The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

2016 a year of rapid progress for renewable energy storage

The industry continues to surpass milestones, fueled by increased value and market opportunities, as well as plummeting system costs,” said Matt Roberts, executive director of the Energy Storage Association. “After record-breaking deployments in 2015, the energy storage industry is on pace to grow another 30 percent this year – increasing grid flexibility, efficiency and resiliency along the way.”
Expect Good Things From The U.S. Energy Storage Industry This Year by Betsy Lillian on September 09, 2016  According to the latest U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, a quarterly publication from GTM Research and theEnergy Storage Association (ESA), the U.S. deployed 41.2 MW of energy storage in the second quarter of 2016 – an increase of 126% over the first quarter of the year.

Year over year, energy storage deployments were up just 1%. What the market lacked in annual growth, however, it made up for in geographic and market-segment diversification.

The report says the largest front-of-the-meter project was not deployed in either PJM territory or California, the perennially leading markets, but rather in MISO’s territory in Indiana. In fact, PJM territory and California together accounted for only 35% of the megawatt capacity and 47% of megawatt-hour capacity deployed in the quarter – their lowest contribution in more than three years. The report says that by the end of the year, though, California will reclaim its position as the nation’s top storage market, as several megawatts of storage are slated to be installed in record time to help ease Aliso Canyon-related capacity issues in Southern California.

“This quarter marked several storage firsts, such as the first grid-scale project in MISO and a large solar-plus-storage at a municipal utility in Ohio,” said Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage. “Additionally, the industry received a big boost from the White House, with recently announced public and private commitments that will result in 1.3 GW of new storage deployments and, more importantly, spur a billion dollars in storage investments.”

Behind-the-meter deployments, which consist of residential and commercial energy storage systems, grew 66% year over year. The report attributes this success to improving economics and adoption in new state markets.

The industry continues to surpass milestones, fueled by increased value and market opportunities, as well as plummeting system costs,” said Matt Roberts, executive director of the Energy Storage Association. “After record-breaking deployments in 2015, the energy storage industry is on pace to grow another 30 percent this year – increasing grid flexibility, efficiency and resiliency along the way.”

According to the report, the U.S. is on track to deploy 287 MW of energy storage this year.

September 10, 2016 Posted by | energy storage, renewable | Leave a comment

Desk sized turbine could be more efficient than batteries for storing energy  GE sees its new turbine as a strong rival to batteries for storing power from the grid. by David Talbot, April 11, 2016  GE Global Research is testing a desk-size turbine that could power a small town of about 10,000 homes. The unit is driven by “supercritical carbon dioxide,” which is in a state that at very high pressure and up to 700 °C exists as neither a liquid nor a gas. After the carbon dioxide passes through the turbine, it’s cooled and then repressurized before returning for another pass.

The unit’s compact size and ability to turn on and off rapidly could make it useful in grid storage. It’s about one-tenth the size of a steam turbine of comparable output, and has the potential to be 50 percent efficient at turning heat into electricity. Steam-based systems are typically in the mid-40 percent range; the improvement is achieved because of the better heat-transfer properties and reduced need for compression in a system that uses supercritical carbon dioxide compared to one that uses steam. The GE prototype is 10 megawatts, but the company hopes to scale it to 33 megawatts.

In addition to being more efficient, the technology could be more nimble—in a grid-storage scenario, heat from solar energy, nuclear power, or combustion could first be stored as molten salt and the heat later used to drive the process.

While such a heat reservoir could also be used to boil water to power a steam turbine, a steam system could take 30 minutes to get cranked up, while a carbon dioxide turbine might take only a minute or two—making it well-suited for on-the-spot power generation needed during peak demand periods.

GE’s system might also be better than huge arrays of batteries. Adding more hours of operation just means having a larger or hotter reservoir of the molten salt, rather than adding additional arrays of giant batteries. “The key thing will come down to economics,” says Doug Hofer, the GE engineer in charge of the project. While there’s work ahead, he says, “at this point we think our economic story is favorable compared to batteries.”

August 29, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, energy storage | Leave a comment

Implementing storage technologies – necessary in transition from nuclear power

highly-recommendedAs nuclear power plants close, states need to bet big on energy storage Skeptical Science  9 August 2016 by dana1981 Eric Daniel Fournier, Post Doctoral Researcher, Spatial Informatics, University of California, Los Angeles and Alex Ricklefs, Research Analyst in Sustainable Communities, University of California, Los Angeles This article was originally published on The Conversation . Read the original article.

“……due to negative opinion and costly renovations, we are now observing a trend whereby long-running nuclear power plants are shutting down and very few new plants are being scheduled for construction in the United States.

Utilities are moving toward renewable electricity generation, such as solar and wind, partially in response to market forces and partially in response to new regulations that require utilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In California, in particular, the shift toward renewable energy for market and environmental reasons, along with the public’s negative perception of nuclear energy, has caused utilities to abandon nuclear power.

While opponents can view the shutdown of nuclear power plants as a health and environmental success, closing nuclear plants intensifies the challenges faced by utilities to meet electricity consumption demand while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint. PG&E, for example, has pledged to increase renewable energy sources and energy efficiency efforts, but this alone will not help them supply their customers with electricity around the clock. What can be used to fill the sizable gap left by Diablo Canyon’s closing?

Solar and wind energy sources are desirable as they produce carbon-free electricity without producing toxic and dangerous waste byproducts. However, they also suffer from the drawback of being able to produce electricity only intermittently throughout the day. Solar energy can be utilized only when the sun is out, and wind speeds vary unpredictably.

In order to meet customer electricity demand at all hours, energy storage technologies, alongside more renewable sources and increased energy efficiency, will be needed.

Enter energy storage

Energy storage has long been touted as the panacea for integrating renewable energy into the grid at large scale. Replacing the power generation left by Diablo Canyon’s closing will require expansive additions to wind and solar. However, more renewable energy generation will require more storage.

There are many different energy storage technologies currently available or in the process of commercialization, but each falls into one of four basic categories: chemical storage as in batteries, kinetic storage such as flywheelsthermal storage and magnetic storage.

The different technologies within each of these category can be characterized and compared in terms of their:

  • power rating: how much electrical current produced
  • energy capacity: how much energy can be stored or discharged, and
  • response time: the minimum amount of time needed to deliver energy. [excellent graphs provided here on original]

The key challenge that utilities are now faced with is how to integrate energy storage technologies for specific power delivery applications at specific locations.

This challenge is further complicated by the electric power transmission system and consumer behaviors that have evolved based on a energy supply system dominated by fossil fuels. Additionally, storage technologies are expensive and still developing, which makes fossil fuel generators look more economically beneficial in the short term.

Implementing storage technologies

Currently in California, energy storage is effectively provided by fossil fuel power plants. These natural gas and coal-powered plants provide steady “baseload” power and can ramp up generation to meet peaks in demand, which generally happen in the afternoon and early evening.

A single energy storage device cannot directly replace the capacity potential of these fossil fuel sources, which can generate high rates of power as long as needed.

The inability to perform a like-for-like replacement means that a more diversified portfolio strategy toward energy storage must be adopted in order to make a smooth transition to a lower carbon energy future. Such balanced energy storage portfolio would necessarily consist of some combination of:

  • short-duration energy storage systems that are capable of maintaining power quality by meeting localized spikes in peak demand and buffering short term supply fluctuations. These could include supercapacitors, batteries and flywheels that can supply bursts of power quickly.
  • Lower speed energy storage that can supply a lot of power and store a lot of energy. These systems, such as pumped hydro and thermal storage with concentrated solar power, are capable of shifting the seasonality of solar production and servicing the unique power requirements for large scale or sensitive power users in the commercial and industrial sectors.

This set of storage technologies would have to be linked up in a kind of chain, nested and tiered by end use, location and integration into the grid. Additionally, management systems will be needed to control how the storage technologies interact with the grid.

Currently without sufficient energy storage in place, utilities now use natural gas to fill in the gaps in electricity supply from renewable sources. Utilities use “peaker” plants, which are natural gas-fueled plants that can turn generation up or down to meet electricity demand, such as when solar output dips in the late afternoon and evening, while producing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the process.

With natural gas consumption for electricity generation on the rise, would it be better to keep nuclear power while energy storage technologies mature? Although less polluting than coal, natural gas produces greenhouse gas emissions and has the potential to causeenvironmentally dangerous leaks, as seen in Aliso Canyon.

With nuclear, it is still not clear what to do with nuclear waste, and the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 highlights how catastrophically dangerous nuclear power plants can be.

Regardless of which situation you believe is best, it is clear that energy storage is the major limitation to achieving a carbon-free electricity grid.

California’s commitment to renewable energy sources has helped shift the state to using less fossil fuels and emitting less greenhouse gases. However, careful planning is needed to ensure that energy storage systems are installed to take over the baseline load duties currently held by natural gas and nuclear power, as renewables and energy efficiency may not be able to carry the burden.

August 12, 2016 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

A disruptive technology: Elon Musk’s energy master plan

Sophie Vorrath: Musk’s energy master plan: Is this the beginning of the end of the utility? July 27, 2016. When Elon Musk published part 2 of his Tesla Masterplan last week, it was his vision of a future where cars from a huge shared fleet of driverless electric vehicles could be summoned by the touch of a mobile phone app that dominated headlines.

But Musk’s vision for a world of energy self-sufficient households with solar and battery storage was equally ambitious – and threatens to be as disruptive to the world’s electricity industry as his autonomous shared vehicle plan could be to the automotive industry, not to mention Uber.


July 28, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised, energy storage | Leave a comment

Electricity system being reshaped by solar energy, batteries and electric cars

Will solar, batteries and electric cars re-shape the electricity system?, UBS, 20 July 16, 

 Batteries and solar at the tipping point: Electricity users will become generators Solar systems and batteries will be disruptive technologies for the electricity system. Steeply declining battery and solar system costs will enable multiple new applications. In this note, we focus on the impact on the utilities and auto sectors. Our proprietary model suggests a payback time as low as 6-8 years for a combined EV + solar + battery investment by 2020 – unsubsidised. We see Europe, and in particular Germany, Italy and Spain, leading this paradigm shift due to high fuel and retail electricity prices.

EVs entering the mass market, battery demand could grow exponentially We forecast a c10% EV and plug-in hybrid penetration in Europe by 2025. While the initial growth should predominantly be driven by incentives and carbon regulation, the entry into the mass market should happen because EVs will pay off. The expected rapid decline in battery cost by >50% by 2020 should not just spur EV sales, but also lead to exponential growth in demand for stationary batteries to store excess power. This is relevant for an electricity mix with a much higher share of (volatile) renewables.
Opportunities for utilities: Customers, smart grid and decentralised backup In this decentralised electricity world, the key utilities’ assets will be smart distribution networks, end customer relationships and small-scale backup units. Utilities should be able to extract more value in (highly competitive) supply activities, as customer needs will be more complex. Large-scale power generation, however, will be the dinosaur of the future energy system: Too big, too inflexible, not even relevant for backup power in the long run. Overall, sector EPS could grow 13% by 2025 on capex and higher-margin supply businesses, but differences between the companies should be large……..

July 22, 2016 Posted by | energy storage, renewable | Leave a comment

Energy storage favours the renewable revolution, not outdated nuclear power

“…….Berkeley Energy Professor Daniel Kammen ably defended energy storage, ……. Energy storage is cost competitive already in some markets—unlike new nuclear, Kammen said, and its price is dropping on a steeper curve than the dramatic reductions seen in solar costs. Storage will be more effective in the decentralized energy grid that’s emerging, he continued, than nuclear could be.

“The dramatic ramp up in solar resulted in the dramatic realization that a diverse, decentralized system can provide the same critical features that we think about with a baseload highly centralized system,” said Kammen. “Not tomorrow, but in the time frame that we need it, it’s absolutely there.”….

Ball summarized: ”So the argument is that rather than having yesterday’s no-carbon technology, which is a very centralized big generation technology, you think the world now has tomorrow’s no-carbon technology, which looks like a ballet of lots of different sources ready to go.”

In addition to batteries, compressed air storage is cost competitive, Kammen said, and flywheel storage can deliver power in sub-milliseconds. And in time, electric cars, buses and other vehicles will be used as a storage resource, he said. That’s a strategy China is pursuing and that Kammen has suggested the rest of the world consider, not in the next five years, but a bit later as these technologies develop and proliferate.

Meanwhile, small modular nuclear reactors won’t be ready in time to meet the grid’s needs, he said, and conventional reactors are too expensive.

“If you want to bet on a robust-basic-research to an applied-research-deployment category,” Kammen said, “that far favors the storage revolution than it does the nuclear revolution.”…… Silicon Valley Energy Summit , Forbes 5 June 16

June 6, 2016 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

Revolutionary solar power: London Borough’s solar panels over marketplace

flag-UKLondon borough installs 6,000 solar panels over marketplace  £2m scheme by Hounslow council on Western International Market will be biggest solar scheme by any local authority, and use batteries to store energy. London council is unveiling a vast installation of 6,000 solar panels on a wholesale market rooftop, which it says is the largest such array put up by a local authority.

solar market London borough

The London Borough of Hounslow says its £2m investment in solar, which has been installed on the roof of Western International Market, is also the first by a council to adopt battery storage to maximise the power from the panels.
The 1.73 megawatt (MW) array of 6,069 panels and four 60kW lithium batteries system now generates half the site’s required electricity.

The site is west London’s largest wholesale market for fresh produce and flowers, and uses around 3.5 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity to provide climate controlled facilities to around 80 wholesalers and buyers – the equivalent of 1,750 homes a year.

Hounslow council, which owns the market near Heathrow Airport, says the solar system will contribute 2% of its carbon reduction target, cutting emissions by more than 780 tonnes a year.

It will also save £148,000 in energy costs which, along with £100,000 in generation tariff payments and £7,000 in export tariffs, means that the council expects to be £255,000 better off in the first year of operation.

Charles Pipe, energy manager at Hounslow, said: “From the very beginning, this project has been about reducing our carbon footprint and making an investment for the future. “But we have achieved so much more than that. Not only can we expect to see immediate savings on our electricity bills, but we are expecting to see a return on this investment in about five years.”

LG Electronics, one of Hounslow’s partners in the scheme, said it was the company’s largest solar panel installation in Europe and would deliver significant costs savings to the borough.

LG Solar’s UK senior solar sales manager Bob Mills said: “What’s more, the project has set the wheels in motion for further investment and research into the potential of battery storage, which is set to revolutionise the solar industry.

May 20, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, energy storage, UK | Leave a comment

New battery technology developed by Chinese researchers

text-relevantChinese researchers develop new battery technology, EurekAlert, 25 Mar 16CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES HEADQUARTER A Chinese research team from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed a novel, environmentally friendly low-cost battery that overcomes many of the problems of lithium ion batteries (LIB). The new aluminum-graphite dual-ion battery (AGDIB) offers significantly reduced weight, volume, and fabrication cost, as well as higher energy density, in comparison with conventional LIBs. AGDIB’s electrode materials are composed of environmentally friendly low cost aluminum and graphite only, while its electrolyte is composed of conventional lithium salt and carbonate solvent.

The research, published in “A Novel Aluminum-Graphite Dual-Ion Battery,” recently appeared in Advanced Energy Materials (IF=16.146).

The discovery is particularly important given rising battery demand and existing LIB technology, which is reaching its limit in specific energy (by weight) and energy density (by volume).

LIBs are widely used in portable electronic devices, electric vehicles and renewable energy systems. Battery disposal creates major environmental problems, since most batteries contain toxic metals in their electrodes. According to the Freedonia Group, world battery demand is expected to rise 7.7% annually, reaching US$120 billion in 2019………

March 27, 2016 Posted by | China, energy storage | Leave a comment


CAN LARGE-SCALE SOLAR POWER STORAGE BECOME A REALITY?, Stanford Engineering, An unexpected finding by a team of engineers could lead to a revolutionary change in how we produce, store and consume energy. By Glen Martin, 16 Feb 16,  “……..Now a team led by William Chueh, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, and Nicholas Melosh, an associate professor in the same department, has made a discovery that could make large-scale solar power storage a reality.

The breakthrough is based on the fact that ordinary metal oxides, such as rust, can be fashioned into solar cells capable of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Using solar cells to split H2O by day is a way to store energy for use at night. The photons captured by the cell are converted into the electrons that provide the energy to split water. Recombining hydrogen and oxygen after dark would be a way to reclaim that energy and “dispatch” power back into the electrical grid – without burning fossil fuels and releasing more carbon into the atmosphere.The solar power potential of metal oxides was previously known. But metal oxide solar cells were also known to be less efficient at converting photons to electrons than silicon solar cells.A discovery reported in the journal Energy & Environmental Science makes metal-oxide solar cells a better candidate for energy storage. The Stanford team showed that as metal oxide solar cells grow hotter, they convert photons into electrons more efficiently. The exact opposite is true with silicon solar cells, which lose efficiency as they heat up.”We’ve shown that inexpensive, abundant and readily processed metal oxides could become better producers of electricity than was previously supposed,” Chueh said.This unexpected discovery could lead to a revolutionary change in how we produce, store and consume energy.”By combining heat and light, solar water-splitting cells based on metal oxides become significantly more efficient at storing the inexhaustible power of the sun for use on demand,” he said.ACHIEVING COST-EFFICIENCY

So far it has been impractical to use water-splitting as a way to store the sun’s energy. One reason is cost-efficiency. Silicon-based solar cells, such as those used in rooftop solar arrays, are good at converting visible and ultraviolet light into electricity. But silicon cells waste the infrared light, which bears heat, beating down on them.”Standard cells utilize a relatively small portion of the spectrum, and the rest is lost as heat,” Chueh said.Until the recent Stanford experiments, it was believed that metal oxides also became less efficient as they became hotter. And since they were less efficient than silicon to start with, that made them less interesting as a water-splitting technology.The Stanford experiments change that misconception…………Discovering that heating up metal oxides produces more energy means that relatively simple engineering could be applied to heat these solar cells to enhance their efficiency.”You don’t have to add energy from an outside source,” said graduate student and team member Andrey Poletayev. “You can do it for free by concentrating solar radiation, either through a magnifying lens or parabolic mirrors.”Chueh believes that this discovery will refocus attention on developing metal oxides as cost-effective alternatives to silicon solar cells. Quite apart from their potential use in a day-to-night energy storage scenario, he envisions that pure hydrogen gas produced by water-splitting could be used to power vehicles or other machines directly and without pollution.”We can store these gases, we can transport them through pipelines, and when we burn them we don’t release any extra carbon,” said Chueh. “It’s a carbon-neutral energy cycle.”This research was supported by Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project and by the National Science Foundation.

March 23, 2016 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

Battery storage for solar now a very big deal

sun-powerThis huge deal is the latest evidence that the battery revolution has arrived, WP   By Chris Mooney December 15 At the Paris climate change conference earlier this month, all eyes were on some massive announcements in the solar and wind energy space — including plans in Africa to install 300 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity across the continent by the year 2030. A gigawatt is a billion watts — and this would be nearly double the electricity capacity that the continent currently supports.

Less noticed, however, is that a key enabling technology for solar — and for the future of clean energy — is also starting to grow: Energy storage. When solar systems are connected with batteries or other forms of storage, they can cease to be dependent upon whether the sun is shining and how strong its rays are at a given moment. Rather, solar energy can be stored and used at a later time. Including at night.

And now AES, a large energy company headquartered in Arlington, Va., has announced a very large deal in the battery space. It is gaining access to 1 gigawatt-hour worth of lithium ion batteries from Seoul-based LG Chem, a chemicals giant that also has a strong business in making lithium ion batteries for electric and hybrid electric vehicles. The batteries will be deployed in AES’s Advancion platform, which provides large scale grid energy storage to utility companies.

Power – in this case, a gigawatt – refers to the amount of electricity that can be discharged instantaneously. But when it comes to batteries, what’s also important is how long the battery can operate — its energy. Thus, 1 gigawatt hour would refer to the capacity to discharge that much power for one hour — but it could also refer to the ability to discharge 250 megawatts (or million watts) for four hours.

Either way, that’s a very large amount of batteries. For comparison, GTM Research recently forecast that the U.S. will deploy a record 192 megawatts of energy storage in 2015.

The energy storage business is “definitely moving to a new level this year,” says John Zahurancik, president of AES Energy Storage.  Zahurancik says the big buy of batteries is a “vote of confidence” in this business, which drew dramatic attention earlier this year when Tesla Motors announced a home battery product dubbed the “Powerwall.”

But for now, the biggest business for batteries isn’t in the home, where they can serve a backup role in the event of an outage or pair with a rooftop solar system; it’s on the grid, where there is a constant need to be able to manage shifting electricity demand at different times of the day. Batteries that can switch on automatically at key moments can provide a major grid service, which is why they’re seeing more and more demand.

Thus, AES is in effect packaging lots of batteries, provided by LG Chem, into large systems that large power companies can purchase and then install or integrate on the grid wherever they need this new capacity. AES directly advertises its batteries as the “complete alternative” to “peaking power plants.”

“The projects are generally getting bigger, they’re getting longer in duration, and they’re happening in more markets around the world,” says Zahurancik……..

December 18, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, energy storage | Leave a comment

New batteries coming for solar powered homes

solar-rooftopsWant a Solar-Powered Home? Here’s a New Battery That Won’t Ignite
As solar panels and wind turbines spread worldwide, they’ll need batteries to store power for times when they don’t produce it. Harvard debuts a promising prototype. 
By Wendy Koch, National Geographic  SEPTEMBER 24, 2015 If you dream of an off-grid house powered by the sun, plan on a battery to store energy for cloudy days—ideally, one that won’t catch fire. Harvard researchers might have just the fix.

 In the race to build the battery of the future, they’re unveiling a unique option. They say their flow battery is the first made with cheap, non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-flammable, high-performance materials.

“It is a huge step forward. It opens this up for anyone to use,” says Michael Aziz,  Harvard University engineering professor and co-author of a study published Thursday in the journal Science. Because the battery is safe and non-corrosive, he says, it’s well suited for both businesses and homes, adding: “This is chemistry I’d be happy to put in my basement.”………

September 26, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

Control of electricity at the local level, with batteries for renewable energy

In the end, the solution might lie on a smaller scale: giving everyone the power to store their own power. Tesla is one company of several in this game: it recently announced a device called the Powerwall, designed for homes and businesses. It uses the same batteries as electric cars to store energy, either from renewables or cheap night-time electricity, ready to be used during the day.

If such systems become commonplace, we might all become a little more aware of where our energy is coming from, and how our own behaviour affects its use and production

batteries Terence Eduarte

The battery revolution that will let us all be power brokers, New Scientist 22 July 15 
Companies are racing to find better ways to store electricity – and so provide us with cheaper energy when and where we want it “……..
. Although they are still dwarfed in most respects by the bulky lead-acid batteries found in almost every car on the road today, in 2015, lithium-ion batteries will account for around a third of the money spent on rechargeable batteries globally (see “Turn it on”), and just under a sixth of the total energy stored, according to French research firm Avicenne.

At the same time, their performance has improved immensely: design tweaks have tripled the energy stored in a given volume since the technology was commercialised in 1991. Success has bred success, and lithium-ion batteries have found new and bigger applications, such as electric vehicles (see “Powered by Lithium”). For example, the Model S electric car designed by Tesla Motors, a company owned by serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, is powered by thousands of small lithium-ion batteries arrayed between the car’s axles. It can go from zero to 95 kilometres an hour in 3.1 seconds, and can travel about 430 kilometres on a single charge, although charging it can take many hours.
Tesla has no plans to stop there. Lithium-ion batteries are so important to the company that it has taken manufacturing into its own hands, building a “Gigafactory” just outside Reno, Nevada. By 2020, the company plans to produce as many lithium-ion batteries annually as the entire world produced in 2013 – enough for a fleet of 500,000 electric cars – and with a 30 per cent reduction in production cost per battery………

Continue reading

July 25, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, decentralised, energy storage, Reference | Leave a comment

Grid powered 50% by renewable energy without the use of batteries.

Could one million smart pool pumps ‘store’ renewable energy better than giant batteries? The Conversation,  Sean Meyn Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Florida, 12 June 15 “……..In my research, I’ve found that we can accommodate a grid powered 50% by renewable energy without the use of batteries.

Systems flexible enough to accommodate the ups and downs of solar and wind production can be made by adjusting the power at millions of homes and businesses on a minute-by-minute or even second-by-second basis. This approach requires no new hardware, some control software and a bit of consumer engagement.

Massive balancing act..……This is an enormous challenge to grid operators in this region. Massive fluctuations in power require equally massive storage devices that can charge when the wind is blowing, and discharge during periods of calm.

Now, the balance of supply and demand for power is primarily done by generating more power rather than storage.

Grid operators draw on what is called the balancing reserves obtained from fossil fuel generators or hydro plants, when available. These power plants ramp up and down their output in response to a signal from a grid balancing authority. This is just one of many ancillary services required to maintain a reliable grid.

Many states are now scrambling to find new sources of ancillary services, and the federal government is also searching for incentives: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders 745, 755 and 784 are recent responses by a government agency to create financial incentives for responsive resources to balance the grid.

Are batteries the solution?

Storage is everywhere, but we have to think beyond electricity…………..

Through local intelligence – in the form of a chip on each device or a home computer for many devices – the collection of one million pools in Florida can be harnessed as massive batteries. Through one-way communication, each pool will receive a regulation signal from the grid operator. The pool will change state from on to off based on its own requirements, such as recent cleaning hours, along with the needs of the grid. Just as in the office building, each consumer will be assured of desired service.

Pools are, of course, just one example of a hungry but flexible load.

On-off loads such as water pumps, refrigerators or water heaters require a special kind of intelligence so that they can accurately erase the variability created from renewable generation. Randomization is key to success: To avoid synchronization (we don’t want every pool to switch off at once), the local intelligence includes a specially designed “coin-flip”; each load turns on or off with some probability that depends on its own environment as well as the state of the grid.

It is possible to obtain highly reliable ancillary service to the grid, while maintaining strict bounds on the quality of service delivered by each load. With a smart thermostat, for example, indoor temperature will not deviate by more than one degree if this constraint is desired. Refrigerators will remain cool and reliable, and pools will be free of algae………

Today, about 750,000 homeowners in Florida have signed contracts with utility Florida Power & Light, allowing them to shut down pool pumps and water heaters in case of emergencies. How can we expand on these contracts to engage millions of homeowners and commercial building operators to supply the virtual storage needed? Recent FERC rules that offer payments for ancillary services for balancing the grid are a valuable first step in providing incentives.

It is possible that little incentive is required since we are not subjecting consumers to any loss of comfort: it is the pool or fridge that provides flexibility, and not the homeowner.

A sustainable energy future is possible and inexpensive with a bit of intelligence and flexibility from our appliances.

June 13, 2015 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

The irrestistible appeal of home controlled electricity – with solar energy storage

What is certain is that the electricity equation will look very different in a few short years, and it looks like, for the first time in many years, that ordinary consumers will hold a bit more of the power 

How home energy storage is going to change the way we think about power, Adelaide Now,  CAMERON ENGLAND SUNDAY MAIL (SA) MAY 31, 2015 WHEN Elon Musk launched the Tesla Power Wall earlier this month, it was done in true Silicon Valley style.

The charismatic chief executive enters stage right, sans tie, and makes a pronouncement that his new product will change the world — cue rapturous applause from the audience and because this is the United States, whooping.

The thing about Musk’s pronouncement is that it’s most likely true.

It might not necessarily be his company — critics are divided as to whether Tesla will be the market leader it’s portraying itself as — but home and business energy storage is soon to change the way energy utilities, homes and governments think about power……..

Batteries allow homes and especially businesses to employ “peak shaving” — if power prices spike, flick over to using your own solar power and save money, or if the grid power is cheap, suck it out and sell it back later at a higher price.

Or simply save up the solar power your rooftop panels produce during the day for use in the evening, when your demand might be higher……..

graph solar  Melbourne 15

Tesla Power builds on the Tesla Motors technology — relatively standard lithium ion batteries with smart software to help them interact with the grid. The initial interest has been huge. The company recently reported early orders of 50,000 to 60,000 batteries, or as Musk put it, “It’s like crazy off-the-hook”.

Effectively the company is sold out until the middle of next year and its huge new factory will not be big enough to keep up with demand.

At $US3000 for the battery and $US7000 installed with solar panels (US prices) the system makes it economic for houses to become much less dependent on grid power.

UBS estimates that in Australia, the system would pay itself back in six years.

But Tesla is not the only game in town — although it almost certainly has the best PR machine. Continue reading

June 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, energy storage | Leave a comment

in sum – cheaper, more easily available energy storage helps at the scale of the power grid, and also at the level of our homes, to further advantage cleaner, renewable energy. So if the economics of storage are finally starting to line up – and its business side to ramp up – that can only be good news for the planet. 

battey TeslaTesla’s battery announcement shows the coming revolution in energy storage, Sydney Morning Herald May 2, 2015  Chris Mooney “……Tesla announced that it is offering a home battery product, which people can use to store energy from their solar panels or to back-up their homes against blackouts, and also larger scale versions that could perform similar roles for companies or even parts of the grid.

For homeowners, the Tesla Powerwall will have a power capacity of either 10 kilowatt hours or 7 kilowatt hours, at a cost of either $US3500 or $US3000………

Tesla isn’t the only company in the battery game, and whatever happens with Tesla, this market is expected to grow. A study by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association earlier this year found that while storage remains relatively niche – the market was sized at just $US128 million in 2014 – it also grew 40 per cent last year, and three times as many installations are expected this year.

By 2019, GTM Research forecasts, the overall market will have reached a size of $US1.5 billion.

“The trend is more and more players being interested in the storage market,” says GTM Research’s Ravi Manghani. Tesla, he says, has two unique advantages – it is building a massive battery-making “gigafactory” which should drive down prices, and it is partnered with solar installer Solar City (Musk is Solar City’s chairman), which “gives Tesla access to a bigger pool of customers, both residential and commercial, who are looking to deploy storage with or without solar.”

The major upshot of more and cheaper batteries and much more widespread energy storage could, in the long term, be a true energy revolution – as well as a much greener planet. Here are just a few ways that storage can dramatically change – and green – the way we get power: Continue reading

May 6, 2015 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment