The RMIPPPP – a key landmark for renewables and storage hybrid projects in sub-Saharan Africa?
In this edition of the energy storage updater we consider whether solution-driven tenders can aid the advancement of energy storage projects in sub-Saharan Africa. The 2,000 MW Risk Mitigation IPP procurement program (RMIPPPP) launched in South Africa is technology agnostic, and output or performance-based, a first for the region. Will this complex yet highly valuable procurement process become a template for electricity storage tenders across sub-Saharan Africa? Read our full article.
Technology and corporate news
Predicting the energy storage tech of the future
A panel of battery storage industry experts considered the future of energy storage technology. Unsurprisingly to the panelists, a poll of the event viewers indicated that a majority believed lithium-ion battery technology will continue to dominate the industry in the short-term. The panel discussed why there is still ample time for alternative technologies to break into the market, as well as the need for new technologies to complement lithium-ion.
Battery storage at the grid edge
Battery storage installed on the distribution grid is poised to play a critical role in meeting local resiliency needs. Distribution grid infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the pace of electrification in many parts of the world as a result of increasing amounts of decentralized power generation, the rise of electric vehicles and electrified heating. Distribution-level battery storage offers an ideal solution in many cases. When installed in transmission-congested areas, it is reported to improve grid reliability and prove more affordable than traditional grid upgrades.
Africa and the Middle East
Eos to take aqueous zinc battery into African mini-grid market, beginning with Nigeria
Eos Energy Storage and Nayo Tropical Technology will deploy aqueous zinc battery storage systems at rural microgrids in Nigeria. The Eos aqueous zinc battery is reported to work by plating and replacing zinc as it charges and discharges. The zinc batteries are said to have long life and durability properties similar to redox flow batteries, with a 20-year expected lifetime even at 100 percent depth-of-discharge daily. Eos calls the technology a “perfect fit for harsh environments and rural deployments like the Nigerian microgrids.”
Qatar installs its first grid-scale battery pilot
Qatar’s first-ever megawatt-scale battery storage system has been deployed by Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa). The 1 MW / 4 MWh Tesla Powerpack battery energy storage system cost a total of approximately US$2.75m and was designed, planned and installed by Kahramaa in partnership with local infrastructure project company Al Attiyah Group.
Australia fast tracks A$22bn solar, storage and transmission project
A renewable energy project that could provide up to 20 percent of Singapore’s electricity needs has been fast tracked by the Australian government. The A$22bn (US$15.79bn) project features a transmission system connecting a 10 GW solar and 30 GWh energy storage facility near Darwin with Singapore and eventually Indonesia. “Major Project Status” has been granted to the project, which is the Australian government’s recognition of the strategic significance of a project to the country.
Solar farm fitted with batteries goes online in Japan
One of the first large-scale solar farms in Japan so far to be equipped with battery storage in order to meet the requirements of a local grid operator and utility, has been completed on the island of Hokkaido. Telecoms and tech company Softbank’s clean energy subsidiary SB Energy and financing entity Mitsubishi UFJ announced on July 1, 2020 the commissioning of ‘Tomatoh Abira Solar Park 2’, a 64.6 MW solar farm which is combined with 19 MWh of onsite battery energy storage.
GE co-develops pumped hydro storage to underpin 4 GW wind and solar complex in Australia
GE Renewable Energy has signed an agreement to jointly develop the 500 MW Dungowan pumped hydro storage project with Australia’s Walcha Energy, which it says will enable the construction of a giant 4 GW wind and solar complex in New South Wales. The renewable energy complex, called New England Renewable Energy Zone, is reported to combine 3.4 GW of wind power and 700 MW in solar power with a 100 MW battery storage system, as well as the Dungowan pumped hydro storage plant.
BYD electric buses used in ‘world’s largest vehicle-to-grid’ project in London
The world’s largest vehicle-to-grid (V2G) project has been launched at a north London bus garage. The initiative involves 100 new zero-emission buses and 28 double decker buses each fitted with a 382 kWh BYD lithium iron phosphate battery. The vehicles together are able to return 1.1 MW of energy to the grid for balancing services. SSE Enterprise is leading the project, which will advance the decarburization of the transport system, as well as improve air quality in the city center.
Green hydrogen, solar and storage: Iberdrola plans ‘Europe’s largest’ industrial facility
Central Spain will be the site of a landmark solar-storage-hydrogen facility being developed by Iberdrola in partnership with Spanish fertilizer producer Fertiberia. The companies will develop 100 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV), a 20 MWh lithium-ion battery system and a 20 MW electrolyzer. Hydrogen produced at the facility will be used at Fertiberia’s ammonia plant, reducing its natural gas demand by 10 percent. The project will provide ‘green’ hydrogen on an industrial scale, produced with renewable energy, which is a departure from ‘blue’ or ‘grey’ hydrogen currently on the market.
Gigafactory start-up Northvolt raises US$1.6bn in debt financing for ‘greenest batteries’
Northvolt has raised US$1.6bn in debt financing to support its plans to become a major player in European battery manufacturing. An initial 60 GWh of annual output is planned across two lithium-ion battery cell factories in Sweden and Germany. The factories will be powered with renewable energy and half of the raw materials will be taken from recycled batteries. The majority of the output is destined for the automotive industry, although a proportion will be targeted at the stationary energy storage sector.
Financing secured to ‘enable rapid development’ of Norway’s first lithium battery cell gigafactory
Start-up FREYR has secured financing of US$13.85m to construct what would be Norway’s first gigawatt-scale manufacturing facility for lithium-ion battery cells. The company’s mission is for Norway to be a global leader in ‘this exponentially growing, energy-intensive industry’, according to its CEO Tom Einar Jensen. The factory will serve the stationary energy storage sector, as well as the electric vehicle and marine application markets.
DOE releases draft energy storage grand challenge roadmap
The US Department of Energy (DOE) released a draft Roadmap for its Energy Storage Grand Challenge – a program to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage technologies. The draft Roadmap outlines the DOE’s strategy to accelerate innovation across a range of storage technologies and identifies six use cases to drive high-level energy and infrastructure goals. The draft Roadmap will be updated based on feedback from stakeholders as well as other ongoing DOE efforts, such as workshops and webinars.
World's largest battery storage complex brought on line in California as blackouts loom
The Gateway Energy Storage project in San Diego County, which is reported to be the world’s largest battery project at 250 MW / 250 MWh, has started commercial operations. The project, operated by LS Power and using LG Chem lithium-ion technology, beats the previous record held by the 150 MW / 193 MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia, which uses Tesla batteries. LS Power plans to increase the facility's energy capacity to 750 MWh next summer and 1 GWh at a later date.
Largest standalone battery project in the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) begins construction
Able Grid Energy Solutions, MAP Energy, Astral Electricity and Mortenson have begun construction on Chisholm Grid, a 100 MW battery energy storage project in Texas, US. It is expected to be the largest standalone battery energy storage facility in ERCOT when it begins operations in 2021. Able Grid will manage the construction and provide operational asset management services through a joint venture with Map Energy. Astral Electricity will own the plant and Mortenson will perform battery installation and the balance of plant works for the project.
Key Capture Energy putting 200 MW of LFP batteries online in Texas, US
Key Capture Energy announced plans to build three large-scale energy storage systems in ERCOT with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and Powin Energy as its technology partners. The portfolio includes a 100 MW system and two 50 MW systems, each using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. Powin Energy will provide and service the fully-integrated battery and battery management systems and Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction partner, in addition to servicing the DC equipment, power conversion systems and high-voltage substations.
First grid-scale battery storage project in Alberta, Canada, comes online
TransAlta Corporation’s WindCharger, a 10 MW / 20 MWh lithium-ion battery storage project, is on track to be the first grid-scale battery energy storage project in Alberta, Canada, when it comes on line this quarter. The storage system will be charged with electricity from a nearby wind farm also operated by TransAlta and uses Tesla Megapack technology, which is Tesla’s latest energy storage product after the Powerpack and the Powerwall.
Policy and regulatory news
Global energy storage market to defy COVID-19 and top 15 GW in 2025: IHS Markit
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, energy storage analysts at IHS Markit (IHS) are predicting record growth for the global energy storage sector, including a global leap in grid-connected storage capacity to 15.1 GW with an output of 47.8 GW hours by 2025, and global revenues in energy storage to grow from US$4.2bn in 2020 to US$9.5bn in 2025. IHS attributes the forecasted growth to the need for storage solutions to provide critical, reliable, and continuous capacity and power supply in major, fast-growing solar and wind power markets, particularly in the USA and China. IHS also notes that state-level policy initiatives will play a major role in growing the storage sector alongside renewable power sector expansion generally, citing as examples the USA’s Investment Tax Credit as a factor helping drive the development of many domestic solar-plus-storage projects, and the indication from Chinese provincial governments that they will look to secure more storage solutions to pair with an increasingly high penetration of renewables assets on their respective grids.
Africa and the Middle East
South Africa’s Eskom opens tender for 80 MW / 320 MWh battery storage
Eskom, the state-owned electricity utility of South Africa, launched the procurement for rights to design, engineer, supply, construct, test and commission a battery energy storage system of minimum size capacity 80 MW / 320 MWh in Western Cape. The tender looks to help meet the 1,400 MWh energy storage target set out by the utility in a 2018 long-term resource plan to integrate renewable energy into the grid. Eskom is reported to have received financing from the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the New Development Bank.
NSW to build 170 MW mega battery
The state of New South Wales (NSW) has announced the construction of four large battery projects across regional NSW. The projects are part of the state’s “Emerging Energy Program” aimed at modernizing the state’s power grid by shifting to renewable sources of power supplemented by battery storage. The new developments include the construction of two large conventional batteries, a fast-start gas/battery hybrid, and a ‘virtual power plant’ consisting of multiple, smaller batteries. Together, the projects are expected to provide a total 170 MW of capacity for NSW. Further information is available here.
Energy trading with batteries ‘will be scalable business in Japan’ once rules change in coming years
Changes to laws in Japan would result in peer-to-peer energy trading becoming a ‘scalable business’ according to Sharing Energy, a provider of renewable energy equipment. Currently, laws permit only energy retailers to sell energy – the sale of energy back to the grid by prosumers is prohibited. Sharing Energy is currently participating in a peer-to-peer energy trading proof of concept trial, which the company hopes will help change the current law. Japan’s ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is reported to be considering removing the prohibition. The change is expected in two to three years after the Ministry has reviewed demonstrations and pilot program data, and satisfied of the viability of the change.
Western Australia unveils solar and storage investment
The state of Western Australia is seeking to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19 with a new renewable energy program as part of an A$5.5bn recovery scheme. A total of 50 new stand-alone green power systems, supplemented by nine battery energy storage systems, will be built as part of a stimulus package totaling A$66.3m. The package also contains plans to fit out social housing, schools, and public transport stations with solar panels and batteries. Western Australia hopes not only to create jobs, but also to improve its energy footprint.
Australia’s shortened electricity market settlement period to open up opportunities for batteries
Spot prices in Australia’s National Electricity Market are to have their settlement windows widened from five minutes to 30 minutes from October 21, 2020. The change means the physical dispatch period will align with the currently existing 30-minute market settlement window. The change is expected to increase participation of battery storage energy vendors in Australia’s energy market. The change comes as Australia shifts increasingly towards renewables and as coal plants are retired. Advocates of the change cite multiple benefits: increased investment in flexible technologies such as battery storage, increased competition, and consequently a cleaner, and cheaper energy market for Australia.
British battery storage sector takes a 'big step' as ministers remove size limit barriers
Planning regulations which had the effect of limiting the size of battery storage projects in Britain were removed in July. New regulations introduced will reduce barriers to storage projects above 50 MW in England and 350 MW in Wales. Storage projects currently provide 1 GW of storage in the UK, with another 4 GW planned, and many more projects in development. The move has been welcomed as key to investment in the battery sector, encouraging jobs, building flexibility into the grid, and reducing emissions. There has been more focus on the flexibility offered by battery storage, especially in light of the COVID-19 lockdown, which saw energy demand fall 20 percent. In this regard, the Energy Network Association is seeking views on proposals for defining and developing transparency and standardized approaches across Distribution Network Operators and the Electricity System Operator in their procurement of flexibility services, as well as initiating network to design changes to facilitate and encourage new markets and platforms for flexibility such as peer-to-peer trading (further details here).
European Parliament votes overwhelmingly to adopt energy storage strategy in clean energy plans
The European Union (EU) Parliament has signaled that storage technologies will be key to its plans for a ‘clean economy’. The non-binding adoption of a new energy storage strategy in July aims to exert political pressure on the European Commission, paving the way for new legislation to be proposed. At the heart of the strategy are technologies such as batteries, green hydrogen, and thermal storage. Recommendations in the strategy propose removal of some existing financial disincentives for storage energy providers within the EU. It is hoped the strategy will increase the use of renewables within the EU and contribute to its decarburization.
Spain’s 2.5 GW storage target a positive step but ‘challenging to get there’
Spain’s target of 2.5 GW of energy storage (excluding pumped hydro) by 2030 is seen as ambitious, particularly given existing regulations. Spain is expected to overhaul its energy storage regulations to enable accelerated growth in this area to meet the target. A public consultation has been launched earlier this year with respondents suggesting a subsidy or market is required to be established in order to meet the target.
Portugal’s ‘record-low bid’ solar auction will result in at least 100 MWh of energy storage
Spanish company Enerland submitted the lowest bid of €11.14/MWh (US$13.12), which came in below the industry record held by Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi in April this year. The auction was the first in Portugal to invite bids with a storage component – two-thirds of the batches were awarded to solar-plus-storage projects. Successful companies are awarded a contact with the Portuguese national grid operator for 15 years and perpetual access to the grid. The highly competitive process was reportedly driven by a scarcity of grid access in Portugal. The auction is considered to open the way towards grid-scale energy storage in Portugal.
California regulators approve 1,106 MW of battery storage projects to fight blackouts
In order to address a resource adequacy deficit, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously signed off on Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and Southern California Edison Co. entering into contracts for five and seven battery energy storage projects, respectively, together amounting to 1,106 MW. The deadline for both sets of projects to attain commercial operation is August 1, 2021.
Landmark federal energy storage order upheld
After navigating a number of obstacles, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 841, a landmark order passed by FERC in 2018, has been upheld in court in the US. The order is aimed at removing barriers to the participation of energy storage resources in wholesale markets run by the independent system operators and regional transmission operators.
ESA outlines a vision for 100 GW of energy storage in the US by 2030
The US Energy Storage Association (ESA) has released a white paper outlining its vision for the deployment of 100 GW of new storage facilities across the US by 2030. Entitled “100x30: Enabling the Clean Power Transformation”, the report outlines a combination of strengthened policy support, such as an investment tax credit for stand-alone storage, as well as the continuation of emerging policies that remove barriers to market participation.
Battery Tech Expo UK 2020, online – October 8, 2020. Link here.
AIChE 2nd Battery and Energy Storage Conference, online – October 21-23, 2020. Link here.
Solar & Storage Finance USA – virtual summit – November 17-19, 2020. Link here.
13th Energy Storage World Forum, online – November 25-27, 2020. Link here.
Energy Storage Hybrid Summit – format TBC – February 23-24, 2021. Link here.
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