third party lenders, allowing the company to bypass state prohibitions against third party ownership (TPO) financing and enabling customers to bank the 30% investment tax credit. Depending on loan terms and local electricity rates, consumers may also get immediate bill savings.

AES Prepares for Coming Electrical Grid Transformations
Accurate Electrical Systems has been a force in the electrical repair and remodel market for some time, and plans to continue its position even as changes to the electrical grid are ongoing. There are new technologies reshaping how electricity is generated and delivered, and the business models of utilities are rapidly changing, according to Utility Dive. Energy monopolies are being replaced by companies specializing in power plants, grids, and energy marketing. Yet, older wiring systems and appliances, for example, need to be maintained, and remodeling to upgrade to newer technologies is a challenge. That’s where AES comes in and is prepared to assist customers wherever necessary.

News From Beyond New York

FERC Approves 1st Storage GIA in MISO

FERC last week accepted a generation interconnection agreement between MISO and the first utility-scale battery storage project in the footprint. The commission approved a GIA for Indianapolis Power & Light’s Harding Street Station Battery Energy Storage System, which is planned to go online this month, in spite of IPL’s protests that the project was being mischaracterized. IPL had urged the commission to view the storage facility as a transmission asset. The agreement isn’t a straightforward storage-to-grid situation. The contract includes Harding Street’s two existing gas turbine generators — designated as black start resources — alongside the newly constructed 20-MW storage facility.


Power Edison Will Deliver Temporary Energy Storage Units Where And When Needed
Lithium-ion battery energy storage systems have many applications, and as such, Power Edison talks about a new spin on the tech – delivering temporary systems where and when they are needed. Shihab Kuran (founder, president and CEO of Power Edison) – veteran of SunEdison, NRG Energy, sees a future in temporary set-up and delivery of energy storage.

The Growing Role of Energy Storage in Microgrids
Energy storage systems (ESSs) have an important and diverse role in microgrids. Solar PV and other renewable distributed generation (DG) technologies require a voltage source in order to synchronize. This has typically been done with a backup generator; an ESS provides a similar voltage source but without the emissions of a diesel generator. Recent advances in microgrid automation systems, however, have made ESSs less of a necessity in partially renewable-based microgrids. According to industry leader ABB, microgrids with as much as 50 percent of load coming from renewable sources do not need an ESS. This is 10 percent higher than previously believed.

85% Savings With Energy Storage In Affordable Housing
A new report titled “Closing the California Clean Energy Divide” has highlighted some key insights about the housing market in California as it relates to solar power and energy storage. California has done well in the installation of solar power systems, including some paired with energy storage technology. However, the affordable multifamily rental housing sector is currently not experiencing the same level of solar and energy storage installations. Affordable multifamily structures are where there could be significant benefits, because lower-income residents would experience meaningful savings on their electricity bills.

The true cost of energy storage
Numerous reports claim that, if the world is going to transition to a low-carbon economy to meet internationally set global warming targets, large-scale energy storage technology will be essential due to the intermittent nature of renewable energy resources. However, low-cost power storage capabilities still evade the energy industry and, at present, there appears to be little appetite to invest in this disruptive technology. A new report from the World Energy Council suggests that advancement of energy storage is stalling because investors and stakeholders are narrowly focusing on capital costs alone, forming the misconception that energy storage is more expensive than it actually is and ignoring the system value of stored energy.

Emergency Energy Storage Solicitation
The California Public Utilities Commission issues an unprecedented Resolution that will test the nascent energy storage industry. On May 26, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued Resolution E-4791 (the Resolution), which directs Southern California Edison (SCE) to procure energy storage projects on an emergency basis. Notably, energy storage projects are only eligible if they can be operational by December 31, 2016. Such a short timeframe is nearly without precedent for major utility procurements and is an important test for the nascent energy storage industry.

One Expert's View On The Near-Term Future Of Energy Storage
I spend a good deal of time at energy storage conferences, trying to figure out where the various technologies and business models are headed. I thought I had most of the nuances figured out - until I ran into Sam Jaffe at the Energy Storage America conference in Charlotte in April. After a brief discussion, I realized I had some more understanding to do, and was able to arrange a follow-up conversation. I first met Jaffe when he was active at Navigant Research as their main energy storage analyst, and he has since moved on to become Managing Director at Cairn Energy Research Advisors (Cairn ERA). Jaffe’s spent more than 10 years in energy storage as an analyst, consultant, entrepreneur and executive from all ends of the business. So he’s practically been watching this space since before it became relevant.

Proposal for Offshore Wind Battery Storage Launched
Plans are under way to install a pilot 1-MWh lithium battery–based storage system in 2018 at the world’s first floating wind farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The “Batwind” system, to be installed at the Hywind pilot park offshore of Peterhead, is being developed in cooperation with Scottish universities and suppliers under a new memorandum of understanding signed on March 18. According to its developers, the storage system could help mitigate intermittency and optimize output—and this could in turn improve efficiency and lower costs for offshore wind.

Energy storage's role in decarbonization will depend on duration, cost cuts
Energy storage has been hailed as the missing link and even an essential ingredient to higher levels of wind and solar power, but a new paper from Argonne National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology questions that premise. The authors of the report, “The value of energy storage in decarbonizing the electricity sector,” conclude that the value of shorter-duration storage technologies, up to about two hours, is only justified by generation cost savings under the most stringent carbon emissions limits, and even then, only at low storage penetration levels. Hence, continued innovation and cost declines for lithium-ion batteries and other electrochemical energy storage technologies will be necessary to economically justify large-scale deployment in future low-carbon power systems.

Startup to Deliver Energy Storage by Truck, Rail or Barge
Getting extra power to where it’s needed is a tricky business, often requiring millions of dollars in investments. Now a solar-industry veteran has proposed a cheaper alternative: juice stored in batteries that are delivered by truck, rail or barge. Shihab Kuran, who founded Petra Systems Inc. and also worked at NRG Energy Inc. and SunEdison Inc., has now formed Power Edison LLC, which offers grid-scale lithium-ion battery systems encased in specialized shipping containers that can be stacked like Legos. The Green Brook, New Jersey-based company was formed in March and formally announced Thursday.

Efficiency, distributed resources save California customers $192M
Pacific Gas & Electric has canceled 13 low-voltage transmission and distribution upgrades estimated to cost more than $190 million, following revelations that distributed energy resources and energy efficiency had negated the need for the projects, Greentech Media reports. Solar advocates say this is proof rooftop PV is a net-positive for homeowners and the grid at large. The news comes as California is beginning to consider a proposal that would create shareholder incentives for supporting distributed resources, a proceeding which could resemble the market reforms being undertaken in New York's Reforming the Energy Vision docket.

Clean-Energy Jobs Surpass Oil Drilling for First Time in U.S.
The number of U.S. jobs in solar energy overtook those in oil and natural gas extraction for the first time last year, helping drive a global surge in employment in the clean-energy business as fossil-fuel companies faltered. Employment in the U.S. solar business grew 12 times faster than overall job creation, the International Renewable Energy Agency said in a report on Wednesday. About 8.1 million people worldwide had jobs in the clean energy in 2015, up from 7.7 million in 2014, according to the industry group based in Abu Dhabi. Fed by state initiatives to spur clean energy and innovative financing measures offered by companies such as SolarCity Corp., developers are adding workers at record rates to install rooftop panels. Oil and gas producers by contrast have slashed 351,410 jobs worldwide since prices began to slide in the middle of 2014, according to Houston-based Graves & Co.

Massive trove of battery and molecule data released to public
The Materials Project, a Google-like database of material properties aimed at accelerating innovation, has released an enormous trove of data to the public, giving scientists working on fuel cells, photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, and a host of other advanced materials a powerful tool to explore new research avenues. But it has become a particularly important resource for researchers working on batteries. Co-founded and directed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientist Kristin Persson, the Materials Project uses supercomputers to calculate the properties of materials based on first-principles quantum-mechanical frameworks. It was launched in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science

Grid Operators Increasingly Turn To Large-Scale Energy Storage
Grid operators around the world are beginning to recognize the value that large-scale energy storage systems (ESS) can provide, and utility-scale energy storage will continue breaking into the mainstream electricity industry this year, according to a new report from Navigant Research. As this occurs, the market is projected to move away from research and development projects, pushing toward full commercial deployments. In fact, the report says global installed power capacity for energy storage for the grid and ancillary services (ESGAS) is expected to grow from 1.1 GW in 2016 to 21.6 GW in 2025.

The US Deployed 18.3MW of Energy Storage in Q1 2016, Growing 127% Year-Over-Year
According to GTM Research and ESA’s latest U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, the U.S. deployed 18.3 megawatts (21.2 megawatt-hours) of energy storage in the first quarter of 2016. Deployments were up 127 percent year-over-year, but down 84 percent from the historic fourth quarter of 2015. The first quarter continued the trend of relatively slow starts seen over the last few years. However, residential energy storage was a standout segment both quarterly and annually. More than 8.9 megawatts were deployed in behind-the-meter applications.

Volkswagen Considering $11 Billion Battery Factory In Germany
The Volkswagen brand has become the face of auto-industry corruption, arrogance, and entrenched interest. The only motivating factor for the higher-ups at the company in recent years seems to have been profits — with no sense of responsibility for the truth, for public health, or for the wider environment apparently being present at all. With that in mind, the company has been on something of a PR blitz recently, trying to salvage the brand name if possible. The latest news on that front is that the company is now considering investing $11 billion into the development of a dedicated battery factory in Salzgitter — which would presumably support the production of the company’s previously hinted at future electric vehicle (EV) offerings.

Steven Chu Criticizes Clean Power Plan For Neglecting Nuclear
Former Energy Secretary Steven Chu doesn’t think energy storage can solve the reliability problems of wind and solar quickly enough, he said Friday, which led him to criticize the Environmental Protection Agency for neglecting nuclear power in its Clean Power Plan. “Even though the Clean Power Plan says we need nuclear and maintains the same ratio, they give no credit for it,” Chu said during a debate at the Silicon Valley Energy Summit hosted by Stanford University. “We should make a Clean Power Plan that’s based on clean energy, not renewable energy.” The Clean Power Plan allows states to count new nuclear plants and uprates at existing plants toward their clean energy mandates, but it does not give extra credit to existing plants, as the nuclear industry wanted, to help them compete with cheaper energy.

Energy Storage Association Applauds FERC Efforts to Remove Market Barriers to Energy Storage Systems
The Energy Storage Association (ESA) applauds the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for advancing their formal inquiry into market participation and barriers to entry for safe and reliable energy storage systems. By improving grid flexibility, reliability and efficiency, energy storage has already proven how valuable it is in the regional electricity markets under FERC jurisdiction. The Commission is taking a thorough and judicious approach to expanding the types of markets storage can participate in and the valuable services it can provide. The review by FERC, according to ESA, is a signal that the Commission is working to ensure that market rules stay up-to-date with rapidly advancing storage technology. With market barriers removed, ratepayers will ultimately benefit from lower costs and more reliable and responsive electricity.