DOE’s 3 Year $220M Grid Modernization Plan

With 88 projects from coast to coast, it might be the biggest grid edge R&D effort ever. Here’s how the money is going to be spent.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.greentechmedia.com

“[…] The Grid Modernization Multi-Year Program Plan will bring a consortium of 14 national laboratories together with more than 100 companies, utilities, research organizations, state regulators and regional grid operators. The scope of this work includes integrating renewable energy, energy storage and smart building technologies at the edges of the grid network, at a much greater scale than is done today.

That will require a complicated mix of customer-owned and utility-controlled technology, all of which must be secured against cyberattacks and extreme weather events. And at some point, all of this new technology will need to become part of how utilities, grid operators, regulators, ratepayers and new energy services providers manage the economics of the grid.

DOE has already started releasing funds to 10 “pioneer regional partnerships,” or “early-stage, public-private collaborative projects […]  The projects range from remote microgrids in Alaska and grid resiliency in New Orleans, to renewable energy integration in Vermont and Hawaii, and scaling up to statewide energy regulatory overhauls in California and New York. Others are providing software simulation capabilities to utilities and grid operators around the country, or looking at ways to tie the country’s massive eastern and western grids into a more secure and efficient whole.

Another six “core” projects are working on more central issues, like creating the “fundamental knowledge, metrics and tools we’re going to need to establish the foundation of this effort,” he said (David Danielson).  Those include technology architecture and interoperability, device testing and validation, setting values for different grid services that integrated distributed energy resources (DERs) can provide, and coming up with the right sensor and control strategy to balance costs and complexity.

Finally, the DOE has identified six “cross-cutting” technology areas that it wants to support, Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary of DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, noted in last week’s conference call. Those include device and integrated system testing, sensing and measurement, system operations and controls, design and planning tools, security and resilience, and institutional support for the utilities, state regulators and regional grid operators that will be the entities that end up deploying this technology at scale.

Much of the work is being driven by the power grid modernization needs laid out in DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review, which called for $3.5 billion in new spending to modernize and strengthen the country’s power grid, while the Quadrennial Technology Review brought cybersecurity and interoperability concerns to bear.[…]

DOE will hold six regional workshops over the coming months to provide more details, Danielson said. We’ve already seen one come out this week — the $18 million in SunShot grants for six projects testing out ways to bring storage-backed solar power to the grid at a cost of less than 14 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“We can’t look at one attribute of the grid at a time,” he said. “We’re not just looking for a secure grid — we’re looking for an affordable grid, a sustainable grid, a resilient grid.” And one that can foster renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction at the state-by-state and national levels. […]

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Solar Energy and Battery Storage Coupled Provide Demand Response & Utility Peak Shaving

Borrego Solar, a developer, and Stem, an energy storage firm, discuss when PV, storage or both will benefit commercial customers the most.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.greentechmedia.com

>” […] Thanks to advancements in technology, there are more energy solutions available to consumers. As a result, the confusion about which option to choose — solar, storage or solar-plus-storage — is growing.

Utility energy costs

To understand the benefits of energy storage and solar at a customer facility, it’s essential to first understand the elements of most organizations’ utility energy costs: energy charges and demand charges. This is the bread and butter for energy managers, but many leaders in finance and/or operations aren’t as aware of the energy cost mix — despite it being one of their largest budgetary line items. It should be noted that this billing structure isn’t in place in every market.

Energy charges, the price paid for the amount of energy used over the course of the billing cycle, are how most people think of paying for electricity. A price is paid for every kilowatt-hour used. Demand charges are additional charges incurred by most commercial customers and are determined by the highest amount of energy, in kilowatts, used at any instant or over some designated timeframe — typically a 15-minute interval — in that billing cycle.

Demand charges are a bit more complex. They come from a need for the grid infrastructure to be large enough to accommodate the highest amount of energy, or demand, needed at any moment in order to avoid a blackout. Every region is different, but demand charges typically make up somewhere between 20 percent and 40 percent of an electricity bill for commercial customers.

Why storage?

Intelligent storage can help organizations specifically tackle their demand charges. By combining predictive software and battery-based storage, these systems know when to deploy energy during usage peaks and offset those costly demand charges. Most storage systems run completely independently from solar, so they can be added to a building whether or not solar is present.

Storage can reduce demand charges by dispensing power during brief periods of high demand, which in essence shaves down the peaks, or spikes, in energy usage. Deploying storage is economical under current market conditions for load profiles that have brief spikes in demand, because a relatively small battery can eliminate the short-lived peaks.

For peak demand periods of longer duration, a larger, and considerably more expensive, battery would be needed, and with the higher material costs, the economics may not be cost-effective. As system costs continue to decline, however, a broader range of load profiles will be able to save with energy storage.

Why solar?

For the commercial, industrial or institutional energy user, solar’s value proposition is pretty simple. For most facilities in states with high energy costs and a net metering regime in place, onsite solar can reduce energy charges and provide a hedge against rising electricity costs. The savings come primarily from producing/buying energy from the solar system, which reduces the amount of energy purchased from the utility, and — when the installation produces more than is used — the credit from selling the excess energy to the grid at retail rates.

The demand savings are a relatively small part of the benefit of solar because the timing of solar production and peak demand need to line up in order to cut down demand charges. Solar production is greatest from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but the peak period (when demand for energy across the grid is highest) is typically from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. If demand-charge rates are determined by the highest peak incurred, customers with solar will still fall into higher demand classes from their energy usage later in the day, when solar has less of an impact.

That being said, solar can reduce a significant portion of demand charges if the customer is located within a utility area where solar grants access to new, solar-friendly rate schedules. These rate schedules typically reduce demand charges and increase energy charges, so the portion of the utility bill that solar can impact is larger.  […]”<

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Virtual Power Plants Aggregate Renewable Energy Battery Storage Systems

Aggregating connected energy storage systems to create ‘virtual power plants’ is likely to become a big part of the next phase of storage, according to the executive director of the US-based Energy Storage Association.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: storage.pv-tech.org

>” […] Part of the beauty is that this kind of storage-based ‘multi-tasking’ could be secondary to the main aims of the storage being installed, such as integrating solar.

“You don’t have to do it every day, but on an infrequent basis you can jump into the marketplace to help make money and subsidise all your projects. And, you can do big things for the grid. You will look like a power plant as far as the grid can tell. You can replace the need for a new peaking plant or something like that. [There are] a lot of great things you can do with distributed storage; the sum of [its] parts is greater than the individual pieces.”

Companies are already trialling the concept in various configurations around the world, analyst Omar Saadeh, senior grid analyst at GTM Research, told PV Tech Storage recently. Saadeh said VPPs are one way utilities could use storage to meet “a higher demand for rapidly deployable grid flexibility”.

One example Saadeh cited was a project called PowerShift Atalantic in Canada, which was “designed to manage and mitigate intermittent power from large-scale wind generation, currently totalling 822MW”.

“Through the multiple flexible curtailment service providers, aggregated loads have the ability to balance wind intermittency by responding to virtual power plant dispatch signals in near-real time, providing the equivalent of a 10-minute spinning reserve ancillary service typically executed by pollution-heavy peaker plants,” Saadeh said.

“Since March 2014, the project included 1,270 customer-connected devices with 18 MW of load flexibility, approximately 90% residential.”

Saadeh said Europe has been especially active on the concept, calling France one of the “leading supporters” of such developments.

“They’ve looked at many promising applications including partial islanding, or microgrids, DER-oriented marketplace development, and renewable balancing services.”

German utility Lichtblick, which claims to generate its power 100% from renewables, is another entity which has already got started on VPPs, which it calls a “swarm” of devices. Its battery system providers in VPP programmes include Tesla Energy and Germany’s Sonnenbatterie. Meanwhile another big Tesla partner, SolarCity, also intends to aggregate storage using the EV maker turned energy industry disruptor’s Powerwall for homes. […]”<

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California Resort Hotel First to Upgrade to Energy Storage + EV Charging

Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, California, is a luxury establishment with an energy storage system and fast DC electric vehicle (EV) charging — reportedly, the first one in the US to have this setup. It is expected that the lithium-ion energy storage system will help it reduce electricity demand charges by 50%. Over time, that savings

Source: cleantechnica.com

>” […]  So what is the connection between energy storage and EV charging? When an EV is plugged into a charger, electricity demand increases, so the hotel could be on the hook for a high rate for the electricity, depending on the time of day. Demand charges are based on the highest rate for 15 minutes in a billing cycle. So, obviously, a business would want to avoid spikes in electricity usage so it would not have to pay that rate.

That’s where the energy storage comes in. When there is a spike, electricity can be used from the energy storage system, instead of from a utility’s electricity. Avoiding demand charges in this way, as noted above, can thus help businesses save money. […]”<

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Asia-Pacific Microgrid Market on ‘threshold of exponential growth’

According to the report, the market generated revenues of US$84.2 million in 2013 and Frost & Sullivan predicts that by 2020 this will rise almost tenfold to US$814.3 million, forecasting a compound annual growth rate of 38.3%.

Source: www.pv-tech.org

>” […] This growth is expected to come from activity in establishing microgrids for rural electrification in developing countries, and from commercial microgrids in the developed ones. The report cites the examples of Australia and Japan among the developed countries.

Mining operations in remote parts of Australia are one example of reliance on microgrids, powered by on-site generation. This has come traditionally from diesel generators, which are being combined with or replaced by solar-plus-storage. According to several sources the economics for this are already compelling.

Countries with a strong recent history in rural electrification referred to by Frost & Sullivan include Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. In the example of Indonesia, the country’s utilities are aiming to bring electrification to 90% of the rural population by 2025. In total the report covered the countries of Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Australia.

However, despite this recent activity, the report highlights several barriers that are preventing the market reaching its potential. One such example is the high capital cost of installing microgrids in tandem with energy storage systems.  […]

[…] rising electricity prices in many regions would lead utility companies away from diesel and onto renewables to run their microgrids. It could also encourage “stronger governmental support through favorable regulations, funds and subsidies”, as the use of renewable energy for microgrids would require some forms of energy storage, which are still expensive to install […]

“The utilisation of renewable energy sources, either in standalone off-grid applications or in combination with local micro-grids, is therefore recognised as a potential route for rural farming communities to develop, as well as an opportunity to tackle the health issues associated with kerosene and biomass dependence. For example, the Indian Government aims to replace around 8 million existing diesel fuelled groundwater pumps, used by farmers for irrigation, with solar powered alternatives,” according to Fox. […]”<

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Microgrid Integration with Public Transportation

Superstorm Sandy crippled much of New Jersey’s critical infrastructure two years ago. Stuck without power at home, many also couldn’t get to work because the operations center for New Jersey Transit flooded, damaging backup power systems, emergency generation, and the computers that control train operations.

Source: theenergycollective.com

>” […] After a highly competitive grant process, NJ Transit last week received $1.3 billion in federal funds to improve the resilience of the state’s transportation system in the event of devastating future storms. The funds include $410 million to develop the NJ TransitGrid into a first-of-its-kind microgrid capable of keeping the power running when the electric grid goes down.

Microgrids are different from traditional electric grids in that they generate electricity on-site or nearby where it’s consumed. They can connect to the larger grid or island themselves and operate independently.

The NJ TransitGrid will not only generate power on-site but will incorporate a range of clean energy technologies such as renewable energy, energy storage, and distributed generation. This microgrid will also allow NJ Transit and Amtrak trains running on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, the country’s busiest train line, to keep operating during an outage.

Environmental Defense Fund joined state and federal stakeholders, such as New Jersey Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding and the U.S. Department of Energy, in the early stages of NJ TransitGrid planning. EDF also wrote a letter in support of New Jersey’s application for the funds from the Federal Transit Administration.

The $1.3 billion in total federal funds received by NJ Transit will go toward a range of resiliency and restoration projects across the system, including flood protection, drawbridge replacement, train storage and service restoration, and making train controls more resilient. These funds will also be used to fortify critical Amtrak substations.

Serving almost 900,000 passengers daily, NJ Transit is the third largest transit system in the country connecting travelers to the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. An independent microgrid for NJ Transit will prepare the state for future extreme weather events, which are happening more frequently due to climate change. Furthermore, the use of clean energy resources will make this microgrid a less polluting and more efficient operation for New Jersey’s day-to-day needs.”<

 

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Connecticut Storm Proofing with Micro-Grid Developments

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Press Release Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Oct. 30 that nine towns that are part of a pilot microgrid program, including Windham and Storrs, are eligible for additional funding.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>A pilot microgrid program, administered by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, was created under Public Act 12-148 to increase the safety and quality of life for Connecticut residents during electric grid outage situations.

Microgrids provide electricity to critical facilities and town centers on a 24/7, daily basis. They will also include a system of “trips” and “transfers” to isolate the microgrid and provide power within its network even when there is a large-scale outage.

The first round of the program awarded $18 million in grants to microgrid projects in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Groton, Hartford, Middletown, Storrs/Mansfield, Windham and Woodbridge as part of the Governor’s Storm Legislation.

Those projects are expected to become operational over the course of the next 18 months, with the first projects slated to come online in early 2014. […]

“Our first-in-the-nation microgrid program is an essential tool to help minimize hardships to our residents and businesses when severe storms occur. We all know that it is not a question of if, but when the next super storm will strike, and it is essential we do everything we can to be prepared,” Gov. Malloy said.

Commenting on the additional funding, DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty said, “It is essential to public safety that power be maintained to critical facilities and town centers even when the electric grid is down… Connecticut and the northeast continue to experience more severe and more frequent storms, so it is vital that the state aggressively pursues the development of microgrids statewide so that we are in a better position to provide critical services to the state’s residents and businesses.”<

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Are developing Microgrids the Answer to supply next generation Electricity Markets?

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Managing the effect of intermittent renewables on the grid is one of the critical challenges we address in making the transition to renewables. One of the primary goals of grid modernization (aka “Smart Grid”) is to adapt grid management to account for the effects of intermittency in real time.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Microgrids are one possible solution to these challenges. Microgrids, part of the Smart Grid toolbox, are autonomously managed and powered sections of the distribution grid that can be as small as a single building, or as large as a downtown area or neighborhood. Automation and digital communications are used to manage rooftop solar, small scale combined heat and power systems and storage systems, along with matching supply to demand.  Heating or cooling may also be a part of a microgrid. Microgrids can efficiently manage smaller sections of the grid, according to the local demand patterns and availability of renewable resources. They can also disconnect, or “island” from the larger grid to provide higher reliability.

Can microgrids reduce complexity and increase options for electricity market participants? What are the major barriers to microgrid implementation, and how might they be overcome? Are there other approaches, besides the microgrid, that might be employed as well?<

See on www.ourenergypolicy.org

Standard Solar to pioneer PV micro-grid system in Maryland – PV-Tech

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The number one source for in-depth and up-to-the-minute news, technical articles, blogs and reviews on the international solar PV supply chain.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>[…] Standard Solar chief executive Tony Clifford said: “Widespread implementation of grid-connected energy storage systems is key to solar PV becoming a mainstream energy supplier.

“As one of the nation’s first commercial micro-grids, this project can truly be a game changer for PV. Not only does it provide backup power to Konterra, it also supports grid integrity and allows for participation in ancillary markets for electricity.” […]

See on www.pv-tech.org