12th November 2016
Solar panels surpass coal-fired electricity in previously ‘unthinkable’ feat
For six months until September, more electricity came from sunlight than coal-fired power stations.
Solar panels generated more electricity than coal in the past six months in a historic year for getting energy from the sun in the UK, according to a new analysis.
Research by the Carbon Brief website found that solar generated nearly 7,000 gigawatt hours of electricity between April and September, about 10 per cent more than the 6,300GwH produced by coal during the same period.
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12th October 2016
Lithium Ion Safety concerns
It’s all blowing up again. The worry over lithium-ion battery safety, that is. And in a pretty literal way, with Samsung, in its phone-making rather than battery-manufacturing incarnation, taking flak over exploding mobiles.
Is this a big deal? It depends on how you look at it. While even the smallest suggestion of hazard is naturally a cause for concern, it’s nevertheless true that burning lithiums remain a thankfully rare occurrence.
Compared to other energy technologies, batteries remain relatively benign. It is hard to see how lithium-ion battery banks could ever cause a disaster on the scale of Fukushima, for instance.
And when it comes to electric vehicles, another area where lithium-ion safety is a worry, a Greentech Media commentator last week shot back that “a gasoline car becomes an incendiary device with just a single spark.”
Even if you consider the nasty business of resource extraction, while the battery industry no doubt has a few dirty secrets it is unlikely that obtaining the materials for lithium-ion cells could be as perilous as coal mining or oil drilling.
The reality is that the greatest risk you are ever likely to face from a lithium-ion battery is if you accidentally swallow a small one or drop a large one on your foot.
21st July 2016
British energy storage could help deliver GBP£2.4bn of consumer savings if current market arrangements are tweaked, according to a report commissioned by Scottish Renewables.
20th July 2016
Samsung On Verge Of $450 Million Investment Into BYD, Electric Cars, Batteries
Samsung SDI is the producer of BMW’s battery cells (a topic for a coming article). It’s also the brand of the Renault Fluence ZE in Korea. For years, there have been rumors and speculation about Samsung jumping into the electric car game in a serious way.
$450 million may not be on the same level as the billions of dollars Panasonic is putting into its partnership with Tesla, but it’s a sizable step forward. And it’s being made in an interesting way.
BYD is the largest electric car manufacturer in the world. It dominates the Chinese market (our newest Chinese electric car sales report is coming today or tomorrow). Korea Economic Daily reports that Samsung is on the verge of investing 3 billion yuan ($450 million) into BYD, for a 4% share of the company
BYD hasn’t mentioned the dollar (or yuan) amount, but stated in an SEC filing: “Going forward, the parties will jointly seize opportunities in the rapid development of the global electric vehicles industry and promote sustainable development of the parties’ electric vehicles related businesses.”
It seems like a powerful partnership that is likely to lead to faster growth of the electric car, electric bus, and EV battery market. I do wonder, though, exactly how they intend to partner (aside from money). Samsung SDI’s batteries are top-notch stationary storage and EV batteries (I have another story coming soon — maybe today or tomorrow — on this). Though, Samsung stated that it is not interested in being a member of the management process. On the product side, the companies have indicated an intention to work together more on EV components.
Samsung SDI LHP BMW batteries
Samsung SDI batteries and a pretty lady, natch.
“Samsung is pursuing the investment after its affiliate was among foreign battery makers left off a list of suppliers approved by China, where sales of electric vehicles are surging and the government has sped up construction of charging points,” Bloomberg writes. “The talks with BYD also add to the global trend of technology companies and automakers collaborating as car buyers increasingly demand more advanced powertrains and features that improve connectivity and safety.” Korean battery producer LG Chem and GM are, of course, one of the biggest and most notable such partnerships.
The $450 million investment is reportedly part of a broader $2.3 billion share sale BYD is in the midst of. Jose Pontes, cofounder of EV-Volumes and founder of EV-Sales, the writer and analyst who creates our Chinese EV sales reports, has indicated during Cleantech Revolution Tour conferences that he thinks BYD doesn’t yet sell EVs to consumers in Europe and the United States because of limited battery supply and strong demand in China. The $2.3 billion raise is reportedly to more quickly scale up battery production capacity and its electric vehicle production rate.
China Electric Car Sales May 2016China Electric Car Sales May 2016 YTD
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is the most notable investor backing BYD. It has had a large stake in the company for several years.
“Shares of Samsung SDI rose as much as 8.3% to a six-week high in Seoul Friday on expectations that the company might be in line to supply its batteries to BYD,” NASDAQ reports.
1st June 2016
The US Deployed 18.3MW of Energy Storage in Q1 2016, Growing 127% Year-Over-Year
According to GTM Research and ESA’s latest U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, the U.S. deployed 18.3 megawatts (21.2 megawatt-hours) of energy storage in the first quarter of 2016. Deployments were up 127 percent year-over-year, but down 84 percent from the historic fourth quarter of 2015.
The first quarter continued the trend of relatively slow starts seen over the last few years. However, residential energy storage was a standout segment both quarterly and annually. More than 8.9 megawatts were deployed in behind-the-meter applications.
FIGURE: U.S. Energy Storage Deployments, Q1 2013-Q1 2016
Source: GTM Research / ESA U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, Q2 2016
Despite being the smallest market, the residential segment is the most geographically diverse. In the first quarter of the year, the report’s “other markets” segment dominated, with storage deployments being tracked in Kentucky, Nevada, Utah, Vermont and 19 additional states. PJM (excluding New Jersey) continues to lead in terms of utility-scale deployments, and California maintains its top spot in the non-residential segment.
“The slow start to 2016 is not unusual, but also points to the shifting nature of U.S. energy storage market,” said Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage and lead author of the report. “After the rush to build and commission systems in PJM to meet the interim cap in the second half of 2015, this year is likely to see a move toward California as the leading market even for the utility-scale segment. This transition will undoubtedly be hastened by gas shortages in Southern California caused by the Aliso Canyon gas leakage and resulting energy storage procurement.”
In addition to deployment and pricing trends, the report covers developments in the vendor ecosystem. In early May, oil and gas company Total announced that it would acquire battery vendor Saft for $1.1 billion, the first billion-dollar-plus deal in the storage space. With its previous acquisition of a controlling stake in SunPower, Total has positioned itself for a leadership role in the renewables-plus-storage domain.
GTM Research extended its forecast out to 2021, a year in which the market intelligence firm expects that U.S. energy storage deployments will exceed the 2-gigawatt mark.
FIGURE: U.S. Energy Storage Deployments, 2012-2021E
Source: GTM Research / ESA U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, Q2 2016
“After record-breaking growth in deployments at the end of last year, 2016 first-quarter leading indicators and mounting opportunities are signaling another positive year of storage industry growth,” said Matt Roberts, executive director of the Energy Storage Association. “As we look to the future of storage markets in the U.S., expanded projections of over 2 gigawatts a year by 2021 reflect both the growing value of storage systems on the grid and the immense opportunity ahead.”
Energy Storage News Roundup
Nissan believes that the electric car will be the ‘fuel station of the future’ by combining electric powertrains with autonomous driving and vehicle-to-grid technologies.
According to GTM Research’s ‘US Energy Storage Monitor 2015 Year in Review’ report, the US deployed 112MW of storage capacity in the fourth quarter of 2015 and the market will hit 1.7GW by 2020.
The UK Carbon Trust has published a report, funded by three utilities, which says that storage could save Britain £2.4bn a year by 2030.
A study from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests the country could convert its economy to renewable energy without any breakthrough in battery technology.
Germany’s second-largest energy company, E.ON, is planning to launch a residential solar-plus-storage offering for the German market in April. The maker of the lithium-ion batteries is thought to be Samsung SDI.
Scientists at McMaster University, California, are researching the use of cellulose to build more efficient and longer-lasting energy storage devices or supercapacitors.
A hydro power plant in Germany has installed a 3MW lithium-ion battery made by Ads-tec to perform frequency regulation.
The Australian Clean Energy Council has released a report, entitled ‘Accelerating the Uptake of Battery Storage’, which calls on governments and industry to work together via a number of initiatives to accelerate the uptake of battery storage.
JuiceBox Energy and Bombard Renewable Energy are partnering to bring residential solar-plus-storage to Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.
Green Charge Networks has announced California’s largest school energy storage project in San Diego. The 7.4MWh deployment will be installed over 14 sites at no cost to the district through Green Charge’s shared savings model.
GreentechMedia looks at Alevo, the battery company with mysterious sources of funding and as-yet-unmet ambitious promises concerning production and employment in North Carolina.
Daimler is investing €500m in a new battery factory in Germany. The plant will produce lithium-ion battery packs for hybrid and electric vehicles for Mercedes-Benz and smart brands.
Volvo will supply the city of Namur in Belgium with 11 hybrid electric buses, the company’s largest electric bus order to date. Two automated electric bus chargers will be provided by ABB.
New York’s ConEdison is seeking demonstration projects to test if utilities can derive significant earnings from integrating energy storage onto the grid. New York State Electric & Gas has issued a request for proposals to cut peak loading.
For the second year in a row, US utility executives ranked energy storage first among technologies for future investment, according to the ‘2016 State of the Electric Utility Survey’ from Utility Dive.
The Tesla Gigafactory has suffered staff walkouts due to concerns that more than the agreed percentage of non-Nevada residents is being employed.
Energizer has introduced the world’s first rechargeable AA and AAA batteries made with recycled batteries.
The German government is considering implementing a €5,000 electric car subsidy, with automakers contributing 40%.
Improved energy storage could help save Britain £8bn a year, says report
The National Infrastructure Commission said a “smart power revolution” which improves the storage of power could transform the energy landscape. Its report, Smart Power, looks into ways the UK can better balance supply and demand in the energy market.
It said Britain should connect more of its network to mainland Europe and store energy better.
This would save consumers up to £8bn a year by 2030, help meet the UK’s 2050 carbon targets, and secure Britain’s energy supply for generations, the report finds.
It says Britain should become a world leader in storing electricity, and make full use of demand flexibility by improving regulation, and informing the public of its benefits, the report adds.
From liquid air to supercapacitors, energy storage is finally poised for a breakthrough
Lord Adonis, chairman of the commission, said: “Our existing power stations are closing down and their replacements will be radically different as we decarbonise supply to reduce emissions.
“This represents an enormous challenge, but it also leaves the UK uniquely placed to benefit from three exciting innovations set to transform the global electricity market – interconnection, storage and demand flexibility. The UK can lead the world in harnessing these innovations, bringing jobs and investment into the country and cutting bills for consumers.”
He added: “If we get this right, a smart power revolution could save consumers £8bn a year.”
National Infrastructure Commission report | Smart Power