Category Archives: Energy Storage

Tesla exec explains new sustainable energy vision

‘You have solar, battery pack, EV and you control everything on your phone’

Since Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity, the company’s mission slightly changed from “accelerating the advent of electric transport” to “accelerating the advent of sustainable energy”. The company wants to offer solutions throughout the entire energy production and consumption process.

At a conference last week, a Tesla executive explained the company’s vision for managing all that energy across all their products.

Kurt Kelty, Tesla’s longtime director of battery technology, was in Florida last week to give a keynote address at the International Battery Seminar.
During his presentation, he explained Tesla’s vision of energy management in future houses (transcript via evannex):

“Where we see the future [is] in houses [and] we want to be your EV provider. Put your EV in your garage and you charge it up with one of our chargers, you have a powerwall… [and] a solar product [solar roof] that we’ll be introducing this summer. You [can] see how this could integrate well in your house. You have solar, battery pack, the EV and you’ve got all the controls on your cell phone and you could control everything. This is the kind of future we see for [your] house.”

That’s similar to the vision shared by CEO Elon Musk when he first suggested Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity in order to have a single company offering electricity generation, through solar products, storage, through Powerwall and Powerpacks, and consumption, through Tesla’s electric vehicles.

Read more: electrek

SolarCity System With Tesla Powerwall

Springtime May Be Coming Early for Britain’s Energy Storage Market

The U.K. government is on the verge of making structural changes to the energy market that will benefit storage

Powervault Energy Storage System (Image: Powervault.co.uk)
Powervault Energy Storage System (Image: Powervault.co.uk)

Last fall, the U.K. government reached out to players across the electricity industry for suggestions on how to reform the grid. Now industry observers are expecting the country’s energy storage market to take a major leap forward if legislation is enacted this spring.

The U.K. is set to become “the world’s best market for scaling up storage,” said Simon Daniel, CEO of energy storage developer Moixa.

“There’s a perfect storm on its way,”

thanks to a combination of new government promotion programs, a deregulated electricity market and a high adoption of solar, said Daniel.

The legislative changes should be implemented after the government finishes mulling over the results of a recent industry consultation on how to make the grid smarter and more flexible.

Joe Warren, managing director of storage developer Powervault, said the laws will

“focus on removing barriers and opening up access to electricity markets through smart tariffs and more stable network charging regimes.”

U.K. government officials have been warming to storage, most recently announcing funding for £9 million (USD $11 million) worth of projects. Storage advocates remain hopeful that the government will integrate their suggestions for market reform.

David Capper, deputy director and head of future electricity networks at the U.K.’s newly created department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has expressed the need to encourage markets for flexibility services.

Removing the regulatory barriers for storage are a major priority for BEIS, Capper said. He also believes developers should be allowed to stack revenues.

Some regulatory changes boosting the prospects for storage are already underway. The regulator Ofgem is planning to separate management of the distribution system from National Grid’s management of the U.K. transmission system in order to encourage competition and improve flexibility.

The new distribution system operator role will allow for greater coordination with the regional network operators to help speed up the grid connection process for new projects, according to the Renewable Energy Agency.

Read more: Greentech Media

Energy companies are dead already, they just haven’t realised it

“The stone age came to an end, not for lack of stones, and the oil age will end, but not for lack of oil” (Sheikh Yamani OPEC co-founder and former Saudi Arabian oil minister)

Electricity companies around the world will begin to go bankrupt by 2018, even while they generate profits. It sounds absurd doesn’t it? However, hear me out.

By now everyone has read the headlines. “Tesla Powerwall changes everything, electricity death spiral, energy storage revolution, the Kodak moment for electricity etc.” This was the hype of 2015.

In 2016, reality set in, many households realised a $A17,999 5kW SolarEdge system with a 7kWh Tesla Powerwall would take about 17 years to pay back. These were sobering figures considering most equipment warranties are only 10-12 years. However, in just 2 years this payback equation will be radically different. It will rock the very foundations of modern society, creating and destroying fortunes across the planet.

Read more: Renew Economy

Tesla Model S

Mass adoption of electric vehicles is “much sooner than most people realize”

Blink and you missed the announcement. But last Friday, the UK’s much criticised energy supply grid system entered what is being seen as a “new era” with the announcement that eight large battery systems are being built to cope with the growing influx of wind and solar power.

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S

The deal – the largest of its kind in Europe – will see seven companies, including Sweden’s Vattenfall and UK-based Renewable Energy Systems, install eight lithium-ion battery systems around Britain.

“This is the single largest contract in Europe we’ve ever seen for storage and the largest of its kind globally since August last year,”

said Logan Goldie-Scot, head of energy storage at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance research group told the Financial Times.

Storing electricity in batteries has long seen as the “holy grail” for renewables as battery storage of electricity helps to supply power on the days that the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining.

And the move is aimed at helping the UK cope with the growing prevalence of renewables, which now account for a quarter of UK electricity generation, up from 9 per cent in just five years.

If renewables can provide electricity to the grid which can be stored when demand is needed it will help the electric car revolution that is taking place. Just as the electricity supply network needs storage in batteries so do electric cars, and it is a shortage of batteries which is threatening to keep the price of electric vehicles high for the time being.

But Tesla is changing the game on electric vehicles, a subject explored in today’s Financial Times, which asks what it calls a profound question: “Could electric cars ever cut the world’s thirst for oil enough to depress crude prices significantly?”

And the short answer is: Yes.

Read more: Price Of Oil

Welcome to Tesla Town

Less than six months after Australia received its first shipment of Tesla Powerwalls, plans for what could be the world’s first “Tesla town” – a mini-suburb on the outskirts of the Melbourne CBD whose new-build homes will include rooftop solar and Tesla battery storage as standard design features – are being unveiled by local property group Glenvill, as the green development’s first 60 homes go on sale this week.

Tesla Town, Melbourne

The new 16.46 hectare suburb, which will be called YarraBend for its 300 metres of Yarra River frontage, will include around 2,500 new dwellings – a mix of free standing houses, townhouses and apartments with three to five bedrooms, ranging in price from $1.48 million to $2.1 million.

The project is being designed, developed and built by Glenvill, which bills it as a “world first Tesla suburb” for its inclusion “within houses” of the iconic US company’s sleek-looking 7kWh lithium-ion Powerwall batteries, presumably to store energy from the houses’ rooftop solar systems, the sizes of which are not yet disclosed.

Houses in the development will also feature electric car recharging points, while residents will have access to high-speed internet, a “tech-concierge”, and a YarraBend app, that will connect them to a variety of amenities and information within the community, including public transport timetables, home delivery menus, carpooling arrangements and social events.

Read more: One Step off the Grid

National Grid wants the batteries to help it cope with the challenges of more wind and solar power (Image: PA)

New batteries to help Britain keep the lights on

Eight new battery storage projects are to be built around the UK after winning contracts worth £66m to help National Grid keep power supplies stable as more wind and solar farms are built.

EDF Energy, E.On and Vattenfall were among the successful companies chosen to build new lithium-ion batteries with a combined capacity of 200 megawatts (MW), under a new scheme to help Grid balance supply and demand within seconds.

National Grid wants the batteries to help it cope with the challenges of more wind and solar power (Image: PA)
National Grid wants the batteries to help it cope with the challenges of more wind and solar power (Image: PA)

Power generation and usage on the UK grid have to be matched as closely as possible in real-time to keep electricity supplies at a safe frequency so that household electrical appliances function properly.

Read more: Telegraph

New Life for Used EV Batteries as Stationary Storage

The electric vehicle market is set to grow quickly, but so far there has been no consensus on the ‘second-life’ of the used EV batteries.

In this report, senior analyst Claire Curry has compiled the first data and shows that low-cost energy storage could be here sooner than previously thought.

She projects:

  • There will be 29 GWh of used EV batteries coming out of cars in 2025. This far exceeds the size of the current stationary storage market.
  • Of this, almost a third will get a second life as stationary storage. (10GWh)
  • Today, a new stationary storage system can cost up to $1000/kWh. In contrast, repurposing used EV batteries could cost as little as $49/kWh in 2018, with an additional $400/kWh cost to convert to stationary.
  • The auto industry is divided on the issue. While Tesla won’t be involved in second life, BMW, Nissan and Mercedes Benz have second-life stationary storage projects in place.

batteries_fig1_storage_bnef

Source: BNEF.com

The floating solar farm on Godley Reservoir near Manchester (Image: A. Cooper/Guardian)

If wind and solar power are cheaper and quicker, do we really need Hinkley Point?

Nuclear energy’s cost, and a focus on alternative technology, including research on a new generation of hi-tech battery storage, is leading observers outside the green lobby to question the project’s value

Should Theresa May take the axe to the troubled Hinkley Point nuclear project, it will propel wind and solar power further into the limelight. And for renewable technologies to become really effective, Britain and the rest of the world need breakthroughs in electricity storage to allow intermittent power to be on tap 24/7, on a large scale and for the right price.

Cheap, light and long-life batteries are the holy grail, and achieving this requires the expertise of people like Cambridge professor Clare Grey. The award winning Royal Society fellow is working on the basic science behind lithium-air batteries, which can store five times the energy in the same space as the current rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that are widely used today.

The floating solar farm on Godley Reservoir near Manchester (Image: A. Cooper/Guardian)
The floating solar farm on Godley Reservoir near Manchester (Image: A. Cooper/Guardian)

She is also focusing on sodium-ion and redox flow batteries; the latter store power in a liquid form, contained in vats or tanks that in theory can easily be scaled up to power-grid sizes.

“There has been an amazing transformation in this field. There is an explosion of interest and I am extremely lucky to have decided early on to concentrate on this area,”

she says, although she is keen to play down the idea that a eureka moment is just around the corner.

She is also thankful for Hinkley – if only because of the government’s long-term funding deal with EDF Energy that it gave rise to.

“It has put a price on [future] electricity in the market which is high, and this has potentially opened up further commercial space for new technologies such as batteries. But independent of Hinkley we do need better batteries and my chemistry will hopefully help find them,” she says.

The wisdom of bringing in the Chinese to help EDF, the French state-owned utility company, construct the proposed new Somerset reactors has been highlighted as a key factor behind the government’s reluctance to push the go button.

But ministers are also aware that, in the last 18 months, many experts in the field have concluded that the biggest argument against the plant is not that it is too expensive, at £18.5bn, but that the kind of “on-all-the-time” power it delivers is no longer what is required.

Read more: The Guardian