Flow Batteries: Developments in Energy Storage Systems (ESS)

The need for large scale storage solutions come to the forefront as a means to adjust supply to demand on the electrical grid.  Energy storage systems can adjust time of delivery to eliminate the need for peaker plants, allow for the addition of intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, or allow for large users to reduce facility operating costs by using a storage system to supplement energy supply reducing peak demand, most notably for summer A/C loads in buildings.


Out of engineering research laboratories in materials science and electro-chemistry  are coming new energy storage systems designed for the future to solve these issues meanwhile opening up new enterprises and industry.  The characteristics of an ideal flow battery would include:  a long service life, modularity and scalability, no standby losses, chargeability, low maintenance, and safe.  In addition a flow battery will have to be economic compared to other systems which will need to be determined using LCOE analysis.

Related Articles:

  1. https://duanetilden.com/2015/01/27/determining-the-true-cost-lcoe-of-battery-energy-storage/
  2. https://duanetilden.com/2015/01/26/what-is-levelized-cost-of-energy-or-lcoe/
  3. https://duanetilden.com/2016/01/18/energy-storage-compared-to-conventional-resources-using-lcoe-analysis/
  4. https://duanetilden.com/2015/02/17/vanadium-flow-battery-competes-with-lithium-and-lead-acid-at-grid-scale/ 





Leading Energy Storage Tech for Renewable Energy


Image Source:  U.S. Energy Information Administration (1)


“It doesn’t always rain when you need water, so we have reservoirs – but we don’t have the same system for electricity,” says Jill Cainey, director of the UK’s Electricity Storage Network.

[…] Big batteries, whose costs are plunging, are leading the way. But a host of other technologies, from existing schemes like splitting water to create hydrogen,compressing air in underground caverns, flywheels and heated gravel pits, to longer term bets like supercapacitors and superconducting magnets, are also jostling for position.

In the UK, the first plant to store electricity by squashing air into a liquid is due to open in March, while the first steps have been taken towards a virtual power station comprised of a network of home batteries.

“We think this will be a breakthrough year,” says John Prendergast at RES, a UK company that has 80MW of lithium-ion battery storage operational across the world and six times more in development, including its first UK project at a solar park near Glastonbury. “All this only works if it reduces costs for consumers and we think it does,” he says.

Energy storage is important for renewable energy not because green power is unpredictable – the sun, wind and tides are far more predictable than the surge that follows the end of a Wimbledon tennis final or the emergency shutdown of a gas-fired power plant. Storage is important because renewable energy is intermittent: strong winds in the early hours do not coincide with the peak demand of evenings. Storage allows electricity to be time-shifted to when it is needed, maximising the benefits of windfarms and solar arrays. (2)



(1) http://1.usa.gov/1UOayAh

(2) http://bit.ly/1UOaJvs

Japan Installs World’s Largest Offshore Wind Turbine at Fukushima

offshore wind turbine was anchored by the Fukushima Offshore Wind Consortium and is located approximately 12 miles off the cost of Fukushima, a region of Ja

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

>” The turbine has been built to withstand 65-foot waves.

The 344-foot 7 MW (megawatt) Offshore Hydraulic Drive Turbine features a rotor diameter of 538 feet and three giant blades, each stretching 262 feet in length. The structure is fastened to the seabed by four 20-ton anchors, and loose chains connect the turbine to the seabed, fortifying it against large waves.

One of the chief engineers of the turbine, Katsunobu Shimizu, told NBC News that “These turbines and anchors are designed to withstand 65-foot waves.” He also explained that “here we can get 32-foot-tall tsunamis. That’s why the chains are deliberately slackened.”

The consortium purposely designed the structures to be able to withstand the fierce and unforgiving weather native to Japan’s waters. In fact, this problematic weather even caused issues during the construction of the turbine. Installations had to be reportedly put on hold on four separate occasions because of typhoons.

The offshore wind turbine is one of three planed for the area.

The Fukushima Offshore Wind Consortium is led by Marubeni Corporation and also involves nine other firms, such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which was the company that supplied the turbine. The $401 million project is funded by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, and was created for the purpose of developing and testing the wind technology for additional commercialization, and to bring new industry to the Fukushima region of Japan that was devastated by the earthquake in 2011.

The 7 MW offshore wind turbine is one of three turbines planned for the facility. When the final turbine is installed later this year, the three turbines are expected to generate a combined total of 14 MW. […]”<

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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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DOE Energy Review Report Recommends Grid Modernization and Transmission System Upgrades

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently released its first installment of its Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) – a comprehensive report examining how the United States can modernize energy infrastructure to promote economic competitiveness, energy security, and environmental responsibility. This installment…

Source: switchboard.nrdc.org

>” […]  Electric grid reform is timely due to a confluence of factors. First, our grid infrastructure is old and in dire need of upgrade. We could just patch up the existing system by replacing old poles and wires with new ones and call it a day. But given evolving customer preferences for more control over energy usage and newly available efficiency-enabling technologies, doing that would be like replacing an old rotary phone with a newer one instead of upgrading to a smart phone. Grid reform should also consider the changing environment, as grid reliability is increasingly threatened by severe weather. The continuing shift in the energy generation mix to include the benefits of more roof-top solar and remote wind generation will also require changes to our transmission grid.

QER electric grid modernization findings and recommendations

Here are some QER highlights relevant to FERC and what it can do to support a clean electricity grid. (Our Sustainable FERC Project coalition submitted comments to DOE on some of these items before the QER was finalized.)

The necessary transmission build-out for a low-carbon future is likely consistent with historic investment 

To access wind and solar renewable resources far from populated cities, we need long-distance transmission infrastructure. But how much is enough? The QER studied a variety of clean energy future cases, including scenarios with high penetrations of wind and solar power, a cap on climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions to achieve a 40 percent reduction in 2030, and increased natural gas prices. The scenarios produced a range of new transmission requirements, all consistent with our historic investment in transmission infrastructure. In other words, the needed transmission infrastructure build-out to get to a low-carbon future is reasonable. So it boils down to this: the nation will continue to invest billions of dollars in grid infrastructure updates whether we build for a clean energy future or ignore the potential for it – which will it be? We’d argue for the clean pathway to clean our air and stave off the worst effects of climate change

We can more efficiently use existing infrastructure to avoid unnecessary and costly transmission construction 

Just as the highways clog at rush hour, the electric grid gets congested when customer power demand is at its peak. The QER emphasizes that there are a number of ways to alleviate congestion on transmission wires without building costly new infrastructure. These include managing energy use through energy efficiency (smarter use of energy) and demand response (customer reduction in electricity use during high congestion times in exchange for compensation), locally supplying energy through distributed generation (such as rooftop solar), or using stored energy when the transmission lines are constrained. These alternatives not only reduce new transmission construction requirements, but come with the added bonus of improving electric service reliability and reducing pollution from electricity generation. Indeed, three important DOE-funded planning studies show that scenarios combining high levels of these resources can reduce the expected costs of new transmission investment (see a description of the Eastern Interconnection study here).

We can also avoid costly transmission construction by using existing transmission more efficiently through improved operations. Without getting into the wonky details, this means grid operators can adopt smart network technologies and better network management practices to minimize electricity transmission bottlenecks.

We need to appropriately value and compensate energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, and other resources providing cleaner, cheaper grid services 

Unlike traditional power plants, energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage and other resources can nimbly respond to unanticipated grid events or meet energy demand without requiring extra transmission capacity at peak times. But these resources often offer more to the grid than they receive in compensation. Accurately valuing the services these resources provide would allow regulators and utilities to incent their participation in grid markets. The QER therefore recommends that DOE help develop frameworks to value and compensate grid services that promote a reliable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable grid. […]”<

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Wind Turbines

Rotronic UK - BLOG

Its been pretty windy recently, So wind farms are probably doing quite well at the moment. The biggest wind farm in the world, at the moment, is the London array, which can produce 630MW of power.

Wind Energy in General

The future is very encouraging for wind power. The technology is growing exponentially due to the current power crisis and the ongoing discussions about nuclear power plants. Wind turbines are becoming more efficient and are able to produce increased electricity capacity given the same factors.

Facts & figures:

There is over 200 GW (Giga Watts) of installed wind energy capacity in the world.

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has forecasted a global capacity of 2,300 GW by 2030. This will cover up to 22% of the global power consumption.

Converting wind power into electrical power:

A wind turbine converts the kinetic energy of wind into rotational mechanical energy. This energy is directly converted, by a generator, into electrical energy. Large wind turbines typically have a generator installed on top of the tower. Commonly, there…

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UK Green Investment Bank Raises £463m on its planned £1bn Offshore Wind Farm Fund

The UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) has announced that its FCA regulated subsidiary, UK Green Investment Bank Financial Services Limited (GIBFS), has reached first close on commitments of £463m on its planned £1bn fund to invest in operating offshore wind farms in the UK.

Source: www.greeninvestmentbank.com

>” […] £463m of capital raised at first close, to be invested in UK offshore wind projects.Investors include UK pension funds and a sovereign wealth fund.Innovative transaction creating the world’s first dedicated offshore wind fund.This is the first fund raised by the GIB group, a first move into asset management and the first time it has managed private capital since its formation.This announcement marks the end of GIB’s financial year. It committed £723m to 22 green energy projects across the UK in 2014/15. GIB has now backed 46 UK projects with a total value of almost £7bn.

The UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) has announced that its FCA regulated subsidiary, UK Green Investment Bank Financial Services Limited (GIBFS), has reached first close on commitments of £463m on its planned £1bn fund to invest in operating offshore wind farms in the UK.

First close marks the completion of the first stage of fundraising and is triggered by the commitment of an initial group of investors.

The initial investors comprise UK-based pension funds and a major sovereign wealth fund. GIB is also investing £200m in the fund. Fundraising continues and GIBFS expects to raise additional funds from other investors to reach the £1bn target.

In addition to the £463m of fund commitments raised, an additional significant amount of investor capital is available to co-invest into projects alongside the fund.

The fund is an innovative, first-of-a-kind transaction. It is the world’s first fund dedicated to investments in offshore wind power generation and, once fully subscribed, will be the largest renewables fund in the UK. The fund has an expected life of 25 years, allowing a new class of long-term investor to enter the sector.

This is the first fund raised by the GIB group and its first step into asset management. It is also the first private capital to be managed by the GIB group. It will be managed by a new FCA-regulated and authorised subsidiary called UK Green Investment Bank Financial Services Limited which is staffed by a dedicated team.

GIB has now transferred its investments in two operating assets into the fund, which will produce immediate cash yield for investors. They include:

Rhyl Flats. A 90 MW, 25 turbine wind farm operated by RWE Innogy UK off the coast of North Wales. It has been operational since December 2009. GIB has sold its full 24.95% equity stake in the project to the Fund.Sheringham Shoal. A 317 MW, 88 turbine wind farm operated by Statkraft and located in the Greater Wash area off the coast of Norfolk. It has been operational since October 2012. GIB has sold its full 20% equity stake in the project to the fund.

These two offshore wind farms are able to produce 1,290 GWh of renewable energy annually, enough to power 305,000 UK homes. The fund also has a strong pipeline of future investment opportunities.

Evercore Private Funds Group is acting as advisor and exclusive global placement agent for the fundraise and King & Wood Mallesons is acting as legal counsel to the fund. […]”<

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Renewable Energy Provides Half of New US Generating Capacity in 2014

According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind) provided nearly half (49.81 percent – 7,663 MW) of new electrical generation brought into service during 2014 while natural gas accounted for 48.65 percent (7,485 MW).


Image source:  http://usncre.org/

Source: www.renewableenergyworld.com

>” […] By comparison, in 2013, natural gas accounted for 46.44 percent (7,378 MW) of new electrical generating capacity while renewables accounted for 43.03 percent (6,837 MW). New renewable energy capacity in 2014 is 12.08 percent more than that added in 2013.

New wind energy facilities accounted for over a quarter (26.52 percent) of added capacity (4,080 MW) in 2014 while solar power provided 20.40% (3,139 MW). Other renewables — biomass (254 MW), hydropower (158 MW), and geothermal (32 MW) — accounted for an additional 2.89 percent.

For the year, just a single coal facility (106 MW) came on-line; nuclear power expanded by a mere 71MW due to a plant upgrade; and only 15 small “units” of oil, totaling 47 MW, were added.

Thus, new capacity from renewable energy sources in 2014 is 34 times that from coal, nuclear and oil combined — or 72 times that from coal, 108 times that from nuclear, and 163 times that from oil.

Renewable energy sources now account for 16.63 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: water – 8.42 percent, wind – 5.54 percent, biomass – 1.38 percent, solar – 0.96 percent, and geothermal steam – 0.33 percent.  Renewable energy capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.14 percent) and oil (3.94 percent) combined.

Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Generation per MW of capacity (i.e., capacity factor) for renewables is often lower than that for fossil fuels and nuclear power. According to the most recent data (i.e., as of November 2014) provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, actual net electrical generation from renewable energy sources now totals a bit more than 13.1 percent of total U.S. electrical production; however, this figure almost certainly understates renewables’ actual contribution significantly because EIA does not fully account for all electricity generated by distributed renewable energy sources (e.g., rooftop solar).

Can there any longer be doubt about the emerging trends in new U.S. electrical capacity? Coal, oil, and nuclear have become historical relics and it is now a race between renewable sources and natural gas with renewables taking the lead.”<

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Chile’s Mines Run on Renewables

Chilean mines are more and more run on renewable energy, which will soon be bigger than conventional energy in Chile. Thanks to China, writes John Mathews.

Source: www.energypost.eu

>” […] Miners in Chile are building independent solar, solar thermal, wind and geothermal power plants that produce power at costs competitive with or lower than conventional fuel supplies or grid-connected electric power.

Consider these facts.

The Cerro Dominador concentrated solar power (CSP) plant (see here for an explanation of the different solar technologies), rated at 110 megawatts, will supply regular uninterrupted power to the Antofagasta Minerals complex in the dry north of Chile, in the Atacama desert. Construction began in 2014. This is one of the largest CSP plants in the world, utilising an array of mirrors and lenses to concentrate the sun’s rays onto a power tower, and utilising thermal storage in the form of molten salts, perfected by Spanish company Abengoa. It will supply steady, dispatchable power, day and night.

The El Arrayán wind power project, rated at 115 megawatts, now supplies power to the Los Pelambres mine of Antofagasta Minerals, using Pattern Energy (US) as technology partner. Antofagasta Minerals has also contracted with US solar company SunEdison to build solar panel arrays at the Los Pelambres mine, with a power plant rated at 70 megawatts; while the related plant operated by Amenecer Solar CAP is rated at 100 megawatts, the largest such array in Latin America when it came online in 2014.

There are many more such projects under review or in the pipeline. The Chilean Renewable Energy Center reported in 2014 that the pipeline of renewable power projects in Chile added up to 18,000 megawatts (or 18 gigawatts), which is more than the country’s entire current electric power grid. […]”<


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Electricity storage becomes priority as solar and wind energy cost keeps dropping

“And the cost of solar power is declining amazingly. Austin Energy signed a deal recently that a solar farm is selling at 5 cents a kilowatt-hour. A recent study by Lazard gave a cost of 5.6 cents for solar and 1.4 cents for wind power (with current subsidies) or 7.2 cents for solar and 3.7 cents for wind without subsidies. Natural gas came in at 6.1 cents and coal at 6.6 cents. The Solar Energy Industries Association claims that in the Southwest electricity contracts for solar energy have dropped 70 percent since 2008.”


imgres The rapid advances in the use of solar and wind energy – more in Europe, but now also gaining momentum in the U.S.- has put electricity “storage” front and center. That is because there is no solar production at night and little on cloudy days, while strong winds are unpredictable in most locations. So, the best “model” for these renewable energy sources is to generate as much as possible at favorable times and to “store” excess production for periods when solar and wind energy supply are low.

And the cost of solar power is declining amazingly. Austin Energy signed a deal recently that a solar farm is selling at 5 cents a kilowatt-hour. A recent study by Lazard gave a cost of 5.6 cents for solar and 1.4 cents for wind power (with current subsidies) or 7.2 cents for solar and 3.7 cents for wind without subsidies. Natural gas came in at…

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