The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Australia claims world first: fully solar-powered train

World-first solar train now leaving the platform in Byron Bay with zero emissions, ABC North Coast , By Bruce Mackenzie, 17  Dec 17,  What is claimed to be the world’s first fully solar-powered train is operating on the New South Wales North Coast.

A refurbished 70-year-old ‘red rattler’ is running on a three-kilometre stretch of disused rail line at the popular tourist destination of Byron Bay.

It made its maiden trip yesterday with almost 100 passengers on board.

Electric bus solar system

The $4-million project is the brainchild of multi-millionaire businessman Brian Flannery, who owns a resort in the area.

“Hopefully it attracts people to Byron Bay,” Mr Flannery said.

“I think international tourists will come here to have a look at this world’s first solar train.

“So let’s see, in five years’ time they’ll probably still say I’m mad, but it’s a bit of fun.”

Tim Elderton, from the Lithgow Railway Workshop, was tasked with building curved solar panels and a battery system to power the train.

“Of course the major difference is it’s got solar panels on the roof so it can recharge itself.

“For those cloudy days we’ve also got 30 kilowatts of solar panels in this [station’s] roof here so we can also plug it in.

“On a sunny day like today we can do about four or five trips before we have to plug it in.”……..

Tram infrastructure a possibility

Longer trips than this one — 10 minutes to cover three kilometres or so — would require regular recharging stations along the route, but Mr Flannery said the technology might be suited to inner-city trams.

A lot of the tram networks of course have overhead wires and they’re electric but they’re powered off the grid from overhead,” he said.

“But in a case where you want to build a tramline without that infrastructure, I think you could.

“At various stations you could top the train [or tram] up.”


December 18, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes, decentralised, energy storage | Leave a comment

Surge in USA storage for renewable energy

U.S. Energy Storage Surges 46% Led by Big Project in Windy Texas By Brian Eckhouse 

 Power companies and developers added 41.8 megawatts of storage systems, including a 30-megawatt utility-scale project in Texas, according to a report Thursday from GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association. California added 8.4 megawatts of residential and commercial systems. The industry installed 28.6 megawatts in the third quarter of 2016.

Driven by regulatory demands and sharp price declines, energy-storage is becoming more common. Prices for lithium-ion battery packs have fallen 24 percent from 2016 levels, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Utilities including Exelon Corp.Duke Energy Corp. and American Electric Power Co., meanwhile, are increasingly receptive to storage projects, which potentially will facilitate wider adoption of wind and solar power.

 GTM forecasts that 295 megawatts will be in operation in the U.S. by year-end, up 28 percent from 2016. And more is coming. GTM projects the U.S. energy-storage market will be worth $3.1 billion in 2022, a seven-fold increase from this year.
 “Energy storage is increasingly acknowledged in utilities’ long term resource planning across the country,” Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage, said in a statement.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

Chinese government boosting storage capacity for renewable energy

China to boost energy storage capacity to fuel renewable power use, Reuters, OCTOBER 12, 2017 

 Reuters Staff, BEIJING,  – China aims to boost its large-scale energy storage capacity over the next decade, the government’s central planner said, in a major push to solve the problem of stranded power in the west of the country as Beijing promotes the use of more renewable power……..

October 14, 2017 Posted by | China, energy storage | Leave a comment

Puerto’s electrical system could be restored with solar panels and Tesla batteries – Elon Musk

Elon Musk says Tesla’s batteries could replace Puerto Rico’s electrical system   DANIELLE MUOIO  Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company’s batteries and solar panels could help restore electricity to Puerto Rico if residents and the government decide they want to pursue that option.

October 7, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

New energy storage technology – cheaper than lithium-ion batteries

Times 2nd Aug 2017, Google’s parent company Alphabet is turning to salt and antifreeze to
provide energy storage that could be cheaper than lithium-ion batteries.

The technology giant’s secretive X division is working on a way to store
energy from renewable sources that would otherwise be wasted because of the
time mismatch between supply and demand.

The system was designed by Robert Laughlin, a Nobel prize-winning physicist of Stanford University. It takes
in energy in the form of electricity and converts it into hot and cold air,
using a heat pump. These streams heat molten salt and cool the antifreeze
respectively. The process can be reversed to release the energy as the warm
and cold air meet, creating gusts that drive a turbine and feed power back
into the grid.

Scientists had already shown that the technology could store
energy. Alphabet’s engineers have designed a version that works at lower
temperatures, however, which reduces costs and makes it commercially

August 4, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

Battery storage means that solar and wind power could meet needs of growing electric car market

Telegraph 26th July 2017, Do we have enough power to deal with the growth in electric vehicles?
National Grid has warned that the boom in the number of people charging up
their cars could result in a surge in peak demand, requiring hundreds of
billions of pounds worth of investment in new power plants – unless the
electric vehicle revolution is properly managed.

In one scenario National Grid estimates that electric vehicles alone could cause peak power demand
to climb by 1.3 GW a year between 2025 and 2045. This would require the
UK’s shrinking generation capacity to grow by the equivalent of two large
gas-fired power units a year or one £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear plant
every three years. By 2030 the UK would need 8GW, almost three extra
Hinkley projects, to meet the need of drivers who choose to top up their
vehicles during peak hours.

Fortunately, there’s a better way to accommodate the charge-up demand which could cut the extra power needed by
more than half to a more manageable 3GW increase by the end of the next
decade while saving consumers money. Earlier this week Business Secretary
Greg Clarke fired the starting gun on a battery boom through a £246m
research and development competition, and a new plan to put home batteries
at the heart of its industrial strategy.

The support should help the electric vehicle drive, but also help the energy system to cope with the
higher demand caused by the fleet of new cars. A heady roll out of electric
vehicles is expected to drive the cost of battery storage down at an even
faster rate than expected, meaning drivers could be parking their electric
cars next to affordable home batteries, which are linked to cheap solar

Currently consumers are only able to use around 30pc of the power
generated by solar panels because their demand picks up once the sun is
setting. But the battery boom means energy users can store the unused solar
power generated during the day to charge their cars at night, saving money
and easing the pressure on the grid.

Major wind farms, including the giant Burbo Bank project off the Liverpool coast, are already connected to
batteries so that energy stored during windy nights can power homes when
demand lifts in the morning. Using renewable energy more effectively also
means costs will fall too. The shift in economics is expected to trigger a
deluge of fresh investment into renewable power projects, without the need
for subsidies. The cumulative impact of more renewable power – and better
use of it – could help meet the demand created by electric vehicles in the
first place.

July 28, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, UK | Leave a comment

Complexity of electricity demand in UK , as electric car numbers rise

Guardian 13th July 2017,A dramatic growth in electric vehicles on Britain’s roads could see peak
electricity demand jump by more than the capacity of the Hinkley Point C
nuclear power station by 2030, according to National Grid.

The number of plug-in cars and vans could reach 9m by 2030, up from around 90,000 today,
said the company, which runs the UK’s national transmission networks for
electricity and gas.

The impact of charging so many cars’ batteries would
be to reverse the trend in recent years of falling electricity demand,
driven by energy efficiency measures such as better boilers.

National Gridacknowledged the cars’ batteries could also provide services andreturn
power for the grid at a time when managing the network is becoming
increasingly complex as variable sources of wind and solar power grow.

July 14, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, UK | Leave a comment

Energy Storage – South Australia to have the world’s largest lithium ion battery

 BBC 7th July 2017 An Australian state will install the world’s largest lithium ion battery in a “historic” deal with electric car firm Tesla and energy company Neoen.  The battery will protect South Australia from the kind of energy crisis
which famously blacked out the state, Premier Jay Weatherill said.

Tesla boss Elon Musk confirmed a much-publicised promise to build it within 100 days, or do it for free. The 100-megawatt (129 megawatt hour) battery should be ready this year.

July 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, energy storage | Leave a comment

Lithium use in batteries booming – need for recycling, and environmental protection

FT 7th July 2017, Tesla Motors and now Volvo may have big plans to end the addiction of drivers to fossil fuels via electric vehicles, however the environmental footprint of mining raw materials used in car batteries and their eventual disposal are emerging as a flash point.

As the mining sector presents a green face and extracts raw materials from lithium to cobalt and nickel
that constitute electric batteries, so the focus on their environmental standards and energy efficient production methods will intensify.

At the tail-end of the electric vehicle boom is the matter of improving the recycling of lithium-ion batteries and making sure the environmental impact is also contained.

To offset the environmental impact of mining there will have to be a large build out in recycling facilities to meet the first wave of electric vehicles, analysts say. Currently over 90 per cent of lead-acid
batteries used in conventional gasoline cars are recycled, versus less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries. An estimated 11m tonnes of spent lithium-ion battery packs will be discarded between now and 2030, according to Canada-based Li-Cycle, a recycler of batteries.

July 8, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, energy storage | Leave a comment

Energy storage now making renewable energy cost competitive

Renew Economy 30th June 2017, Global research institute McKinsey & Company has analyzed current energy
storage prices and concluded that commercial customers are already feeling
the economic benefits of cheaper batteries and recent price falls in
lithium-ion technology.

With battery-pack costs now down to less than
$230/kWh – compared to around $1,000/kWh as recently as 2010 – storage
uptake is on the rise across Europe, Asia and the U.S. This growth is being
facilitated by a greater uptick in electric vehicle (EV) adoption, with
major players now scaling-up their lithium-ion manufacturing capacity in
order to meet demand.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, energy storage | Leave a comment

Developments in using hydrogen fuel cells for storage of energy from solar and wind farms

Climate News Network 1st July 2017, Trucks, trains and ships using hydrogen fuel cells for propulsion are no longer just theoretically possible: they have reached the trial stage. Decades of work on refining the technology have coincided with the need to store surplus energy from solar and wind farms when supply exceeds demand.

And making and storing hydrogen from surplus renewable energy that can then be used as fuel for vehicles is good economic sense, according to the Norwegian research group SINTEF. Fuel cells are much lighter than batteries
and with hydrogen fuel they provide a better method of propulsion for all sorts of freight and passenger transport. The only residue of burning hydrogen is water, so there is no pollution.

Top-secret research and development has been going on since 1980 at SINTEF in an attempt to make
fuel cells competitive with the internal combustion engine for transport. The technology is already used in some niche markets, but it is now expected to become mainstream, according to Steffen Møller-Holst, vice-president for marketing at SINTEF. He says: “In Japan, 150,000 fuel cells have been installed in households to generate power and heat, and in
the United States more than 10,000 hydrogen-powered forklifts are operatingin warehouses and distribution centres.”

In Norway SINTEF has been working on advancing that technology. Engineers there also want to power
forklifts, but they’re planning more: they want as well to power heavyduty trucks and passenger ferries with fuel cells. Norway is also working on a plan to make its railways greener, running long-distance trains on hydrogen as an alternative to electrifying lines currently operated by diesel locomotives.

“In Germany, the first fuel cell train is alreadyundergoing trials, and Norway is one of many European countries now
considering hydrogen-powered trains based on the conclusions of a studycarried out by SINTEF for the Norwegian Railway Directorate,” saysMøller-Holst. He is convinced Norway should follow the German example.

Surprisingly, the report concluded that between €36 and 45 billion could be saved annually on one section of the line if battery- or hydrogen-powered trains were used instead of the more conventional electric trains drawing power from overhead wires.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Britain’s innovate energy storage scheme, using flywheels

Times 2nd June 2017 Flywheels will be used to balance supply and demand on Britain’s electricity grid in a £3.5 million project that could help the country to cope with more wind and solar power. Sophisticated flywheels that can store electricity for long periods of time are to be installed next to the University of Sheffield’s battery storage facility at Willenhall near Wolverhampton, in the first project of its kind in the UK.

The cylindrical structures draw electricity from the grid when surplus is available, powering a motor that makes the flywheel rotor spin at high speed. So far, efforts to tackle the problem have focused on lithium-ion batteries, which
can respond in less than a second to provide or absorb power and restore balance to the grid.

Eight such projects are being built around the UK after winning contracts from National Grid last year. Dr Gladwin said that such batteries would degrade over time the more they were charged and discharged, and were only expected to have a lifetime of ten years. Flywheels were a better way to deal with rapid short-term fluctuations, he said. The flywheel project in Willenhall should provide a megawatt of power for just over a minute before it runs out of energy.

June 3, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, UK | Leave a comment

A promising first: hybrid wind power storage plant in Spain using batteries

Battery storage paired with wind farm in ground-breaking Spanish trial, REneweconomy By Sophie Vorrath on 30 May 2017

The first hybrid wind power storage plant in Spain using batteries

A world first hybrid renewables trial, pairing a grid-connected wind farm with lithium-ion battery storage and energy management software, has been switched on in Spain, in a bid to boost the integration of variable-generation renewables into electricity networks around the world.

The project, led by Spanish wind energy giant Acciona, will use in-house developed “simulation” software to control the battery storage systems at a specially developed hybrid power plant, which is located next to Acciona’s experimental wind farm at Barasoain (Navarra)…..

May 31, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, renewable, Spain | Leave a comment

Old Energy Order Draws to a Close as a battery storage revolution takes off

nuClear News No.94 April 2017 “…The old energy order is drawing to a close as a battery storage revolution takes off, according to the Telegraph. Over the last two years, battery costs have fallen 40%, with further falls to come as economies of scale take hold. Rapid growth in the market for battery storage, forecast by Goldman Sachs to increase by a thousand-fold from $258m (£210m) last year to $258bn in 2025, should in turn remove a number of the key economic constraints on renewable forms of energy. Wind and solar are intermittent forms of energy, and hitherto have therefore required complementary back-up generation to ensure there is enough power in the grid at all times to service demand. The great promise of storage is that it should lend renewables the same “always on” characteristics of more conventional forms of power, allowing electricity to be drawn when the wind is blowing, and given out again when it is not.

Paul Massara – a former chief executive of Npower who now runs his own battery storage business, North Star -says it seems plausible that at least half of all UK households will have installed battery storage facilities within 10 years. In such a world, energy supply ceases to be the linear business of delivering power from the generator to the consumer as and when it is required, and becomes much more about smart grids and data management. There will always be a need for National Grid and the District Network Operator Companies, but they may have to radically change their charging methods from a metered usage basis to a single, all-you-can eat rental charge, to cater for this new, much more diffuse form of power provision. That’s what happened to BT. Far less certain is that there will be any need for Hinkley Point C. This will in time be seen as a phenomenally expensive and unnecessary form of power generation; Theresa May’s Government will be cursed for locking us into such ruinously high prices. (1)

Britain’s energy system is poised for a rapid expansion of batteries, with 4 gigawatts likely to be operating by 2033, official forecasts show. Renewables will also play a bigger role than forecast, resulting in far fewer gas-fired power stations being built than expected, according to an analysis published by the government in March. No carbon capture and storage plants are likely to be built by 2030, according to the documents, which show the government’s best estimate of the future energy mix if policies are continued.

Large-scale battery technology is still in its infancy, with initial projects totalling 200 megawatts being built. New government forecasts project that this will increase to 1GW by 2021, 2GW by 2025, 3GW by 2029 and 4GW by 2033. Last year’s forecast included no battery capacity but the government said that it had “continued to see significant reductions in the cost of batteries”. The government now forecasts 45GW of renewable capacity will be built by 2035, compared with 33GW a year ago. Forecasts for new gas power plants have been reduced by an amount corresponding to the increase in renewables. (2

) Local authorities have been told they need to develop energy storage strategies, or get left behind. Speaking at the Association for Public Sector Excellence’s (APSE) energy conference, Ray Noble said the price of energy storage systems will come down “faster than solar” and “every onshore wind and solar farm will have one in the future. They [councils] need to put in place the right strategy or work with government to produce the right networks to make certain it happens in their area,” he said. “Local authorities have got to recognise that this is going to happen. They need to be seen to be ahead of the game, and telling people in their area why they are doing this.” Noble said storage will change the face of the energy market beyond recognition. (3)

The community at Garmony on the Isle of Mull is an example of how things might look in the future. It’s not just that the community is running a new 400-kilowatt hydro power plant on an east coast hillside that will plough £2 million into local projects. It’s what they are doing about using the electricity. With the help of experts and a government grant, they are trying to solve one of the most paradoxical problems of renewable power: sometimes there is just too much of it. If the river is flowing fast and full and electricity demand is low, there’s nowhere for the power to go. There’s a limit to how much can be transmitted to the mainland, and no easy way of storing it. The same applies to wind turbines when the wind is blowing hard but homes and factories aren’t hungry for power, at night for example. It’s why electricity consumers have to fund “constraint payments” to compensate generators forced to turn off turbines to avoid overloading the national grid. What the Mull and Iona Community Trust are trying to do is to develop a much smarter local grid that will enable electricity to be stored rather than wasted. It’s called the ACCESS project – Assisting Communities to Connect to Electric Sustainable Sources. It means that electric storage heaters in homes can be automatically switched on and off in order to match the amount of power being generated by the hydro plant. This may not sound like the kind of sophisticated system that is key to the future, but experts insist that it is. It is decentralised, locally owned and community-scale schemes for using renewable energy that have the real potential to revolutionise the energy system.

There are similar initiatives under way on the Orkney islands, where excess electricity from wind turbines can be used to charge community electric vehicles. These are the kind of ideas that, if they are shown to work, could be followed up across the country. “But we need to get away from thinking of green energy just as a bunch of subsidised windmills or wave or tidal turbines, or thinking only about electricity. Green energy in its widest sense includes energy generation technologies, but also heat pumps, energy efficiency, low emission vehicles and smart meters.” (4)

The arrival of large scale renewables with zero operating cost is eating away at the businesses of those companies reliant on selling on the open market. The old business model is now ‘obsolete’. Lower and lower prices are making it impossible to produce electricity from gas or coal in markets increasingly captured by solar and wind. Equally, no-one can raise the finance to build new power stations, even in those countries with ageing fleets, such as the UK, because of low prices and fewer and fewer hours of operation. This problem will get worse. Whether you are an enthusiast for a fast transition to a renewables-based energy system or are sceptical about the pace of change, the destruction of the traditional utility by the eating away of wholesale prices is not good news. It increases the possibility that the increasingly rapid switch to renewables around the world will be brought to a shuddering halt by governments worried about the security of energy supply because of the intermittency of wind and solar. Although we can make huge progress in adjusting electricity use to varying supply, ‘demand response’ will never be enough to deal with weeks of low wind speed and little sun in northern countries.

‘Power-to-gas’ is the critical remaining ingredient of the energy transition, says Chris Goodall. Without a rapid and whole-hearted commitment to this technology, the renewables revolution may ultimately fail. The right way to ‘fix the broken utility model’ is to link the gas and electricity markets through large-scale application of power-to-gas technologies. Big utilities talk about understanding the need for decentralisation but the reality is that they will be terrible at moving away from centralised production plants. What they would be good at is running large scale electrolysis and methanation operations that allow them to continue to run CCGT power plants when electricity is scarce. We will not need capacity payments or other complex subsidies and incentive schemes. By creating a continuing role for CCGT we will have found a way to keep our energy supply secure without threatening decarbonisation objectives.

April 8, 2017 Posted by | ENERGY, energy storage | Leave a comment

Giant renewable energy storage battery – a transformation for a coal mine

Germany Converts Coal Mine into Giant Battery to Store Renewable Energy for off-Hours EnviroNews World News  on April 2, 2017  North Rhein Westphalia, Germany — The Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine, slated to be shut down in 2018 when government subsidies run out, is being repurposed to become a giant battery for excess power created by renewable energy sources. Located in North Rhein Westphalia, the coal mine’s conversion will allow Germany to store 200 MW of electricity for use during times when solar and wind are unavailable or unable to meet energy needs.

The storage is formed by a reservoir of water above the mine. The water can be released into the system when it is needed. As gravity pulls the water into the coal mine below, the water turns a turbine creating electricity. The water is then pumped back to the reservoir. This can be done when power prices are lower or when renewable energy sources are making more energy than people are using, as they did in Germany on May 12, 2016. This isn’t the first pumped hydroelectric storage station; however, it is the first one to use a coal mine for its lower reservoir.

According to Governor Hannelore Kraft, the miners of Bottrop will remain employed during the conversion process. Thus the plan addresses two concerns about which most opponents are vocal when it comes to energy sources like solar and wind. It creates a storage system, and it keeps people employed…….

April 3, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, Germany | Leave a comment