Author: PV-Tech

UK solar and storage revenue model ‘stacking up’

The economics of solar-and-storage in the UK are being proven, according to Anesco, the developer of one such project.

Speaking at the Energy Storage Summit in London, Steve Shine, Anesco’s chairman, explained that while the company had not proven the case for subsidy-free solar, the business model for its hybrid Clay Hill project was panning out.

“Solar by itself does not pay,” he said stressing that Clay Hill was a hybrid project. “The revenue model is stacking up well and now are going to grow that and prove at a number of other sites.

“At Clay Hill we designed it to keep the capital cost as low as possible and to keep the operational cost as low as possible for the next 20 years,” he added.

Shine also acknowledged that solar’s push to subsidy-free status had been hindered by PV module prices increasing through 2017, that was likely to change after the recent introduction of trade tariffs in the US.

Mark Henderson, CIO at GRIDSERVE, stressed that it was important to discern between new-build and retro-fitted co-location.

“On the financial side, when we talk about co-location we are talking about new builds together, not fitting storage to existing generation sites. That is fine from a technical perspective, but financially, unless you are going to get the same financier to finance the new one [it’s difficult],” he said.

“Either it’s going to be on an equity-only basis or it is going to be really difficult to move forward. How do you share the grid connection for example? Who goes first? If they’re being financed all at the same time it is a lot easier,” he added.

This story first appeared on our sister site Energy-Storage.News. The Energy Storage Summit is organised by PV Tech’s publisher Solar Media.

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Lockheed Martin eyes solar partners for new flow battery

Lockheed Martin Energy is looking for development and manufacturing partners in the solar industry as it readies its long-duration flow battery at the end of the year.

The company has an established lithium-ion business but will add a flow battery to its line-up after several years of development.

“We’re in this market already with Li-ion, we know what investors expect so we’re fully prepared to offer long-term warranties, long-term performance guarantees, you have to,” said John Battaglini director of business development for Lockheed Martin Energy. “We know the requirements, the company has made a sizeable investment and we’re committed to this technology.”

Unlike many venture capital-backed start-ups in the flow battery sector, Lockheed Martin is also extremely bankable as a company with 97,000 employees and a market capitalisation of almost US$100 billion.

“The four primary applications we see for long-duration energy storage are wind and solar shifting, T&D deferral and microgrids,” said Battaglini. “As more renewables come online the first two will only increase. We’re targeting wind and solar developers directly but we also want to talk to solar and wind manufacturers, we’re seeing a lot more hybrid systems coming into the market. Not just sharing and interconnect but an integrated system. When you look at these four applications, there is clearly a lot of demand for long-duration storage in the next 5-10 years.”

“We acquired [MIT spin-out] Sun Catalytix in 2014 and we have been investing in that product for four years now. We have prototypes up and running at our Massachusetts facility and we are targeting a commercial launch of the product in late 2018,” Battaglini said on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi.

Battaglini claimed its flow systems will be price competitive “right out of the gate” and expects that cost to continue to fall. But upfront costs alone don’t offer a fair comparison of storage technologies he warns.

“We’ve done a lot of education with customers about lifetime cost, not just looking at upfront cost. You have to take a 20-30 year view when comparing lithium and flow. Lithium batteries need replaced perhaps every seven years so you need to make sure you are comparing apples to apples,” he said.

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BNEF predicts 305GWh of energy storage worldwide by 2030

The rise of energy storage will enjoy a similarly meteoric trajectory to that enjoyed by solar PV deployment in the past and could reach 305GWh of installations by 2030, BNEF has predicted.

The market is set to “double six times” between the years 2016 and 2030, reaching 125GW / 305GWh, Bloomberg New Energy Finance claims. The research group yesterday published a new report, “Energy storage forecast 2016 – 2030”.

BNEF calls the expected rise of energy storage during this time as having a “similar trajectory” to that seen in the solar PV market globally between 2010 and 2015. In those five years solar PV capacity doubled seven times over. It is expected that around US$103 billion could be invested in the technology to facilitate this expansion into the mainstream.

While BNEF considers that that sum will be invested, broadly speaking, equally across the regions of Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and in the Americas. Despite this, around a quarter of all deployments are expected to be in the US, with 70% of all installed capacity predicted to be spread across that country as well as in China, Japan, India, Germany, Australia, South Korea and the UK.

“Energy storage, both utility-scale and behind-the-meter, will be a crucial source of flexibility throughout this period and will be essential to integrating increasing levels of renewable energy,” BNEF staff wrote in a statement.

At the beginning of this year, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) claimed that around 1GWh of battery storage was in use worldwide by the electricity sector, predicting that it could rise to 250GW by 2030 in its “REThinking Energy 2017: Accelerating the global energy transformation” report.

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South Australia plans 100MW battery, dispatchable renewables and 250MW gas plant

In a major energy strategy upheaval, the South Australian government is providing significant funding to support energy storage projects, starting with a 100MW grid-connected battery that will be the largest in the country.

The aim is to modernise the state’s grids and help support the increasing penetration of renewable energy capacity. Blackouts in the region caused a vicious nation-wide debate about what had caused the power cuts last year, with the matter still unsettled in some quarters.

South Australia’s new plan was announced just a few days after Tesla chief Elon Musk confirmed via Twitter that his company could solve South Australia’s grid crisis with a 100MW battery, which he would provide free of cost if not commissioned within a 100 days of being asked.

Following this, John Grimes, CEO of the Australian Energy Storage Council, said that the state government has been “at pains” to stress that there will be an open, competitive tender process to build the 100MW project.

For the overall storage push, the Renewable Technology Fund will provide AU$75 million in grants and AU$75 million in loans for a range of eligible storage projects, including solar thermal, biomass, hydrogen energy and pumped hydro.

The government also cited the ability of storage to help dispatch renewable energy as and when it is needed. It will therefore tender the remaining 25% of its electricity load to technologies that support dispatchable renewable technologies, with new contracts to commence on 1 January 2018.

Gas still prioritised

While the storage funding was welcomed by the industry, solar advocates criticised the revamped focus on gas as the government simultaneously announced plans for a 250MW gas-fired electricity generator, claiming that unclear policy setting had led to stagnation in thermal generation investment. It also said the gas plant could be switched on in times of emergency, therefore adding security to the system. This project will also be tendered soon.

In the interim period, the State government will work with South Australia’s transmission and distribution companies to provide up to 200MW of temporary generation. No more detail was given on how this temporary power would be sourced.

Claire O’Rourke, national director of campaign group Solar Citizens, said: “We have the technology without gas for a reliable, stable and affordable energy supply system, what we lack, as always, is the political will.”       

Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said: “The range of measures announced by Premier Jay Weatherill demonstrates that renewable energy and energy storage can contribute toward a more resilient and secure energy system.

“Energy storage is obviously going to be a huge part of Australia’s energy future, and the SA government’s funding for new large-scale battery technology will help accelerate its adoption and start to reduce its reliance on increasingly expensive gas power.”

He said the high-profile Twitter interaction between Elon Musk and Mike Cannon-Brooke, the founder of software firm Atlassian, about storage’s ability to solve the grid crisis had helped to capture attention across the world and had made known that the technology is progressing far faster than people had anticipated.

Energy Networks Australia CEO John Bradley, whose organisation has previously attacked the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and pushed for gas over renewables, welcomed the integrated approach to power system security, including both storage technologies and gas supply development, but said a wider national plan is still required.

He added: “This plan encourages new gas supplies which help to support system security, allows a competitive process for large-scale storage and enables gas-fired generation to support a stable and reliable grid.”

Rest of the plan

The state government will also introduce a new target requiring energy retailers to get more electricity from what it described as cleaner generators that produce their electricity using South Australia’s abundant natural resources, whether this be from gas, solar, wind, biomass or graphite, which is used for batteries.

The aim is also to create more self-sufficiency using local resources, while reducing dependence on coal from Victoria. Retailers will be compelled to source a percentage of energy from local generators rather than from Victorian coal through the state interconnector.

Applicants for new electricity-generation projects of more than 5MW capacity will also be required to demonstrate how they add to local energy-system security.

The state is also drafting new legislation “to ensure that South Australian energy users are not held hostage to unwarranted market behaviour”. It will give the Minister for Energy new powers to direct the national market in the case of an electricity supply shortfall.

In related news, energy storage has also received a big boost in Victoria after its state government announced another AU$20 million for large-scale energy storage, in addition to the AU$5 million already pledged.

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The Global Energy Storage Opportunity – free report available now

From PV-Tech’s publisher comes The Global Energy Storage Opportunity, a special online-only supplement magazine that looks at some of the exciting recent developments in all segments from microgrids and residential to grid-scale and commercial.  

Free to download, The Global Energy Storage Opportunity comes from the Solar Media editorial team and a stellar range of guest contributors, including Fraunhofer ISE, Navigant Research and S&C Electric.

It looks at 15 different products from big names like sonnen, Samsung SDI, Mercedez-Benz Energy and of course the ubiquitous Tesla, taken from the news pages of Energy-Storage.News, technologies including vehicle-to-grid, energy storage software and bromine flow batteries.

For the financially-minded, there’s a feature on why some big solar investors are so far holding back from plunging into energy storage, despite an obvious desire to do so and a fascinating in-depth Q&A with Nancy Pfund of DBL Partners, who probably isn’t yet tired of being described as one of Tesla’s earliest backers – and SolarCity too. Speaking of Tesla (again), there’s also a look at how the first Powerpack project in Europe was financed and developed.

In all, there’s a wealth of material on offer and in addition to informing we hope it will also serve to whet the appetite of those of you who will be joining us at the Energy Storage Summit, in London on 28 February and 1 March.   

To download the special report for free, click here.

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India’s SECI issues RfS for 200MW solar and storage in Karnataka

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has issued a request for selection (RfS) document for the tendering of 200MW of grid-connected solar PV to be deployed alongside utility-scale battery storage in the state of Karnataka.

Each 50MW project is expected to be connected to 2.5MWh of storage capacity.

The tender for capacity in the Pavagada Solar Park comes under the National Solar Mission, phase II, Batch IV, Tranche VI.

SECI has already issued an RfS for 100MW of grid-connected solar PV projects with large-scale battery energy storage systems at the Kadapa Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh.

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