May 16, 2016
As a regular reader of this newsletter, you are more than likely well aware of the significant efforts underway to remake New York State’s electric grid through the Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV, initiative. NY-BEST has been an active participant in REV since its inception, and has worked closely with our members to ensure that energy storage is both recognized for the key role it can play in the State’s electricity grid and that it is appropriately compensated for the many services it can perform.
The latest step on this path was announced late last week, when The NYS Public Service Commission announced it will hold a Technical Conference on May 26, 2016 to discuss energy storage and explore actions the Commission may take in furtherance of Clean Energy Standard (CES) and Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) objectives. The technical conference will begin at 10:30 AM and conclude at 3:30 PM, and will be held at the PSC’s New York City Offices, located at 90 Church St. New York, NY. The announcement can be found here. The purpose of this technical conference is to discuss the potential for the deployment of energy storage resources within New York State to advance CES and REV goals, including the integration of renewables and improving system efficiency and energy management.
The agenda has not yet been shared but the announcement includes several questions which the staff wishes participants to address. PSC will determine the agenda and identify companies that they wish to have speak. NY-BEST will be participating. We expect that there will also be time allotted for general attendees to speak and ask questions. We encourage you to attend if at all possible as this is an important opportunity for the energy storage industry.
NY-BEST will host our second webinar of the year this week on Thursday, May 19 at 1:30PM Eastern. This one-hour webinar will feature experts in the distributed energy field who will discuss essential principles for creating valuation methods, as well as interim strategies, to place a value on DERs. Speakers, including Miles Farmer with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Paul DeMartini with ICF International will discuss the concept of location-based marginal price of energy, other services, and the additional values provided by distribution-level resources, commonly referred to as “LMP+D,” along with the key issues and questions that must be addressed in designing compensation mechanisms for DERs and I will also discuss NY-BEST’s recommended interim strategies for the valuation of energy storage. The webinar is free for NY-BEST members and government employees. Registration and additional information can be found here. I hope you will mark your calendar and plan to join us.
I’d like to welcome the newest member of NY-BEST:
Enbala Power Networks (Vancouver, BC) has a single, defining passion – to make the world’s power grids more sustainable by harnessing the power of distributed energy. We are doing this with a real-time energy-balancing platform that is fundamentally changing the utility industry. The platform captures and aggregates available C&I process loads, energy storage and renewable energy to form a network of continuously controlled resources. It then dynamically optimizes and dispatches these resources to respond to the real-time needs of the grid – all without impacting C&I customer operations.
The Latest News From The Battery And Energy Storage Industry
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French energy giant buys control of Santa Clara energy storage startup
Energy storage and management startup Green Charge Networks has a new majority owner, a French energy giant named Engie. The controlling stake that K Road DG took in the Santa Clara company when it invested $56 million in the business in the summer of 2014 has been sold to Engie. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Tesla Powerwalls for Home Energy Storage Hit U.S. Market
To Steve Yates, the best thing about his new Tesla Powerwall is that he doesn’t have to worry anymore about the lights going out during a storm. Or maybe it’s how cool an addition it is to the entryway of his house in Monkton, Vermont. A year after Elon Musk unveiled the Powerwall at Tesla Motors Inc.’s design studio near Los Angeles, the first wave of residential installations has started in the U.S. The 6.4-kilowatt-hour unit stores electricity from home solar systems and provides backup in the case of a conventional outage. Weighing 214 pounds and standing about 4-feet tall, it retails for around $3,000. But hookup by a trained electrician is required, as is something called a bi-directional inverter that converts direct-current electricity into the kind used by dishwashers and refrigerators.
SolarCity launches new utility and grid services
SolarCity, best known for its services in the US for providing residential and commercial rooftop solar, today announced a new set of services targeted at utility and grid operators. The PV provider will be branching into installation, financing and consulting services for utility-scale solar as well as energy storage development. In conjunction, SolarCity will be advancing controls for distributed energy resources, demand response and aggregated grid services, to form a full network of solar-related activities. The company said it now offers turnkey delivery of solar power via wholesale contracts and direct grid tied solar power systems, which utilities looking to generate additional capacity can leverage to meet renewable portfolio standards (RPS) or other mandates as desired. The process is wholly managed by SolarCity, including financing, design and installation to optimisation and system maintenance.
NYPA Partners with SUNY New Paltz on Solar Generation and Battery Storage Project
The New York Power Authority and the State University of New York at New Paltz announced today they will partner to build a cutting-edge, solar-energy storage system on campus that will offset the school’s reliance on the electric grid. The system will provide solar-power generation and employ a hybrid power converter and backup generator that would supply power in case of an outage at the Elting Gymnasium, which serves as an emergency shelter on campus.
The controlling stake that K Road DG took in the Santa Clara company when it invested $56 million in the business in the summer of 2014 has been sold to Engie. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Much of the focus in the debate over the future of the energy and utility industries is focused on the efficacy of renewable power plans to displace conventional fuel sources. While it now seems clear that renewable energy is certain to play a major role in the future of generation capacity, it's unclear if fossil fuels will ever be displaced. That debate has overshadowed a more subtle altercation -- the extent to which the structure of the electrical grid itself will change in the future. The conventional centralized grid model is increasingly being challenged by proponents of distributed microgrids, which see efficiency and effectiveness gains in smaller systems. The debate in some senses is not new and goes back to the birth of electricity, and Tesla and Edison. Yet the modern version of that old battle may be even more interesting.
Oil Giant Total to Acquire Battery Maker Saft for $1.1 Billion
Total, a French oil and gas giant with a $120 billion market cap, just offered to acquire French battery specialist Saft for $1.1 billion. That represents a 38 percent premium over Saft's recent closing stock price. The supervisory board of Saft has approved the friendly acquisition offer. Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of Total, said the offer is part of his firm’s goal to “accelerate its development in the fields of renewable energy and electricity, initiated in 2011 with the acquisition of SunPower." In 2011 Total acquired a controlling interest in SunPower, the maker of high efficiency solar modules and project developer, for around $2.3 billion.
Energy storage: A market that was always years away is arriving
Combining solar panels with batteries to keep electricity flowing when the sun isn't shining has long been the target for companies dabbling in the emerging technologies of the power grid. This year is seeing more development in that space than ever before, thanks to falling battery and solar prices, the marketing prowess of super-entrepreneur Elon Musk, and national and international clean-energy and climate-change policies. And companies with ties to Milwaukee are at the forefront of some of the biggest projects.
New York Plans to Make Fighting Climate Change Good Business
A governor wants to lead on green energy. The state’s utilities are nervously falling in line. Young entrepreneurs are buzzing, determined to be part of the generation that finally solves climate change. To most ears, that might sound like California, where all those things and more are happening. But it also describes New York. New York? The state may not leap to mind as being in the vanguard of the green economy. But under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the most populous state in the Northeast is in a close race with its counterpart in the West in setting ambitious climate goals. And in some ways, New York may be on the verge of pulling ahead of California.
Ideal Power introduces new SunDial solar PV string inverter
Ideal Power Inc. has introduced its new SunDial solar photovoltaic (PV) string inverter which includes an optional bi-directional 3rd port for direct integration of solar with energy storage during initial installation or any time in the future. The SunDial is a compact, efficient, and fully isolated PV string inverter with an integrated PV combiner, disconnects, and a built-in Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPPT). It also features an optional, low cost "plug and play" bi-directional DC port kit. This new "solar first, storage ready" design is the only commercial string inverter available with a field-upgradable, bi-directional energy storage port, making the system market ready today for the solar + storage market.
Electric-car battery costs: Tesla $190 per kwh for pack, GM $145 for cells
Lithium-ion cells and the battery packs that hold them are the single most costly part of modern electric cars. And how fast their costs will fall remains the defining factor in making those cars affordable for the mass market. GM made waves last fall when product chief Mark Reuss said the company will pay $145 per kilowatt-hour for the cells in the battery pack of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV that will roll out at the end of this year. Now we have a comparable data point of sorts for electric-car startup Tesla Motors as it works feverishly to get its promised 200-mile, $35,000 Model 3 sedan into production by the end of 2017.
California Winery Uses Solar Power And Energy Storage
The Stone Edge Farm and winery in Sonoma, California has a 32 kW solar array, 14 of Aquion’s 25 kWh M-Line battery modules, and an Ideal Power 30 kW multi-port power conversion system. The solar PV array provides electricity to the primary residence, workshops, and offices. The renewable electricity system is generating so much power that some can be sold back to the local utility. It is also part of an onsite microgrid which was designed for self-consumption, load shifting, and peak shaving. “The Stone Edge Farm project is an excellent example of how long-duration advanced batteries plus solar PV can enable on-site renewable energy generation and maximize solar self-consumption,” explained Scott Pearson, CEO of Aquion Energy.
EnSync and OATI Announce Strategic Alliance to Offer Distributed Energy Resource Control to Utilities
EnSync Energy Systems and OATI are pleased to announce a strategic alliance that brings together decades of experience and next generation Modernized Grid solutions to provide utilities with a seamless distributed energy resource and management solution for improved system reliability and economics. Specifically, OATI and EnSync are integrating the EnSync Matrix Energy Management technology with OATI's GridControl and webSmartEnergy DERMS platform. The solution will combine the Matrix's ability to prioritize and optimize electricity from the grid, distributed generation and energy storage with the webSmartEnergy DERMS functionality to provide various grid services such as frequency response, regulation, reserves and shaping services, dispatchable energy and capacity, as well as Volt/VAr control and optimization capabilities to the grid. OATI and EnSync are currently offering the solution to select utilities.
US Energy Storage Up, Coal Down, Down, Down
In an interesting duo of energy stories this week, Arizona is getting two new innovative energy storage systems while Illinois is this close to losing up to 2300 megawatts of coal-fired power plant capacity. The news illustrates how quickly the country is transitioning to a low carbon economy. In the context of last year’s McKinsey report on the state of the US coal industry, that’s already proving to be a harsh and painful process for some communities. The two Arizona energy storage projects are under the umbrella of Tucson Electric Power (TEP). The utility will be working with two companies, Chicago-based E.ON Climate & Renewables and NextEra Energy Resources, to construct two 10-megawatt facilities.
Energy Storage Association Honors New York State PUC Chair Audrey Zibelman and Customized Energy Solutions at 26th Annual Conference and Expo
At the Energy Storage Association (ESA) 26th Annual Conference and Expo, the industry honored Audrey Zibelman, Chair of the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), and Customized Energy Solutions (CES), for their leadership in defining and creating the industry’s successful future. Honored for her expansive career creating and evolving energy markets, and her current work on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) strategy, Zibelman, received ESA’s Phil Symons Energy Storage Award. She accepted the award via video link from New York. Through REV, New York is transforming the retail electricity market to create a cleaner, more affordable, more modern and efficient energy system in New York.
Construction manufacturer Caterpillar enters microgrid and storage market
Construction and mining manufacturer Caterpillar has launched an integrated microgrid solution that combines solar PV and energy storage with the company’s power generation equipment. The company’s Cat Microgrid Technology can be scaled from 10 kW to 100 MW and configured to include thin-film solar panels, Caterpillar generators and storage devices such as ultracapacitors or lithium-ion batteries. Caterpillar is targeting islanded applications such as telecommunications towers, rural areas, and mining and industrial facilities for its microgrid solution.
Tesla reports 25 MWh of storage capacity delivered in Q1 2016
Tesla, in a shareholder letter, said it delivered 25 MWh of energy storage to customers of four continents in the first quarter. Tesla also said it delivered over 2,500 Powerwall residential storage devices and nearly 100 Powerpack storage devices for commercial customers. Tesla has also acknowledged that demand is also causing delivery delays with its Powerwall storage device. Since unveiling its Powerwall residential storage device about one year ago, Tesla has managed to stir up the market for energy storage.
|News From Beyond New York
Thriving During the Energy System Transition
Today’s energy system is ripe for disruption. Whoever designs the next generation of energy systems will own the platforms that will enable tomorrow’s products and lock in the emerging consumer base from the developing world. This disruption will be as great as the shift from whale oil to rock oil, altering the energy landscape permanently. The line between producers, distributers, and consumers of energy will blur. Billions of people will have access to affordable power for the first time. The development path of humanity will change. The choice of how to prepare for this transition will decide the fate of utilities, power producers, petroleum producers and processers, and large energy consumers. Will they follow the path of last century’s forward-thinking oil barons or the whaling captains dragged down by a commitment to stranded assets?
Behind-the-Meter Technologies: Giving Solar Power System Owners Control of Their Energy
In many markets, solar PV is already at grid parity. So why aren’t we seeing greater adoption? What is holding the PV industry at bay? Since the energy generation of a PV system does not match the typical homeowner’s energy usage, the industry relies on rate structures to deal with energy produced, but not consumed. In most solar markets, these structures are typically net-energy metering (NEM) agreements or feed-in tariffs (FIT). With a NEM and FIT, the homeowner receives a credit from the utility for excess energy production. These credits help lower the homeowner’s electricity bill. This approach means that while achieving grid parity is important, a large factor in achieving PV proliferation is still dependent on rate designers.
UK Government launches £2 million competition to promote roll-out of hydrogen-fuelled fleet vehicles
Plans to make nearly every vehicle in the country zero-emission by 2050 have taken a further step forward with the launch of a £2 million government fund to encourage more businesses to switch to hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. The Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Fleet Support Scheme will allow local authorities, health trusts, police forces, fire brigades and private companies to bid for funding to add hydrogen-powered vehicles to their fleets.
Clues on the path to a new battery technology
Rechargeable lithium air batteries are a next-generation technology: Theoretically they might be much lighter and offer better performance than current lithium ion batteries. However, currently they run out of steam after only a few charging cycles. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Forschungszentrum Jülich have now investigated the processes and discovered a possible culprit: highly reactive singlet oxygen, which is released when the batteries are charged. A trimming diet is in order: Cell phones still bulge from jacket pockets and laptop computers continue to overstrain shoulder muscles. To blame are primarily the batteries: The ubiquitous lithium ion batteries need heavy electrodes made of transition metal oxides.
“Baseload” solar at 5c/kWh? How solar + storage can be cheaper than coal
A German – and formerly majority Australian owned – developer of concentrated solar power plants with molten salt storage says it can get the cost of electricity from a utility-scale version of its technology, with 15 hours of thermal energy storage, down to between 5 and 7 cents (US) per kilowatt-hour.
Daimler Starts Selling Home Energy Storage Units
Daimler AG, in conjunction with its subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE, has begun deliveries of its first home energy storage systems, following months of successful commercial deliveries. The lithium-ion, battery-based home energy storage units — which are being manufactured by Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE — are based on the technologies developed for use in electric Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The new home energy storage units are currently available via a Germany-wide network of sales partners and distributors — which includes the energy service provider Energie Baden-Württemberg (EnBW), the solar technology specialist SMA, and others.
'Community Storage' initiative sees promise in your water heater
Vastly underutilized energy storage resources, such as the nation's 50 million residential electric water heaters, can provide substantial environmental and cost benefits, according to research conducted by The Brattle Group. The research was sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA) and Great River Energy (GRE). o leverage these untapped energy storage resources, energy and environmental stakeholders are joining together to support a new enterprise, called The Community Storage Initiative (CSI). The defining characteristic of a community storage program, says CSI, is the “coordinated dispatch and optimization of premises-based energy storage resources, often behind a consumer's energy meter, to achieve electric system-wide benefit.”
Steven Chu: Mexico's Energy Auction Reveals True Price Of U.S. Renewables
If you want to know the true price of renewable energy in America—free from subsidies and mandates—look to Mexico, former Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Friday. In March, Mexico’s state utility, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), departed from almost 80 years of state-owned monopoly and let private companies bid to supply solar, wind, hydro, cogeneration, combined-cycle gas, and geothermal energy. “The cost was about 4¢ a kilowatt-hour without the mandates, in both solar and wind,” Chu said Friday at Stanford University, where he now teaches. “Four to four-and-a-half cents with no production tax credit, no investment tax credit, no renewable portfolio standard. It’s just money, including profit. This is pretty good news.”
Beyond pilots: Duke Energy looks to install storage in regulated market
After completing several pilot projects, Duke Energy said it is ready for a commercial storage project to be fully operational in a regulated market, SNL Energy reports. That marks a significant turnaround from just a couple of years ago, when regulators were unsure how to treat energy storage and it was generally not economical. But with the projects spreading and regulators gaining comfort, Duke says the energy and support they provide can be properly valued. But the utility is still testing storage projects, and this month announced a Hybrid Energy Storage System (HESS) would be installed at its its Rankin Substation in Gaston County, N.C.
TEP Receives Approval to Develop Two Innovative Energy Storage Facilities
Tucson Electric Power (TEP) will enter into long-term agreements with E.ON Climate & Renewables and NextEra Energy Resources for the construction of two large, innovative energy storage systems. The projects, approved today by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), will be used to improve service reliability and study how such systems can support the expansion of solar power resources and other renewable energy technologies. “We hope that innovative systems like these will help us achieve our long-term renewable energy goals without compromising the reliability or affordability of our service,” said David G. Hutchens, TEP’s President and Chief Executive Officer. TEP is working to deliver at least 30 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2030, doubling the state’s 2025 goal.