The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Solar Powering your home, and perhaps the grid, too, with new Tesla battery

solar-feed-inThis new Tesla battery will power your home, and maybe the electric grid too, WP, By Brian Fung February 12 Tesla is working on a battery that can power your home and even help large-scale utilities store energy more efficiently, according to company chief executive Elon Musk.

On an investor call Wednesday, Musk said the designs for a home or business battery are already complete and will likely be unveiled to the public “in the next month or two.” Production could be as little as six months away, he added…..

Tesla’s battery and charging technology could ultimately wind up saving you money on your electric bill. Although many of today’s homes draw energy directly from the electricity grid, the spread of cheap solar panels means it’s never been easier to generate some of your own energy. Storing renewables efficiently has been a big bottleneck for consumers and for utilities alike, but if Tesla’s stationary battery takes off, it could change the way electricity is priced and traded on a market scale…….

February 14, 2015 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

Alaska’s Renewable Energy project recognised as awinner

Project review: 2014 CESA installations, Part I, Renewable Energy Focus 09 January 2015 Reg Tucker

Biennial program recognizes outstanding state and municipal programs that have accelerated the adoption of clean energy technologies. Part I of this series provides a sampling of a few case studies behind the award-winning projects and initiatives.

The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a national, nonprofit coalition of public agencies working together to advance clean energy, recently announced the recipients of the 2014 State Leadership in Clean Energy Awards. According to CESA, the winning programs exemplify the ground-breaking work being done by states and municipalities in the arena of clean energy development and deployment.The programs nominated for these awards were submitted by state and municipal clean energy agencies from across the country. The entries were reviewed by a team of distinguished, independent judges and were scored based on public benefits and results, cost effectiveness, leadership and innovation and the ability to replicate.

     This year’s winners are as follows:
  • The Alaska Energy Authority and the Kodiak Energy Association for Kodiak, Alaska: A 99% Renewable Energy Community………
  • Project #1: Alaska Energy Authority/KEA
         Alaska’s Renewable Energy Fund, managed by the Alaska Energy Authority, has catalyzed a movement towards renewable energy across Alaska by funding 277 renewable energy grants totaling $250 million over the past seven years. With support from the Fund, strong local leadership, and hard work, the Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) has achieved more than 99 per cent renewable energy electric generation. KEA has developed a renewable energy grid that includes hydro power, wind, and battery storage technologies.
         Alaska’s Renewable Energy Fund has made it possible for communities and villages across the state to study their renewable energy resources, conduct proper engineering designs for those projects that are economically and technically feasible, and construct their projects for the greatest public benefit possible. In the case of Kodiak Electric, which serves about 6,300 people on Kodiak Island, prior to the Renewable Energy Fund’s start in 2008, KEA generated approximately 60 per cent of its electricity from hydro power and 40 per cent from diesel.

    Through multiple successful applications to the Renewable Energy Fund, KEA was able to conduct feasibility studies, design, permit, and construct two phases of wind development, adding six 1.5MW turbines on Pillar Mountain, just above the City of Kodiak. During phase two of the project, KEA added two 1.5MW (1MWhr) battery storage systems that provide 30 to90 seconds of bridging power to allow ramping up of output of a nearby hydroelectric system at times when the wind output decreases rapidly.

    The addition of the battery systems has allowed the wind to be used without curtailment, and it allows more water to be stored at the hydro facility during times when the wind blows. Additionally, and with the financial support of the Renewable Energy Fund, a third hydroelectric turbine was added to the existing Terror Lake powerhouse to increase output by an additional 13.8 MW. Since the end of 2013, KEA has been able to shut off the diesel generators and allow the battery/hydro mix to fulfill their spinning reserve requirement. They also have enough hydro redundancy to allow for maintenance of hydro turbines without burning diesel fuel to generate power. For the first nine months of 2014, KEA generated 99.7 per cent of its power from renewable energy, resulting in significantly lower energy costs for the community by reducing its diesel fuel purchases to nearly zero.

         KEA estimates that it saved its small community about $13 million in reduced fuel costs through the end of 2013. Over $4 million per year is now saved by the community, to the benefit of residents, seafood processors, the Coast Guard Base, and all other electrical customers. It has also cut diesel emissions to zero except for a few hours per year, resulting in cleaner local air and dramatically reduced greenhouse gas emissions…………

January 10, 2015 Posted by | energy storage, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Solar energy storage now commercially viable

Storage is here': Solar-plus-storage market will surpass $1B by 2018, Utility Dive By  | December 17, 2014 10% of new commercial solar customers will pair their installations with storage by 2018, according to research published Thursday morning by GTM Research. Spurred by falling battery prices, the solar-plus-storage market will surpass $1 billion that year,………

the falling cost of batteries is expected to help make these systems economic for smaller customers eventually. Battery cost has declined about 23% annually since 2010 and remains a key factor in selling the systems. “More than anything else it’s a necessary, but not sufficient, factor,” Kann said…….
or commercial customers, solar-plus-storage penetration is set to grow from 1% in 2014 to 11% by 2018.

December 31, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, energy storage | Leave a comment

Promising new ‘solar battery’ – a revolution in energy technology?

sunNew rechargeable ‘solar battery ‘promises to revolutionize solar technology By Daily Digest News October 04, 2014 Scientists from Ohio State University invented a revolutionary breakthrough green energy technology that has the chance to upend the solar power industry.

Led by Professor Yiying Wu, scientists created a solar cell that also doubles as a rechargeable battery– the first combined device of its type.

“The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” Wu said. “We’ve integrated both functions into one device.”…….

By combining both the generation and storage processes, Wu and his team have been able to drastically reduce lost potential, saving nearly 100 percent of the electrons produced.

“Any time you can do that, you reduce cost,” said Wu.

The team estimates that their device brings down costs by 25 percent, which would be a significant boon to the solar energy industry.

Costs and innefficiency are the two factors consumers often point to that inhibits solar energy usage compared to traditional fossil fuel sources.

The team filed for a patent on the solar battery, and plans to license it to the broader energy industry for sale and distribution.

October 6, 2014 Posted by | energy storage, USA | 2 Comments

Storage for renewable energy is not a big problem, as pro-nukes claim it is

Is Storage Necessary for Renewable Energy? (includes videos) Engineering .com Tom Lombardo August 17, 2014  Physicist and energy expert Amory Lovins, chief scientist at The Rocky Mountain Institute, recently released a video in which he claims that renewable energy can meet all of our energy needs without the need for a fossil fuel or nuclear baseload generation. There’s nothing unusual about that – many people have made that claim – but he also suggests that this can be done without a lot of grid-level storage. Instead, Lovins describes a “choreography” between supply and demand, using predictive computer models models to anticipate production and consumption, and intelligent routing to deliver power where it’s needed. This “energy dance,” combined with advances in energy efficiency, will allow us to meet all of our energy needs without sacrificing reliability.

Okay, so there is a little storage involved: ice-storage air conditioning and smart charging of electric vehicles. But where others, including myself, have assumed that large storage devices will need to be added to the grid, Lovins thinks that massive storage facilities are unnecessary, and he presents compelling evidence to support his claim, including actual data from Europe and computer models from NREL……….
There will always be a need for storage since many applications are off grid. Obviously storage is needed in order to electrify transportation. So I agree that dynamic routing is the best long term solution for the grid, but we still need to invest in storage technologies. The good thing is that both storage and smart routing can be implemented together, a little at a time, and scaled up gradually.

August 18, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, energy storage | Leave a comment

With renewable energy storage, conventional utilities face a difficult future

Electricity’s inevitable renewables revolution, Eco Business, 5 June 14 “…..Disruption in store Storage multiplies the value of renewable electricity thereby increasing demand, which in turn will create a positive feedback for more storage. Disruption of incumbent business models and energy markets is likely to increase as innovation drives down storage costs. Widespread storage, such as batteries, will transform renewable electricity in two ways. One, allow consumers to use renewable electricity power when they need it most, not just when the sun shines or the wind blows. Two, provide consumers and entrepreneurs with the capability to make and trade electricity without conventional utilities. Storage highlights the profound physical differences between renewable energy and conventional energy. To simplify, conventional energy, be it ore, oil or gas, is a concentrated finite stock flowing at a rate set by how much we spend on digging and drilling. Renewable energy, like solar radiation and wind, streams freely and diffuses at variable rates ultimately set by the sun. Those characteristics mean swapping out gas-turbine generators for solar modules or wind turbines watt-for-watt would result in lower electricity output. Thus, to replace 4.2 terawatts of carbon power plants, and meet rising electricity demand, will take several times as much capacity in terms of generators using solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources. However, capital costs, which as noted are falling, for renewables are offset by zero fuel costs over the operating lifetime and zero emissions which avoid social costs of harm to health, climate and ecosystems. Such costs are harming households and firms alike, triggering shifts in perceptions which favour the characteristics of renewable electricity and distributed generation. Already, the increasing competitiveness and preference for renewable energy has hit conventional utilities, contributing to losses of €500 billion in Europe in recent years. David Crane, chief executive of America’s top power producer NRG, warns conventional utilities face irrelevance. Their future looks difficult. They must switch to renewable energy and simultaneously compete against the expanding army of millions of people turning their homes and firms into power producers. Civic groups and cooperatives are acting locally to bankroll renewable power or take over grids in communities across Europe and the US.

June 6, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, energy storage | Leave a comment

A promising new storage system for distributed solar energy

sunBreakthrough could help solve solar power’s biggest problem: Power generation at night Extreme Tech, By  on April 16, 2014 

One of the most fundamental barriers to the widespread adoption of renewable energy has been the inconvenient truth of planetary rotation. Solar power has advanced enormously over the past few decades but panel efficiency and solar concentration plants are of limited assistance when Apollo is busy elsewhere on the Earth. Now, researchers think they’ve found a partial solution to that problem by combining the known properties of one substance with everyone’s favorite technological advance: carbon nanotubes……….

What’s needed is a simple method of converting energy gathered during the day into a resource that can be tapped at night — and Timothy Kucharski, a post-doc at MIT and Harvard, thinks his team has found it.

Of photoswitches and nanotubes

Kucharski’s work is based on the well-known properties of azobenzenes. These are molecules, dubbed photoswitches, that have one particular molecular configuration by default but, when struck by certain frequencies of ultraviolet light, assume a new configuration, as shown below. (diagrams) ……..

The goal would be to create a short-term thermal battery that could be used to power a stove or other heat sources during the night after charging all day. A gravity system would be simple, with few moving parts. The long-term goal is to create a system that could be used to provide thermal power for entire buildings and to further increase efficiency.

While it’s not a full-scale solar battery, discoveries like this could make solar power far more useful in developing nations, which still rely primarily on wood or peat for cooking fuel.

April 18, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, energy storage | Leave a comment

New low cost battery promises to provide solar energy storage

Startup Thinks Its Battery Will Solve Renewable Energy’s Big Flaw, Technology Review, By Kevin Bullis on January 23, 2014  Aquion has started production of a low-cost sodium-ion battery aimed at making renewable energy viable. A former Sony TV factory near Pittsburgh is coming to life again after lying idle for four years. Whirring robotic arms have started to assemble a new kind of battery that could make the grid more efficient and let villages run on solar power around the clock.

Aquion, the startup that developed the battery, has finished installing its first commercial-scale production line at the factory, and is sending out batteries for customers to evaluate. It recently raised $55 million of venture capital funding from investors including Bill Gates. The money will help it ramp up to full-speed production by this spring…….

Most importantly, by providing an affordable way to store solar power for use at night or during cloudy weather, the technology could allow isolated populations to get electricity from renewable energy, rather than from polluting diesel generators. Combining solar power and inexpensive batteries would also be cheaper than running diesel generators in places where delivering fuel is expensive (see “How Solar-Based Microgrids Could Bring Power to Millions”).

The batteries could allow the grid to accommodate greater amounts of intermittent renewable energy. As Aquion scales up production and brings down costs, the batteries could also be used instead of a type of natural gas power plant—called a peaker plant—often used to balance supply and demand on the grid. When recharged using renewables, the batteries don’t need fuel, so they’re cleaner than the natural gas power plants…….

The battery is made of inexpensive materials including manganese oxide and water. In concept, it operates much like a lithium-ion battery, in which lithium ions shuttle between electrodes to create electrical current. But the new battery uses sodium ions instead of lithium ones, which makes it possible to use a salt water electrolyte instead of the more expensive—and flammable—electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries.

January 24, 2014 Posted by | energy storage | Leave a comment

Storage solution for wind and solar energy, from Hitachi

Hitachi Announces Storage Technology for Renewable Energy Bloomberg, By Brian Wingfield – Dec 2, 2013  Hitachi Ltd. (6501) unveiled an energy-storage system that the company said will support wind and solar power and allow users to sell electricity into deregulated markets such as California.

The units can be installed on high-voltage power lines, and will be able to capture excess energy produced by wind and solar sources so it can be sold back into the network when the demand for power exceeds the supply. The systems, which include telecommunications and lithium-ion battery technologies developed by Tokyo-based Hitachi, will also minimize volatility on the power grid, company officials said today at a press conference in Washington.

“As the use of renewable energy expands, stabilization has become a very important priority,” Masaaki Nomoto, general manager for the company’s transmission and distribution systems division, said through a translator. He said the potential customers for the technology will include anyone who wants to sell power into the market, not just utilities……

December 3, 2013 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

Renewable energy storage is going to change everything!

Renewable energy barriers fall with new FERC order REneweconmy, By Tina Casey on 26 November 2013  Clean Technica

Energy storage fans are rejoicing all across the country on the heels of a new ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which opens the floodgates to connecting more solar arrays and wind farms to the power grid. FERC adopted the new ruling, Order 792, in order to bring its existing rules for small generators up to speed with new developments in the energy storage field.

As FERC explained when issuing Order 792:

…the Commission finds it necessary under section 206 of the Federal Power Act  to revise the pro forma SGIP [Small Generator Interconnection Procedures] and pro forma SGIA [Small Generator Interconnection Agreement] to ensure that the rates, terms and conditions under which public utilities provide interconnection service to Small Generating Facilities remain just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory.

Our friends over at the Energy Storage Association contributed to public comments on the rule during its proposal phase and they tipped us to the new ruling, so let’s see what they have to say about it.

Energy Storage Gets A Boost From FERC Order 792

In a nutshell, Rule 792 adds energy storage as a power source that is eligible to connect to the grid. It effectively puts energy storage in the same category as the existing Small Generator Interconnection Procedures and makes it eligible for the existing Fast Track process.

Darrel Hayslip, who chairs the ESA, was fast out of the box with a big thank-you to FERC:

We commend the FERC Commissioners for acknowledging that energy storage should be able to participate in the small generator interconnection process on our electric grid and that our rules and policies should evolve as well. These reforms are good news for storage project developers and further facilitate the deployment of storage on the power grid………

Barn Door Is Already Open

If you’re thinking that it will be a while before energy storage technology can get to the point where the industry can take advantage of the new FERC rules on a mass scale, guess again.

Energy storage for wind and solar is already well on its way to the mainstream………

The addition of utility scale storage facilities is expected to have a ripple effect on the renewable energy market in Hawaii, by contributing to grid flexibility.

Not for nothing, but Xtreme Power has some heavy hitters in its investment portfolio, including some that indicate the fossil fuel industry is continuing its slow (very slow) and lurching pivot to a more diversified approach to energy generation.

That would be BP Alternative Energy (yes, that BP) and Dominion Resources (yes, that Dominion).

November 26, 2013 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

10MW-sized battery parks – a revolution in solar energy storage

flag-UKThe battery storage system that could close down coal power  REneweconomy, By  on 19 November 2013  (Editors note: This is part of a series of interviews and stories that will run over the next few weeks looking at Germany’s Energiewende, and the transition of Germany’s energy grid to one dominated by renewable energy. You can find them all in our Insight section).

 You don’t have to go far inside the headquarters of German battery storage company Younicos, or even their website for that matter, to find out what they are about. “Let the fossils rest in peace,” the logo suggests. Another sign at their technology centre east of Berlin proclaims: “You are now leaving the CO2 producing sector of the world.”

This sign is designed to mimic those which adorned the checkpoints that separated the various sectors of east and west Berlin before the wall was torn down. Younicos believe they have a technology that is equally disruptive, and can break down one of the last barriers to 100 per cent renewable energy: the need to run fossil fuel generation to control the “frequency” of the grid, and the other system services such as voltage control.

The company, based in Berlin Adlershof, on the eastern outskirts of the capital, is developing 10MW-sized battery parks, using battery systems that it says can stabilise the grid faster, cheaper and with greater precision that conventional generation. Continue reading

November 20, 2013 Posted by | energy storage, UK | Leave a comment

Renewable energy storage – a cheaper method

The Future Of Renewable Energy Can Now Be Found Inside A Shipping Container Sitting Off The I-95 Corridor BUSINESS INSIDER, ROB WILE NOV 2 2013,   If you want to see the future of renewable energy in the U.S., you should check out the large container sitting next to a nondescript office building off the I-95 corridor in Maryland.

Inside of it is a system that helps solve one of the key problems in the renewable industry: how to store power for longer periods of time in an economical way……. The parts to focus on are the inverter, the batteries, and the transformer.

The inverter is used to convert the electricity generated by Konterra’s new rooftop solar panels, which come with the system, into a usable current to power either the building or the local grid. The battery, which is actually just an off-the-shelf lithium ion package, can be tapped by the local grid to temporarily charge or discharge excess power in the surrounding area.

Finally, the transformer can remove the Konterra building from the grid in case of a regional power outage, providing up to four hours-worth of backup supply. Current renewable storage set ups are pretty expensive. This system helps make it more economical………..

November 4, 2013 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

New research for more efficient solar panels, and storage systems

The group is now turning its attention to developing applications such as energy storage solutions utilizing the reverse side of  solar cells.

Solar Panels (Batteries Included) 28 Oct 13 As power companies grow more belligerent and households start considering leaving the grid altogether; the topic of energy storage is becoming increasingly popular. One development could see solar panels also fulfil the role of batteries by using the same material that creates the electricity – silicon.

Scientists at Vanderbilt University have found a way to create supercapacitors using silicon structures coated in graphene.
While supercapacitors can be recharged much faster and have a longer service life; one of their challenges is size. Energy storage capabilities of supercapacitors is directly tied to the surface area available; meaning the devices tend to be bulky.
The need for a large surface area is being addressed to a degree through the use of nanotechnology to create microscopic ridges, valleys and pores on materials. Continue reading

October 29, 2013 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

Energy storage promises to revolutionise renewable energy

The PUC’s big storage decision will boost renewable energy production My October 17th, 2013 | by K Kaufmann My Twitter feed and email box are lighting up with big news that the California Public Utilities Commission has voted to approve an order requiring the state’s three big utilities to start procuring renewable energy storage technology, with the goal of having 1,325 megawatts of storage on the grid by 2020.

You can read the full text of the original proposed decision, as released Sept. 3, here.

Both Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric will be required to procure a total of 580 megawatts of storage, with 310 megawatts dedicated to transmission, 185 megawatts on distribution and 85 megawatts going to the consumer market, which presumably means distributed generation or rooftop.

San Diego Gas & Electric will be responsible for putting on 165 megawatts of storage, with an 80-55-30 split on the transmission, distribution and customer requirements. The three utilities have until Jan. 1, 2014 to file individual applications on how they will run their first solicitations for energy storage facilities.

Those are the quick basics. Expect plenty of press and discussion on this decision. Its potential impacts are huge — in terms of providing a big push for more research and investment in storage technology in the state and in pushing California to go beyond its current 33 percent renewable energy target. If renewable power can be stored for use when the wind is not blowing and sun isn’t shining, then the potential for clean energy development will be limitless……

October 18, 2013 Posted by | energy storage, USA | 1 Comment

Energy storage to revolutionise large scale renewable energy

Energy storage mandate expected to bring large-scale renewable energy projects onto the electric grid Oct 16, 2013 

The first-in-the-nation energy storage mandate is expected to help integrate large-scale renewable projects onto the electric grid, help the grid better manage unpredictable events such as storms or wildfires, push utilities to consider a wider range of emerging technologies and jump-start the storage market as a whole. PG&E’s Yerba Buena Battery Energy Storage System Pilot Project, based in East San Jose, charges batteries when demand is low and sends stored power to the grid when demand grows, allowing operators to balance supply and demand. The project, which cost $18 million, uses the sodium-sulfur batteries made by NGK in Japan that have 4 megawatts of capacity and can store electricity for roughly six hours

PG&E’s Yerba Buena battery energy storage project, seen Tuesday morning Oct. 15, 2013, is capable of storing up to four megawatts of power from its place in the hills above Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, Calif. A California law that requires utilities to get 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind is widely credited with accelerating the state’s cleantech economy. Now state regulators are poised to compel utilities to invest in “energy storage,” which could jump-start technology long considered the holy grail of the electricity industry. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

October 17, 2013 Posted by | energy storage, USA | 1 Comment


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