Storage | Smart Energy International News & insights for smart metering, smart energy & grid professionals in the electricity, water & gas industries. Tue, 22 Aug 2023 14:53:54 +0000 en-ZA hourly 1 Storage | Smart Energy International 32 32 Self-consumption V2G system launched for Chinese national park Tue, 22 Aug 2023 14:53:52 +0000 Shanghai-based automotive company NIO has announced the completion of what they are calling the world’s first V2G photovoltaic self-consumption system in the Qilian Mountain National Park.

The V2G self-consumption station is operational within Qilian Mountain National Park’s long-term national research base, providing continuous support for ecological patrols and clean, low-carbon energy utilisation within the park.

According to NIO in a press release, the system marks the first global photovoltaic self-consumption system with V2G (vehicle to grid), composed of photovoltaic power stations, bidirectional V2G charging piles and all-electric vehicles.

V2G systems allow EVs to serve as distributed mobile energy units, charging during low-demand periods and supplying power during peak times.

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The technology, through the deployment of source-network-storage-load, states NIO, achieves local self-production and self-marketing of green energy and minimises the impact on the external environment.

Image courtesy NIO.

V2G bidirectional charging piles offer EV charging services; with the reverse discharge function, surplus vehicle-stored energy is supplied back to the grid for nighttime or emergency use within the park.

Photovoltaic power energises the system, with an annual average output of about 690,000kWh, fully covering the EV energy consumption within the park.

Surplus energy can cater to over 50% of other power needs, resulting in an estimated annual carbon reduction of around 55 tonnes.

Clean Parks initiative

NIO and WWF previously collaborated together to support the ecological construction of Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park, as well as Giant Panda National Park, and became strategic partners of the Clean Parks ecological co-conservation plan in April 2022.

The V2G announcement marks the commencement of the third phase of the Clean Parks and WWF ecological co-conservation programme.

The self-consumption facilities were established by Clean Parks in collaboration with NIO, Astronergy and One Earth Nature Foundation in Qilian Mountain National Park, China, on the eve of the Second National Park Forum, under the coordination of the Qinghai Forestry and Grassland Bureau and the WWF.

Flexible power responder and storage developer team up on LDES in UK Thu, 17 Aug 2023 07:22:00 +0000 Mercia Power Response, which provides flexible power response services to the UK grid, has signed an agreement with storage tech developer RheEnergise to explore the potential deployment of a new form of long-duration hydro-energy storage.

Known as High-Density Hydro, Mercia Power Response and RheEnergise will work together to identify suitable sites for additional HD Hydro storage projects.

The initial focus will be the feasibility of getting 100MW of HD Hydro in commercial operation by 2030 by using Mercia’s existing grid connections.

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Stephen Crosher, RheEnergise’s chief executive commented on the announcement: “Mercia PR’s experience in flexible power response and its deep knowledge of the UK energy system will be hugely beneficial to the RheEnergise team.

“Our HD Hydro technology can provide medium and long duration energy storage, which is becoming increasingly important as the UK moves towards net zero and with a UK energy system that is increasingly reliant on intermittent renewables.”

The existing 40 sites have a combined capacity of 263MW and several sites are under development and construction over the next 5-10 years, according to RheEnergise.

The HD Hydro system uses an environmentally benign fluid, 2.5 times denser than water, which can provide 2.5 times the power when compared to a conventional low-density hydro-power system.

The developer states how this enables HD Hydro to be deployed beneath the surface of hills rather than mountains, opening up opportunities in the UK and globally.

Said Graham White, CEO at Mercia PR: “It is very exciting to explore how we can engage with RheEnergise’s HD Hydro technology, applying our expertise in finding the right locations, developing sites, getting grid connections and operating within the Capacity Market.

“We see enormous potential for HD Hydro deployment as a future low-carbon alternative to our existing gas-powered assets.”

Added Sophie Orme, commercial director of RheEnergise: “Given the growing pressure to speed up the decarbonisation of the UK’s energy system, our HD Hydro system can be consented in months rather than years, so we are able to make a meaningful and positive impact on the energy transition over the next decade.

“With our partnership with Mercia PR, we will have a better understanding of the feasibility of deploying 100MW of long duration storage capacity by 2030.”

Smart Energy Finances: How the faltering grid drives investment Fri, 11 Aug 2023 09:15:46 +0000 This week’s Smart Energy Finances looks at how grid challenges continue to drive investment within the energy sector.

Namely, a new battery energy storage fund has been announced in the US, which will be used to establish multi-year offtake contracts for asset owners in Texas and California.

And in Europe, TenneT and Alliander have announced their H1 results, both citing the grid as a key investment theme.

Energy Storage Fund

Gridmatic, a US-based power marketer, has launched its first Energy Storage Fund.

They will use the $50 million fund to oversee the management of up to 500MW of battery capacity in the ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) and CAISO (California Independent System Operator) markets.

The fund is divided into two tranches, with the initial one successfully completed through a $24.95 million investment from an energy investor.

Using the fund, Gridmatic will establish multi-year offtake contracts with asset owners to operate energy storage using its AI algorithms.

Gridmatic has already begun operating a 50MW/100MWh battery storage system in Texas using the fund.

Announcing the release, Gridmatic cites its ability to ensure secured revenue streams for developers’ projects through offtake agreements, enabling them to obtain necessary financing.

This, in turn, empowers storage developers to recycle their capital into the development of additional storage systems.

Gridmatic is then able to maximise the returns of the contracted storage systems via its AI-enabled optimisation, they state.

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The company references their storage report, showcasing a 46% increase in revenues when back-tested against actual results for storage systems in the ERCOT market in 2022.

“By decoupling project development and active management of the batteries, this structure derisks the operational phase of a project for storage owners and supports the growth of the energy storage industry,” states the company in a release.

The fund is also hoped to open a new asset class for investors, with the sector’s growth set to be further accelerated by the Inflation Reduction Act.

The fund is proof that new kinds of investment opportunities are on the rise as the battery energy storage market is maturing. This is fuelled by extreme market volatility due to the growth of renewables and extreme weather and an increased need for grid stability.

Grid investment driving H1 results

After the first six months of 2023, companies and utilities have been releasing their quarterly and half-yearly results to demonstrate their successes or disappointments.

H1 results from TenneT and Alliander in particular are of interest, as they show the allocation of funds into grid systems. TenneT has been heavily investing in the grid to ensure security of renewable supply in the wake of the war in Ukraine, while Alliander has been reinforcing power lines as the grid continues to falter.

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In the first half of 2023, TenneT invested €3.5 billion ($3.9 billion) in grid expansion and replacement, almost double the investment they made for the same period last year.

The Dutch-German TSO’s underlying EBIT increased by €351 million ($387.5 million) to €930 million ($1 billion).

In announcing the results, TenneT is calling the first half of 2023 “marked by solutions and partnerships for the medium and long term economies of scale.”

TenneT’s ‘economies of scale’ is reference to completion of large and long-term framework agreements to develop high-voltage infrastructure, including framework contracts for 14 grid connection systems, each with 2GW capacity and valuing a total of more than €40 billion ($44.2 billion).

Stated TenneT CEO Manon van Beek: “The huge grid expansion and maintenance task we carry out for the energy transition does not take place overnight. With our hundreds of projects, both onshore and offshore, now and over the next two decades, we are realising the electricity system of the future with a clear end picture in mind: Target Grid 2045.

“Achieving economies of scale, innovating together with the market, international cooperation and timely and governmental supported long-term infrastructure planning are key in making a carbon-neutral energy system feasible and affordable for households, industries, suppliers and TenneT itself.”


Image courtesy Alliander

The first half of 2023 saw network company Alliander invest €60 million ($66.2 million) more into expanding and maintaining the gas and electricity network than in the same period last year.

However, despite the significant investment figure, the company has also stated how “it is impossible to keep up with the pace of the energy transition” calling on companies for flexible use of the electricity grid to relieve congestion pressure as the Netherlands continues to experience bottlenecks.

Alliander’s net result in the first half of 2023 amounted to €109 million ($120.3 million), €2 million ($2.2 million) higher than last year. Operating income for the first six months increased by €275 million ($303.6 million) to €1.37 billion ($1.51 billion).

However, total operating expenses increased by €258 million ($284.9 million) in the past six months, mainly due to higher costs for grid losses because of rising energy prices. Operating costs also rose due to rising purchasing costs at TenneT.

In the first half of 2023, 595 new transformer houses were built with 1,084km more cable laid than in the first half of 2022 (918km).

Are your investments plans guided by the need to expand and secure a reliable grid? Let me know.

Make sure to follow Smart Energy Finances Weekly for the latest in finance and investment news coming out of the energy industry.

Yusuf Latief
Content Producer
Smart Energy International

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Overcoming grid interconnect obstacles to deploy renewable energy Wed, 09 Aug 2023 09:42:00 +0000 There is universal agreement that the world needs to rapidly transition to renewable power.

However, writes Alan Greenshields, director of ESS Inc, as this transition accelerates it is broadly recognized that challenges associated with connecting wind, solar and battery technologies to the grid present significant impediments to achieving global climate and clean energy goals.

Understanding and overcoming these impediments will be critical if net zero targets are to be achieved. 

The energy epiphany

The war in Ukraine destabilised global energy markets and led to significant cost increases across Europe and worldwide, shocking the Western world into the realisation that the slow transition from fossil to renewable energy needs to accelerate significantly.

The epiphany has come with an understanding that this will require substantial investments in infrastructure as we transition the grid from big, centralised fossil power plants to distributed renewable infrastructure.

To deliver the transition, the US has passed the $370 billion Inflation Reduction Act, the EU is set to match the US with its Green Deal, and the UK has deployed a new Security Energy Strategy with promises to go further.

Beyond funding, a number of regulatory hurdles remain to realizing the potential benefits of these ambitious programs.

The UK strategy was announced in April 2022 and promised to slash through red tape so that solar, wind and battery infrastructure can be deployed and renewable goals met. One year later, reports by the Financial Times and others are documenting the ongoing challenges posed by interconnect issues, posing a significant barrier.

These issues have led to a queue for renewable deployments that can involve a 15 year wait in the UK to connect new renewable power projects to the grid. These delays pose severe headwinds to Britain’s ambitious decarbonization targets.

The challenge primarily lies in an outdated grid and an outdated bureaucracy. The UK’s National Grid, with its architecture designed for a small number of large fossil fuel generators, has historically had 40-50 applications for connections a year.

With the increase in new renewable projects, this has risen to about 400 a year, representing ~234GW of renewable energy waiting to be connected to the grid.

Grid infrastructure has not kept pace with the rapid growth in renewable projects. One way to accelerate renewable deployment while enabling grid upgrades will be to prioritize new projects that include long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies. These projects can ease transmission congestion by storing excess energy during periods of over-generation and deploying it when needed.

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Overcoming the connection queue

Addressing a multifaceted problem will require multifaceted solutions.

First, clearly the bureaucracy that manages grid interconnections to evaluate and approve new applications needs reform to keep pace with the volume of requests.

A predominantly renewable grid will look different than the fossil-based system upon which we have relied to date, and our regulators must enable, not hinder, that transition.

In the short term, one potential reform that could accelerate approvals would be to prioritize project viability instead of simply “first come, first served” when evaluating proposed projects. This can lead to nonviable projects wasting limited public resources despite the fact that they are unlikely to ever be built at the expense of viable projects that could move forward quickly.

For example, the initial application doesn’t require a letter of authority for a parcel of land. Projects without a clear claim to a specific physical location can hold up projects on which construction could begin immediately.

Delays are worsened by other administrative issues, such as demands for cumbersome environmental assessments for each project, and the increasing cost of booking grid capacity in advance. In fact, a grid connection tied to a piece of land could be worth more than £1 million ($1.3 million).

The National Grid has addressed this issue in a recently published report saying it is carrying out “a major programme of reform to redesign the existing connection process”, which includes ensuring inactive projects are not blocking the pipeline.

Hopefully, this makes a positive impact, but we still need to go a step further to address the backlog. A good starting point would be to update the regulatory regime and remove planning blockers as well as changing to a first ready, first serviced basis and making sure that companies that put in applications have viable projects. 

Allowing greater flow of electricity

Transmission system upgrades are also needed to expand the capacity of existing high-voltage transmission lines to allow greater flows of renewable electricity, carry electricity long distances and better connect regions and communities. This will ensure people can access power when they need it, providing affordable and abundant clean energy.

In the long term, upgrades are likely to require more cables, poles, wires, and transformers to transport electricity, skilled workers, investment, and specific materials, all of which will be in high demand as many countries are facing the same challenges at the same time.

Grid reform

The UK can’t continue to react to one electricity/energy crisis at a time until the growing complexity of the grid and its reliance on fossil fuels brings it to breaking point.

Instead, the government must proactively put measures in place to ensure the grid can harness and accelerate the amount of renewable energy needed to meet climate targets.

Fortunately, grid issues can be mitigated in the short term by deploying new energy storage technologies to support the accelerated deployment of renewables.

Battery storage enables energy from renewables to be stored and then discharged when customers need power most, even if the wind is not blowing and the sun isn’t shining.  By integrating storage both into the grid and giving priority to those new renewable projects with storage components, it will be possible to improve the flexibility of the grid while also reducing emissions.

By re-examining not only the procedures for project approval, but the components that make up the grid, it will still be possible for the UK to meet our ambitious climate and energy goals, accelerate renewable deployment and avoid further reliance upon natural gas. We just need to get the rules right and allow ourselves to fully take advantage of new innovations that are commercially available today.

Technology Trending: Cheaper solar PV, fuel cell chemistry, fuel cell power on the Moon Mon, 07 Aug 2023 07:21:34 +0000 Acoustic spalling a possible key to cheaper solar PV, quantum computing to advance fuel cells for e-mobility and Toyota’s regenerative fuel cell technology for exploration on the Moon are on the week’s technology radar.

Acoustic spalling – key to cheaper solar PV?

III-V solar cells grown out of periodic table groups III and V alloys such as gallium arsenide (GaAs) are the most efficient but also costly, which has limited their use to applications such as powering satellites in space.

But that may be about to change, according to US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researchers, who say that the application of sound waves in a new process called ‘acoustic spalling’ holds the potential for significantly reducing their manufacturing costs.

The key is the ability to repeatedly reuse the substrate upon which the cells are grown. Whereas existing technology uses a sacrificial etch layer, which allows a cell to be lifted off a GaAs substrate so that the substrate can be used again, the process is time consuming and leaves behind a residue that requires an expensive polishing step.

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In contrast, spalling, which uses sound waves to control the fracture, takes seconds, with the fracture within the substrate nearly parallel to its surface and allowing the cell to be easily removed, revealing a new, contaminant-free surface from within the substrate that does not require polishing.

“This is super promising for the substrate reuse,” said Kevin Schulte, a scientist in NREL’s High-Efficiency Crystalline PV group and lead author of the study.

“This alone will not make III-V solar cells cost-effective, but as part of this portfolio of research, we’re trying address cost from multiple different angles.”

The researchers were able to make a cell on a previously spalled substrate with an NREL-certified efficiency of 26.9% – similar to that from a new substrate.

However, additional research is needed to determine how many times the substrate can be reused after being subjected to acoustic spalling.

Quantum computing to advance fuel cells for e-mobility

Fuel cells are an emerging option for future mobility, with their competitiveness dependent on improving performance and reducing costs.

This in turn depends on a deeper understanding of the chemical processes involved but modelling is complex and challenging. Moreover, with the quantum properties of the chemical mechanisms involved, they are a good candidate for quantum computers – which is why the BMW Group and Airbus have teamed up with quantum technology company Quantinuum.

The three companies have now developed a hybrid quantum-classical workflow to speed up such research using quantum computers and have reported successfully modelling the oxygen reduction reaction, which converts hydrogen and oxygen into water and electricity in a fuel cell. It is relatively slow and requires a large amount of platinum catalyst, so there is great interest and value in better understanding the underlying mechanisms involved in the reaction.

Dr Peter Lehnert, vice-president, Research Technologies at BMW Group, says that circularity and sustainable mobility are putting us on the quest for new materials to create more efficient products and shape the future user experience.

“Being able to simulate material properties to relevant chemical accuracy with the benefits from the accelerating quantum computing hardware is giving us just the right tools for more speed in innovation for this decisive domain.”

The companies intend to investigate various industrial challenges and believe the approach could have wide ranging benefits, such as for metal-air batteries among others.

Toyota adapts fuel cell vehicle tech for the Moon

Toyota is working on a project to provide its regenerative fuel cell technology, evolved from that developed for its road vehicles, to power a pressurised lunar rover, nicknamed the ‘Lunar cruiser’.

A regenerative fuel cell is a system that provides both power and storage. During the day, powered by solar PV, the system would produce hydrogen and oxygen and then at night, this would be converted to provide power and water.

The system is considered ideal for lunar applications, drawing on local water ice resources but also enabling operations to continue during the long, 14-day lunar night.

Toyota is partnering on the initiative with Mitsubishi, which is working on the Lupex (lunar polar exploration) concept for an earlier phase rover to investigate inter alia the availability of usable water resources on the Moon.

Both initiatives are being undertaken for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which is contributing to NASA’s Artemis mission and is expected to supply the Lunar Cruiser for a 2029 launch date.

The Lunar Cruiser is being developed to normally carry a crew of two – four in a contingency or unmanned – and to have a life span of 10 years and a travel distance of 10,000km, with an off-road driving performance aimed to meet the varied environments on the Moon, including regolith and rocks and craters with their varying slopes.

New programme in California lets batteries provide grid services Sat, 05 Aug 2023 12:33:00 +0000 Software provider Leap announced the launch of a new California Demand Side Grid Support (DSGS) offering for battery storage technology providers.

DSGS is a new statewide grid services programme introduced by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in order to incentivize distributed energy resources (DERs) to provide flexible support to the grid during periods of high demand for electricity.

Leap will be one of the first platform providers to offer DSGS, according to the company, adding that its software is meant to facilitate the integration of batteries into the grid so they can act as a virtual power plant (VPP).

Leap said will enable commercial and residential battery storage systems in California to generate additional grid revenue alongside existing demand charge management and bill savings, beginning August 1, the programme’s first season of operations.

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Leap served as a lead contributor to the proposal that was used to develop CEC DSGS programme guidelines. The new capacity-based programme is the first in California to compensate behind-the-meter battery storage systems for exporting energy back to the grid, meaning that batteries will be credited for the full value they can provide to the grid during periods of strain.

The programme structure also simplifies market participation for battery storage systems by streamlining site enrollment and performance measurement processes, Leap said.

Extreme weather events like extended heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense in California, causing strain on the grid that increases the risk of blackouts and leads to higher energy bills for consumers.

The CEC developed DSGS in order to address these challenges without relying on additional fossil fuel generation. Unlike conventional grid services programmes, DSGS is specifically designed to incentivize demand-side resources – rather than traditional power plants – to meet the needs of the grid during peak hours.

Originally published by Sean Wolfe on Power Grid.

First grid-scale gravity energy storage system commissioned to Chinese grid Thu, 03 Aug 2023 10:10:01 +0000 Energy Vault, a grid-scale energy storage solutions developer known for its gravity storage technology, has commissioned what they claim will be the world’s first grid-scale gravity energy storage system (GESS).

Commissioning was announced alongside renewables developer Atlas Renewable and telcomm company China Tianying (CNTY).

Located outside of Shanghai in Rudong, Jiangsu Province, China, the 25MW/100MWh EVx GESS is built adjacent to a wind farm and a national grid interconnection site in the hopes of balancing the country’s national energy grid through long duration storage of renewable energy.

Commissioning began in June on the power electronics and what the company calls “new ultra-efficient ‘ribbon’ lifting systems”, they stated in a press release announcing the commissioning.

The system is expected to be fully grid interconnected in Q4 2023 as planned with local state grid authorities, which Energy Vault states will make EVx the world’s first commercial, utility scale non-pumped hydro GESS.

The GESS is located outside of Shanghai in Rudong, Jiangsu Province, China. Image courtesy Energy Vault.

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“Happy to share our continued progress and a critical milestone achieved with our partners Atlas Renewable and China Tianying related to commencement of commissioning activities of the world’s first EVx gravity energy storage system,” said Robert Piconi, chairman and chief executive officer of Energy Vault.

Added Eric Fang, CEO of Atlas Renewable: “We remain focused on an efficient system commissioning process in order to begin storing and dispatching renewable energy to China’s national grid in full alignment with local and state grid authorities.

“This first deployment of Energy Vault’s EVx technology will serve as a model for global decarbonisation technology partnerships, and as we have previously announced, are already working on multi-GWh deployments of Energy Vault’s gravity technology in China to support and ideally accelerate China’s current 30-60 net carbon neutral plans.”

The announcement follows recognition of Energy Vault’s GESS within the National Energy Administration of China’s roster of significant technical equipment projects scheduled for 2023 within the energy sector.

Stated CNTY in a press release on the Administration’s roster: “With the continuous increase in the proportion of new energy installed capacity (…) the high proportion of renewable energy connected to the grid has put forward higher requirements for the power grid’s peak regulation, frequency regulation and consumption capabilities.

“China Tianying’s ‘100MWh complete set of gravity energy storage equipment’ is currently the world’s largest complete set of gravity energy storage equipment. Its basic technical route is to use new energy such as wind and solar power or grid valley and flat power to raise the gravity block to a certain height, so as to convert the electric energy into potential energy for storage.”

According to Energy Vault, the EVx system is expected to have round trip efficiency (RTE) above 80%.

Price cannibalisation a threat to renewable project revenues finds report Tue, 01 Aug 2023 07:58:33 +0000 Price cannibalisation, which occurs when increased volumes of renewables with the same generation profile produce at the same time and depress power prices, is posing a serious threat to the revenues of unsubsidised renewable projects.

This is one of the key findings of the newly launched report by market intelligence firm Pexapark titled Renewables-plus-Storage Co-Location Trends: Hybrid PPAs and more.

The report provides insights into the opportunities and challenges of co-locating renewable energy assets with storage in Europe and identifies the complexity and challenges of monetising co-located assets.

According to Pexapark’s findings, co-location creates value at both the grid and asset levels, which are not mutually exclusive and therefore require full visibility of market opportunities and sophisticated revenue modelling. The research demonstrated that modelling revenues was the biggest challenge when considering contractual arrangements for co-located projects.

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The report highlights the role of Hybrid Power Purchase Agreements (Hybrid PPAs), which could offer revenues from grid services, while improving the value of the energy produced from the renewable asset.

In terms of regional insights, the UK leads Europe in co-locating solar and storage, with 70% of new solar project applications featuring batteries in Q1 2023. Co-location growth has been driven by the UK’s mature grid services and energy storage market, as well as increased contractual readiness for Hybrid PPAs.

Germany has pioneered government-backed, innovative tenders that have awarded a partial subsidy to more than 1GW of solar-plus-storage projects, leaving room for contractual innovation to further optimise the merchant exposure of the plants. Co-location growth in Germany is also being driven by market dynamics such as increased volatility in wholesale markets often leading to negative pricing.

The Nordics is a promising region to lead in the wind-plus-storage space. Advanced cannibalisation poses a serious threat to its legacy wind sector, and plays a pivotal role in the performance of Baseload PPAs which are popular in the area.

Lastly, Spain’s solar sector is set to explore co-location configuration due to the acceleration of the cannibalisation phenomenon in the country. Pexapark analysis shows that in April 2023, capture factors hit a low of 0.64, meaning renewables sold at 64% of the average baseload price.

Brian Knowles, director of storage & flexibility, Pexapark, said: “Price cannibalisation is a key challenge for revenue management and investment decisions. We have been very active in understanding the challenges of the industry on multiple levels, and we are excited to contribute to much needed knowledge-sharing to move the needle amid this tremendous momentum we are seeing”.

Originally published on Power Engineering International.

Europe injects €2.4bn into Hungarian clean tech manufacturing Mon, 31 Jul 2023 11:18:33 +0000 The European Commission has approved a €2.36 billion ($2.6 billion) scheme to boost clean tech manufacturing in Hungary as per the tenets set by the Green Deal Industrial Plan.

The scheme, which was approved under the State aid Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework, seeks to accelerate investments in strategic sectors in Hungary, in line with the Green Deal Industrial Plan.

The measure will be open to companies producing relevant equipment, namely batteries, heat pumps, solar panels, wind turbines, electrolysers, equipment for carbon capture usage and storage, as well as key components designed and primarily used as direct input for the production of such equipment or related critical raw materials necessary for their production.

Under the measure, the aid will take the form of direct grants and tax advantages.

Aid under the scheme aims to incentivise the production of equipment needed for net zero and will be granted no later than 31 December 2025.

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Europe’s green industry

The State aid Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework will help speed up investment and financing for clean tech production and manufacturing in the continent and will assist Member States in delivering on specific projects under National Recovery and Resilience Plans.

Under the Framework, the following types of aid will be granted by Member States:

• Liquidity support through state guarantees and subsidised loans.
• Aid to compensate for high energy prices.
• Measures accelerating the rollout of renewable energy. Member States can set up schemes for investments in all renewable energy sources, including renewable hydrogen, biogas and biomethane, storage and renewable heat, including through heat pumps, with simplified tender procedures that can be quickly implemented.
• Measures facilitating the decarbonisation of industrial processes, including investments to phase out from fossil fuels, in particular through electrification, energy efficiency and the switch to the use of renewable and electricity-based hydrogen.
• Measures aimed at supporting electricity demand reduction.
• Measures to further accelerate investments in key sectors for the transition towards a net-zero economy, enabling investment support for the manufacturing of strategic equipment, namely batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, heat-pumps, electrolysers and carbon capture usage and storage as well as for production of key components and for production and recycling of related critical raw materials.

Sanctioned Russian-controlled entities will be excluded from the scope of these measures.

Smart Energy Finances: €3bn for German low-carbon tech 

The Green Deal Industrial Plan, announced earlier this year in March, is Europe’s response to increasing global competition in the energy sector and is hoped to enhance the competitiveness of Europe’s net-zero industry.

Also in March, the Commission adopted a new Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework to foster net zero support measures that are aligned with the Green Deal Industrial Plan.

This marks the second tranche of aid for clean tech manufacturing aligned with Europe‘s tabled Green Deal Industrial Plan.

A week before the announcement, a €3 billion ($3.9 billion) German scheme was announced by the Commission under the same category.

Technology Trending: Energy metaverse, flexible PV, edible batteries Mon, 31 Jul 2023 06:32:14 +0000 The progress and prospects of the energy metaverse, flexible solar panels coming to market and an edible rechargeable battery concept are in the week’s technology radar.

Energy metaverse – the building blocks securely in place

The metaverse may seem very conceptual to many at this stage but it is coming in the energy sector – and coming big, according to a new report from Guidehouse Insights, which estimates that over the next decade global investment in core technologies will grow from just over $6 billion in 2022 to nearly $80 billion in 2031 – a compound annual growth rate of no less than 33%.

Core energy metaverse technologies include digital twins, AI and machine learning, unmanned aerial systems and drones, extended reality and blockchain-based applications.

“When the energy metaverse is fully realised – admittedly more than a decade away – utilities and O&G concerns can envision a day when employee onboarding and training take place via XR in a metaverse-based training centre,” says Richelle Elberg, principal research analyst with Guidehouse Insights.

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“Much like it was difficult in the early 1990s to imagine all the ways a smartphone or the internet would change how business is conducted, in 2023 it can be hard to see just how radically metaverse technology stands to change the operating dynamics of energy industry verticals.”

Potential examples cited by Guidehouse include utility storefronts in metaverse malls that could provide virtual customers with real-world benefits such as product comparisons and purchasing, energy use analysis and evaluation of a premises’ suitability for solar.

In-demand specialised experts in a field could work on a virtual offshore rig, advising onsite workers how to address a problem. And drones could conduct ongoing inspections of critical assets, feeding real-time data into digital twins equipped with advanced AI to predict and prevent wildfires or methane emissions.

Flexible solar panels coming to market

Solar panels only a few millimetres thick that are claimed integrable on all kinds of surfaces are about to become available from the Belgian startup EnFoil (derived from ‘Energy enabling foil’).

The panels, which are based on copper-indium-gallium-selenium technology, are the outcome of years of research by the Hasselt University and microelectronics research organisation imec within the Energyville collaboration, with EnFoil a spin-off from the two organisations.

Potential applications range from buildings to tents and swimming pool covers, with what is said a pliable but robust format manufacturable in all shapes and sizes and offering greater flexibility than the current mostly flat and predetermined size formats.

“As a result, the technology was mainly limited to exclusive construction projects or as an expensive extra option for the roof of your car. With Enfoil, we are changing this,” says Marc Meuris, CTO.

He adds that talks with industry to bring EnFoil’s solar films to market are “in full swing”, with the current focus mainly on the logistics sector, where the proposal is to integrate the materials on the roofs and sidewalls of trucks to power their sensors and track and trace systems.

An edible rechargeable battery

Children’s toys, gastrointestinal tract disease diagnosis and treatment and food quality monitoring are considered some potential areas where edible electronics would be of interest.

As a step towards this researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology have created a first totally edible and rechargeable battery.

With inspiration from the biochemical redox reactions that happen in the body and materials consumed as part of the daily diet, the battery utilises riboflavin or vitamin B2 as anode and the plant pigment quercetin as cathode, along with activated charcoal to increase the electrical conductivity and a water-based electrolyte.

The separator was made from nori seaweed, the kind found in sushi.

Then, electrodes were encapsulated in beeswax from which two food-grade gold contacts – the foil used by pastry chefs – on a cellulose derived support come out.

The battery cell operates at 0.65V, a voltage low enough not to create problems in the human body when ingested, and can provide current of 48μA for 12 minutes or a few microamps for more than an hour – enough to supply power to small electronic devices, such as low power LEDs, for a limited time.

Ivan Ilic, who co-authored the study, said the edible battery is also very interesting for the energy storage community.

“Building safer batteries, without usage of toxic materials, is a challenge we face as battery demand soars. While our edible batteries won’t power electric cars, they are a proof that batteries can be made from safer materials than current Li-ion batteries. We believe they will inspire other scientists to build safer batteries for a truly sustainable future.”

Hyundai and Seoul University open Joint Battery Research Center Thu, 27 Jul 2023 09:20:03 +0000 Automaker major Hyundai Motor Group and the South Korean public university Seoul National University have opened their Joint Battery Research Center, aiming to advance battery technologies and foster industry-academia cooperation.

The new research facility will create a space for battery-only research within the expanded Institute of Chemical Processes of Seoul National University, spanning three floors at 901m2.

The facility will consist of seven laboratories and conference rooms for battery development, analysis, measurement and process.

A memorandum of understanding on the Center was signed between the partners in November 2021.

Seoul National University’s first EV battery research facility

This is the first time, states Hyundai, that a research facility specialising in electric vehicle (EV) batteries has been built within Seoul National University.

With the opening of the Joint Battery Research Center, Hyundai Group will work with battery experts in South Korea to lay the groundwork for research and development of battery-related technologies.

The Joint Battery Research Center aims to focus on advanced research into leading next-generation battery technologies that can dramatically increase EV driving distance and shorten charging time, as well as research on battery condition monitoring technology and innovative process technology.

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A total of 22 joint research projects will be carried out in four divisions, including lithium metal batteries, solid-state batteries, battery management systems (BMS) and battery process technology.

Twenty-one professors, master’s and doctorate-level talents from South Korean universities will participate in the research. Fourteen of the 22 research projects will be related to lithium metal and solid-state batteries, focusing their core capabilities on developing next-generation batteries.

In the field of lithium metal batteries, research will be conducted on high-durability lithium-electrolyte material element technology and shape analysis to minimise deterioration, while in the field of solid-state batteries, research will be conducted on sulfide-based anode materials, electrode/electrolyte coating methods and ultra-high energy density cathode active materials.

From theory to application

3rd from left: Hong Lim Ryu, president of Seoul National University 3rd from right: Euisun Chung, executive chair of Hyundai Motor Group. Image courtesy Hyundai Group.

Stemming from the industry-academia collaboration, a key feature for the facility will be to focus equally on research considering mass production as for theory.

To that end, the Joint Battery Research Center has the same level of research infrastructure as the equipment applied to the Hyundai Motor and Kia R&D Centers, states Hyundai Group, such as precision battery analysis equipment, high-precision rheometers, cell manufacturing equipment, and impedance measuring devices, so that the university’s research results can be quickly applied to products.

Researchers from Hyundai Motor and Kia will be dispatched to the Center to participate as members of the joint research team.

Through consultations and seminars on battery technology, insights and development directions will be discussed, alongside a consultative body that will be formed regularly to share information on global battery industry trends and results.

Hyundai Group will have a support system to help the Joint Battery Research Center secure capabilities to develop next-generation batteries. To support research activities, the Group will invest over KRW30 billion ($23.5 million) by 2030. The investment includes the establishment of the Center and the preparation of experimental equipment.

The Group has appointed Professor Jang Wook Choi (최장욱), an expert in battery science, as the head of the Joint Battery Research Center. Professor Choi will oversee the overall research projects and management of technology development.

According to the Group, Hyundai Motor will invest KRW9.5 trillion ($74.4 billion) over the next 10 years to improve battery performance, develop next-generation batteries and build infrastructure.

UK gives green light for ‘world’s largest’ battery project Wed, 26 Jul 2023 11:08:49 +0000 A multi-faceted clean tech project site, built out of an old coal power plant in the UK, will be home to what developers are calling the world’s largest battery energy storage system (BESS).

UK independent energy infrastructure development company Carlton Power has secured planning permission for the battery project, which will provide grid balancing services once complete.

The 1GW (1040MW/2080MWh) project, located at the Trafford Low Carbon Energy Park in Greater Manchester, values £750 million ($967.6 million) and was greenlit after planning permission was granted by Trafford Council, the local planning authority.

Once operational – commercially slated for the final quarter of 2025 – the Trafford facility will operate in the UK energy market, provide reserve and ancillary services to the electricity grid and be capable of capturing multiple income streams, states the company.

According to Carlton Power, the project is being developed in several blocks, providing an opportunity to invest in large-scale 250MW projects at an advanced stage of development.

The site is also strategically placed on the National Grid electricity system for the 400KV transmission network and high-pressure natural gas, as well as being close to the proposed HyNet Hydrogen networks.

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Repurposing a coal plant into a tech haven

The project is located on Trafford Low Carbon Energy Park, alongside other low carbon tech projects, in a long-time industrial area on the site of an old coal-fired power station.

Commenting on the project was Keith Clarke, the company’s founder and chief executive, who said: “Carlton Power acquired the former coal-fired power station in 2008 to redevelop the site for new energy projects.

“With the approval of the BESS, this brings the total investment value of the site to £2 billion ($2.6 billion)…The investment in the Trafford Low Carbon Energy Park over the next 2-5 years demonstrates Carlton’s long-term vision and commitment to re-energising the Trafford site.”

The Trafford BESS is Carlton Power’s second major energy on the site. The other is a 200MW Trafford Green Hydrogen scheme; the scheme’s first phase (15-20MW) is also set to enter commercial operation in Q4 2025.

Carlton Power also recently secured planning permission for one of the UK’s first hydrogen pipelines at the Trafford site.

In addition to Carlton Power’s two projects, Highview Power Storage Inc. is planning to build and operate the world’s first commercial liquid air storage system – a £250 million($322.5 million) 250MWh long duration, cryogenic energy storage system – on the site.

Councillor Tom Ross, the leader of Trafford Council and Green City-Region lead for Greater Manchester, commented: “The Trafford BESS, alongside the Trafford Green Hydrogen scheme, places Trafford and Greater Manchester at the forefront of the UK’s energy transition.

“The two schemes will help address our climate crisis – one of Trafford Council’s corporate priorities – and will support our region’s plan to reach a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2038. I applaud Carlton Power’s long-term vision in developing the Trafford Low Carbon Energy Park.”

The greenlit battery project is now subject to a final investment decision, with construction expected to begin in the first quarter of next year.

Carlton Power is also in advanced talks with companies to finance, build and operate the system.

Transgrid to tender battery projects as Australia is named market leader Tue, 25 Jul 2023 14:40:00 +0000 As a Wood Mackenzie report details how Australia is leading in the battery energy storage systems market, one of the country’s TSOs, Transgrid, has announced it will be inviting tenders for battery operators to support the reliability of electricity supply in New South Wales (NSW).

Transgrid is entering a competitive procurement process to buy services from new battery projects before finalising contracts with successful proponents in the Bathurst, Orange and Parkes region as well as NSW.

Grid-scale batteries have been identified as part of the preferred options for maintaining reliable supply for the regions. Both regions are forecast to experience significant increases to electricity demand due to increasing industrial loads.

Commenting on the battery projects announcement was Transgrid executive general manager of network Marie Jordan, who stated how the procurement: “marks a doubly significant milestone because when they were compared to other options grid-scale batteries came out on top in both regions in terms of providing the biggest benefits.

“Our grid is changing, which is why we’re going beyond the traditional poles and wires approach and embracing new technologies and business models to meet the needs of consumers and keep the system reliable.

“We’re looking to purchase services from providers who own and operate battery storage. This approach helps meet growing demand in both regions faster than upgrading the existing network.

Jordan added how the benefits offered by grid-scale batteries will unlock new capacity on the transmission grid; service providers will also be able to use said batteries to trade in the energy market when not in use.

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Australia a battery market leader

According to an analysis from Wood Mackenzie launched at the Australian Clean Energy Summit in Sydney, Australia, the country leads the global market for battery energy storage systems.

Specifically, states the research company, the country’s total pipeline of announced battery projects now exceeds 40GW.

Image courtesy Wood Mackenzie.

“The recent surge in renewable energy and competitive market design has made Australia one of the most attractive markets for grid-scale energy storage globally,” states Kashish Shah, senior research analyst at Wood Mackenzie.

“Helped by the presence of competitive wholesale and frequency control markets offering diverse revenue streams for battery storage, and significant funding from the Australian government providing revenue certainty to storage projects. Because of this, we expect a 28% increase in the country’s battery storage capacity from now until 2032.”

According to their analysis, two-hour grid-scale batteries are currently the most prevalent technology in Australia as project owners mainly target the high-value frequency control and ancillary services (FCAS) market.

Battery module pricing is expected to decline by more than 40% in Australia and South Korea by 2032 for both LFP and NMC chemistries. This in turn will drive overall system costs down by 18% to 21% on a US$ KWh basis over the next ten years – becoming the largest cost reduction driver of CAPEX.

Current pricing conditions are due to softening electric vehicle (EV) demand growth and a downturn in lithium prices, which has seen nearly a 46% decrease since November 2022.

Further systemic price declines from additional refining and production capacity are expected by 2025. Wood Mackenzie expects the commodity price declines and technology improvements to also reduce battery module prices in the coming years.

EU flexibility requirements to increase significantly towards 2050 finds JRC Mon, 24 Jul 2023 08:05:00 +0000 The EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has estimated the region’s flexibility requirements to more than double by 2030 and be seven times as large by 2050.

The current flexibility requirements in the EU correspond to 11% of the total electricity demand but the study indicates the need for growth to 24% in 2030 and 30% by 2050 in order to balance supply and demand with the increasing levels of variable renewable energies to meet the region’s ambitions.

In absolute terms the average requirements for the EU resulting from the modelling for 2030 are 0.79TWh/day, 4.93TWh/week and 14.39TWh/month respectively for the daily, weekly and monthly flexibility requirements.

For 2050, these numbers increase to respectively 2.52TWh/day, 14.6TWh/week and 41.68TWh/month. Summed across all timescales, this corresponds to 2,189TWh – approximately 30% of the estimated 7,300TWh 2050 demand and about 80% of the current (2020) demand of around 2,750TWh.

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The report states that the study has indicated evidence for significant correlations between the daily flexibility requirements and the share of solar PV production on the one hand and between the weekly and monthly flexibility requirements and the share of wind production on the other.

While electricity generated from solar PV plants typically follows a specific daily generation profile, wind production profiles more tend to follow the monthly seasonality. Efficiently integrating both sources of renewable energy sources in the power system thus requires an adequate evaluation of both short-term and long-term flexibility solutions.

Flexibility technologies

In terms of technologies offering flexibility solutions, the study finds that interconnections play a dominant role in addressing the flexibility needs in 2030 on all timescales but particularly on the longer-term timescales.

Storage solutions like batteries, electrolysers and pumped hydro also play a significant role, with the former almost exclusively targeting daily flexibility needs but the latter also targeting long-term flexibility needs.

Demand response from households and industry will also play a role in the flexibility mix and thermal units, of which production can be dispatched, also remain an important contributing factor.

This shows that to address the flexibility needs in the future a combination of technologies is required, including new storage solutions as well as more conventional assets.

Regarding storage specifically, the study suggests that compared to other technologies, it would only be able to recover a modest fraction of capital expenditure from market revenues gained on the spot market by 2030, and would thus exhibit a strong reliance on income streams from other market segments or further sorts of economic incentives.

Looking towards 2030, a relatively limited increase of storage capacity is projected, with additional capacity requested mainly when member states experience congested interconnector capacity over considerable periods of time.

If this interconnector capacity were lower than the current targets, lithium-ion batteries would be a key source of flexibility by balancing short-term system deviations. Further interconnection constraints would increase the importance of longer-duration batteries.

First utility deployment of liquid metal battery to launch in early 2024 test Sun, 23 Jul 2023 09:27:00 +0000 Ambri, an energy storage developer behind a liquid metal battery system, has signed its first agreement with a utility provider, which the company says is the next step toward commercialisation.

The liquid metal battery system is meant to serve as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries, which degrade over time, and pumped-hydropower storage systems, which are reliant on the local geography.

The battery is composed of calcium alloy and antimony separated by molten salt, allowing the batteries to operate at high temperatures as the calcium and salt liquify.

This liquid-based system, Ambri says, reduces degradation compared to lithium-ion batteries and gives the battery a 20-year operating lifetime. The insulated battery system is self-heated and cycles daily.

Xcel Energy and Ambri will jointly test a 300-kWh system at SolarTAC in Aurora, Colorado, for 12 months, enabling an evaluation of its capabilities and performance. Installation of the system is expected to begin in early 2024, with the system fully operational later that year.

The system will use the GridNXT Microgrid Platform at SolarTAC to integrate multiple generation sources, such as solar and wind, along with inverters, load banks, and 3-phase distribution connections and communications.

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This collaboration is the first field-deployed utility pilot system for Ambri, showcasing its liquid metal batteries in a real-world setting. It also marks the initial evaluation and demonstration of these batteries by a major US utility.

Throughout the demonstration period, Xcel Energy and Ambri will test various use cases, including solar and wind integration, capacity management, arbitrage, and ancillary services, among others.

In 2021, Ambri announced a $144 million financing round, backed by India’s Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd, Paulson & Co. Inc, and the company’s largest shareholder, Bill Gates.

Those funds were intended to be used for financing and commercializing Ambri’s daily cycling, long-duration system technology and to build a domestic manufacturing facility, the company said.

Originally published by Sean Wolfe on Power Grid International.

New York greenlights Con Edison’s $11.8bn clean energy investment plan Fri, 21 Jul 2023 12:02:13 +0000 Investor-owned utility Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) has received state approval for critical clean energy investments totalling $11.8 billion that will help New York transition away from fossil fuels.

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) ruling sets electric and gas rates through 2025 and advances an investment plan that will help reach the state and city’s clean energy goals.

Tim Cawley, chairman & CEO of Con Edison, commented on the approval and how it will enable the utility to invest in the power grid to “accommodate increased demand as New Yorkers electrify their vehicles and the heating in their homes and businesses.”

The approved investments include projects under three brackets:

1. Investing in the community

Investment will spur infrastructure development across New York City and Westchester, with projects that include:

  • The Crown Heights Network Split, which will ensure reliable service and promote electrification in the Crown Heights neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
  • The Williamsburg Network Improvement project, which will enable the electrification of transportation and heating in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
  • An expansion of capacity of the Parkview Substation in Manhattan, which will facilitate the MTA’s 2nd Avenue subway expansion and promote electrification in Mott Haven.
  • The new Gateway Park Area Substation in East New York, which will support electrification and the delivery of offshore wind energy to local disadvantaged communities.
  • A new energy storage system in the Glendale area of Queens and one in the Travis area of Staten Island.
  • Continuation of Con Edison’s its storm hardening programme in Westchester County, adding smart switches to overhead power lines, stronger wiring and poles.
  • Installation of elevated equipment at substations in Westchester to protect from severe flooding.

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2. Investing in a clean and reliable future

The investment plan includes funding for a range of infrastructure projects across New York City and Westchester that will enable homes and businesses to switch to clean energy alternatives, including:

  • $800 million for Reliable Clean City Projects that will help build new electrical transmission lines, deliver substantial renewable energy and facilitate the retirement of fossil-fuel-powered plants.
  • Over $800 million in storm hardening and resiliency projects.
  • $900 million in energy efficiency and clean heat funding.
  • More than $20 million in energy storage projects.

3. Investing to protect vulnerable New Yorkers

The investment package also extends to efforts to address disadvantaged communities and supports our most vulnerable customers through programmes focused on bill affordability including:

  • Rate relief to low-income customers enrolled in the Energy Assistance Programme by targeting an electric discount program cost of $166.3 million per year and $35.8 million per year for the gas programme.
  • Primary Feeder Reliability Programme, which will enhance electric reliability and resilience in disadvantaged communities.
  • Selective Undergrounding Pilot, which will enhance electric resilience, including in disadvantaged communities.
  • Glendale Substation Storage Project, which will support the distribution system serving a disadvantaged community.
  • Programmes that will help the company provide more information quicker to customers via the company website, phone and texts.

“Our customers demand safe, reliable and increasingly renewable energy,” said Matt Ketschke, president of Con Edison of New York. “This rate plan allows us to continue delivering the world-class service New Yorkers deserve with programmes including undergrounding overhead lines to make them more resilient.

“On our gas system, we’ll maintain safety and reliability through targeted gas main replacement and advanced leak detection while supporting customers’ transitions from fossil fuels. We continue to support and invest in programmes and technology that improve efficiencies to keep costs affordable and support our most vulnerable customers.”

The funding approval comes after extensive engagement and negotiation with the New York State Department of Public Service (NYSDPS) and stakeholders.

It was supported fully or in part by New York City and several other parties including the MTA, New York Power Authority, Natural Resources Defense Council, and New York Energy Consumers Council, among others.

IFBF 2023: The future of flow batteries is here Wed, 19 Jul 2023 15:06:53 +0000 With a packed audience of 350 attendees from across the world and almost 20 exhibitors, the IFBF brought together the greatest minds in flow batteries to Prague. All eyes are now on Scotland, which will host the IFBF 2024 with the support of Invinity Energy Systems.

The 12th edition of the leading annual event for the flow battery community was a record-breaking success and concluded in Prague when Invinity Energy Systems invited the IFBF to hold the next edition in June 2024 in Scotland. To highlight the announcement, the Czech local supporter, Jiří Vrána from Pinflow handed the IFBF flag to Larry Zulch from Invinity Energy Systems.

Larry Zulch, Invinity Energy Systems, left, and Jiří Vrána, Pinflow, right, hold the IFBF flag at the IFBF 2023 in Prague

From 27 – 29 June 2023 in Prague, the IFBF welcomed 300 attendees from around the world plus 50 connected online who convened to learn & share knowledge about flow batteries and foster valuable networking opportunities.

Over the three days, the conference managed to gather the entire flow battery community, with a heterogenous audience from industry, academia, and research, and featured talks, panel sessions, open discussions, an exhibition area, a poster session, networking activities and a local site visit to the old wastewater treatment plant in Prague.

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The attendees were able to hear the latest technological, market and political developments in the flow battery sector during the conference sessions and see brand-new innovations being showcased at the exhibition area. The rising number of flow battery installations around the world, and their growing importance in the energy storage sector were presented by the leading players in the market.

A wide range of students had the opportunity to present their latest research in a lively poster session competition which looked at inspiring research being undertaken in the field, contributing to bridging the gap between research and industry.

IFBF 2023
Mirko D’Adamo from Nvision receiving the Poster Session award at the IFBF from Patrick Clerens.

“The IFBF is unique in how it brings all players in the flow battery sector together from business leaders, policymakers, developers and researchers to discuss the thriving world of energy storage and the important role of flow batteries,’’ said Anthony Price, IFBF President.

In 2024 in Scotland, the conference will present again a format including a mix of presentations, networking, exhibition and site visits. All potential exhibitors and sponsors interested can find more information about these opportunities by writing to

The International Flow Battery Forum (IFBF) is the leading annual event for the flow battery community, promoting the most recent developments in the science, technology and commercialisation of flow batteries.

For more information about the International Flow Battery Forum, please visit:

IFBF 2023
The IFBF Conference took place in Prague at the Corinthia Hotel from 27 to 29 June 2023
Volkswagen starts trading on German electricity market Fri, 14 Jul 2023 11:08:14 +0000 Volkswagen Group the first automotive company to trade on the German electricity market

Volkswagen Group and subsidiary Elli have announced the start of energy trading on the German electricity market of Europe’s largest power exchange, EPEX Spot, through the use of vehicle batteries and a digital electricity trading platform.

The pilot project is being driven forward jointly by Elli and Volkswagen After Sales and is a first step on the way to a planned Smart Energy Platform for Elli.

Volkswagen Group Charging GmbH, known by the brand name Elli, is responsible for the VW Group’s energy and charging solutions as well as the battery business.

In the future, Volkswagen and Elli want to utilise the growing storage capacities of electric cars and batteries in the energy system, with the potential to expand capacities for energy trading.

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Peak energy trading hours

Elli’s market participation occurs through an intelligent platform for trading, controlling and optimising batteries.

Bids can be automatically placed on the stock exchange via the platform. The trading results are translated into a timetable and the battery is automatically charged or discharged.

Electricity is purchased during periods of low prices, with a tendency towards a high share of renewables, and sold during periods of high prices, with a tendency towards a low share.

As a result, states Elli, trading revenues can be generated and renewable energy is used in a more optimal setting. The stationary battery storage uses 28 battery systems and 34 ‘e-up!’ cell modules.

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Elli and VW Group have ambitions of developing a smart energy platform, which will be later used for more complex applications.

Elli cites the example of investigating the possibilities and scalability of large-scale storage systems together with the battery company PowerCo. In the future, they state, the growing e-car fleet can also be integrated into the energy grid via V2H (vehicle to home) and V2G (vehicle to grid) technologies and serve as a mobile power bank.

Elli CEO Giovanni Palazzo commented on the partnership, calling VW Group “Europe’s largest mobility service provider in the field of charging and energy. We want to further expand this leading position and develop Elli into a leading trading company for battery flexibility.

“Electricity trading is a major milestone on this path. Our long-term goal is clear: We want to give our customers a clear advantage in terms of electricity prices and at the same time develop new, high-revenue business models that will strengthen Elli in the long term.”

Volue’s optimisation

The energy model used by Volkswagen makes use of an optimisation and trading solution from Volue Energy GmbH, through which Elli has begun intraday energy trading.

The solution comprises the BoFiT optimisation module and the VAT-P trading module for automated transaction processing.

Volue’s energy trading solution went live on July 12, 2023.

Elli has started marketing batteries in a trial set-up from Volkswagen Group After Sales in Baunatal, Hesse. This will hold a battery capacity of up to 335MWh. Further power centres are planned.

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Elli is also testing the value chain for the future power centres with a trial storage set-up in Baunatal from Volkswagen Group After Sales, which was successfully connected to Elli’s battery control system in June this year.

According to Volue, in combination with charging management and monitoring, BoFiT determines how much power can be bought or released and whether the conditions are favourable for buying or selling power on the exchange.

Volue Algo Trader Power takes the trading recommendations calculated by BoFiT and manages trading on the exchange. This ranges from generating bids to completing the transaction.

Said Kora Töpfer, head of German public & regulatory affairs at the European Power Exchange EPEX Spot: “We are pleased to welcome the Volkswagen Group and Elli as the first automotive company to trade with us on the German electricity market.

“Our continuously growing electricity exchange needs companies that want to get involved in trading and control the growth of renewable energies with us in order to compensate for fluctuating demand and energy supply.”

ISO reports 5,000MW battery storage capacity on Californian grid Wed, 12 Jul 2023 12:39:25 +0000 California’s Independent System Operator (ISO) has reported more than 5,000MW of battery storage capacity is now online and fully integrated into the electrical grid.

According to the non-profit ISO, which oversees operation of California’s bulk electric power system, transmission lines and electricity market generated and transmitted by its member utilities, the 5GW of lithium-ion battery capacity on the electric grid can provide enough power for approximately 3.8 million homes for up to four hours before needing to be recharged.

The benchmark was reached in early June. As of July 1, it reached 5,600MW. This is a tenfold increase from the 500MW installed capacity in 2020, states the ISO.

Dispatch to meet intermittency

The batteries being added to the grid are charged during the day, when solar power is abundant, and dispatched primarily in the evening hours when demand is still high and the sun is setting and solar capacity diminishing.

The ISO has also, they add, worked closely over the past several years with industry representatives and stakeholders to design market and pricing protocols that enable grid operators to fully utilise the batteries’ unique capabilities.

Batteries’ state-of-charge, for instance, must be constantly monitored and verified to ensure power is available when needed. That requires market rules specifically designed to accommodate the behaviour of a resources that was not part of the state’s energy portfolio a few years ago.

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Elliot Mainzer, the ISO’s president and chief executive officer, commented on the benchmark, which was reached in early June:

“With our state experiencing more frequent climate extremes such as record heat waves and droughts, it is essential to invest in innovative technologies like energy storage to make sure we can continue to reliably power the world’s 4th largest economy.

“Just three years ago, we had about 500MW on the grid and this rapid growth of energy storage in California has significantly improved our ability to manage through challenging grid conditions.”

Summer heat incentives

The major driver behind the influx in storage on the grid, they state, has been a series of storage procurement orders authorised by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which requires regulated utilities to add storage to their portfolios.

These orders also call for significantly more storage in the coming years.

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“The CPUC’s plans call for a buildout of more than 10,000 MW in aggregate storage capacity on the grid by 2026,” explained Gabe Murtaugh, storage sector manager in the ISO’s market design group.

“This pace of adoption enhances reliability during the most challenging times of the day and helps ensure that new and existing solar resources are more effective on the grid.”

Last summer, when record heat and demand put California’s electric grid under new levels of strain, states the ISO, batteries played an important role in maintaining reliability during the critical evening hours, when solar is not available.

In coming years, the ISO is expecting to see the emergence of new storage technologies, not only battery solutions, as well as longer-duration storage resources that will be able to provide additional value to the grid.

“The storage fleet has been performing largely as planned,” Murtaugh added. “It has allowed us to dispatch additional power when it is most needed to help keep the grid balanced and the power flowing. We look forward to the further growth and technological diversification of this valuable new resource.”

Iberdrola brings quantum computation to the Spanish grid Tue, 11 Jul 2023 06:54:14 +0000 Iberdrola is partnering with Basque Country headquartered startup Multiverse Computing on quantum algorithms for Spain’s grid.

Specifically the goal of the 10-month programme, which will involve Iberdrola’s distributor in Spain, i-DE, is to bring the power of quantum computing to determine the optimal number, type and locations of supplemental batteries for the grid.

Some of the many variables that must be considered include connections with neighbouring power systems, flexibility in existing generation sources and the hourly, daily and seasonal changes in power demands.

Multiverse’s quantum algorithm team intend to use quantum and quantum-inspired algorithms to solve these computationally complex problems, which are beyond the power of classical computers.

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The project forms part of the Gipuzkoa Quantum Programme in Spain’s Basque Country and emerged out of Iberdrola’s commitment to collaborate with local startups on technology innovations.

The battery optimisation problem was selected by i-DE as key for integrating the increasing capacity of renewable generation.

“The Basque Country has become a reference point for quantum computing, and Iberdrola, committed to this land and to innovation, has located here the global Smart Grids Innovation Hub, its international reference centre in the development of technologies for smart grids,” says Iker Urrutia, i-DE’s Gipuzkoa Area Manager.

“Therefore, Iberdrola’s collaboration with Multiverse is a natural alliance that will keep Gipuzkoa and the Basque Country at the forefront of quantum innovation.”

Quantum computing use cases

Optimisation problems involving the evaluation of large numbers of different combinations are considered a likely use case for quantum computing due to their complexity.

More broadly with the increasing number of sensors and other components in the smart grid, other scalability issues also are envisaged for quantum computation such as PMU placement, while another is the optimal scheduling and dispatch of electricity.

Multiverse Computing also reports that in the US its optimisation solutions are primed to assist with battery placement to support solar and wind installations in cities and states, particularly where utility performance-based regulation has been introduced.

Among other projects in which Multiverse Computing is participating is the Renault-led innovation ecosystem for electric and connected vehicles in Spain.

The project is focussed on areas including decarbonisation, connectivity and mobility and the company is creating new algorithms to better support new testing platforms and other operations for these vehicles.

€350 million for storage in Spain

The project appears to be timely, coming at the same time as the European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €350 million scheme to support the construction and operation of approximately 1,000MW of storage facilities in Spain.

The goals of the scheme, which will run until June 2026, are to increase the share of renewables in the system, decrease the curtailment of renewables at times of overproduction and support the secure operation of the Spanish electricity system.

The awards of contracts to the selected projects should take place before the end of 2024. The storage facilities should enter operation by the end of 2026, except for pumped hydro storage, which may enter operation by the end of 2030.

Atlas Copco launches five new Li-ion storage systems Mon, 10 Jul 2023 11:29:55 +0000 Atlas Copco Power and Flow has launched five new models of its industry-leading Lithium-ion Energy Storage Systems (ESS).

The new units expand the spectrum of suitable applications and provide customers with increased options for power.

The systems, which have been designed with sustainability in mind, are suited to noise-sensitive environments, such as events, metropolitan construction sites, telecom, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas and rental applications, and enable operators to dramatically reduce their fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The additions to Atlas Copco’s portfolio include a larger ZBC 300-300 unit and a smaller line of battery-based storage systems, the ZPB 45-60, ZBP 45-75, ZBP 15-60 models, and the ZBP 2000 with two flexible solar panels.

With a complete offer of ESS, users will now benefit from increased flexibility and versatility in their operations, with both stand-alone and hybrid solutions across their sites.

“Our customers are increasingly seeking clean energy solutions to be more sustainable and efficient in their operations,” explains Bárbara Gregorio, marketing manager Power & Energy at Atlas Copco’s Power and Flow Division.

Added Gregorio, “The move towards battery storage solutions is a natural evolution for us and we have continued to develop the ESS portfolio using the best battery technology for our targeted applications, making the benefits of clean power available to more applications and for new opportunities in our sector.”

These energy storage systems are ideal for applications with a high energy demand and variable load profiles, as they cover both low loads and peaks. For example, they can properly size cranes and other electric motors, and successfully manage peaks in energy demand for noise-sensitive events and for electric vehicles (EV) recharging stations.

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Furthermore, operators can synchronize several models, which can become the heart of any microgrid, storing and delivering energy coming from several energy sources, including renewables.

ZBP models, small and extra small energy storage systems

The small ZBP units – the ZPB 45-60, ZBP 45-75 and ZBP 15-60 – present a new design, are modular, mobile, and up to 70% lighter in weight than other battery systems, and so can easily be moved around site to provide clean and quiet energy where required.

They are ideal for applications such as events and telecom, and can work alone in island mode, or can be coupled with a diesel generator to provide a hybrid solution with significant energy savings.

APF59 ZBC-Z charger. Image credit: Atlas Copco

The ZBP models are easy to use and install and have lower maintenance needs than a standalone diesel generator, which translates into a reduced total cost of ownership (TCO).

Featuring high-density Lithium-Ion batteries, these energy storage systems provide over 12 hours of power from a single charge, and they can be fully charged in less than one hour (depending on the model).

ZBP 2000 is a fully sustainable portable solution as it comes with two foldable solar panels which could be used to recharge the unit in great weather conditions or to maintain a proper battery level during less efficient production days.

It is suitable for small events and small construction sites, providing silent operation and zero emissions while working with solar energy. Up to five units can easily be joined in parallel to provide users with higher power levels of up to 10kW.

Compact and lightweight, with a footprint of 1m3, this unit is robust enough to withstand conditions typically found on construction sites. The ZBP 2000 energy storage system has IK09 impact resistance classification and an Ingress Protection rating of IP65, meaning it provides exceptional protection from dust and water, so users can be confident it provides excellent reliable performance in harsh environments.

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ZBC 300-300 to complete the medium range of ESS

The ZBC 300-300 joins the ZBC 250-500 and ZBC 500-250 models to complete the medium range of ESS and is a 10ft container designed to meet the requirements for off- and on-grid applications, and is ideal in combination with renewable stations, providing up to 4,5MWh of storage capacity.

It is a scalable solution, as up to 16 units can be connected in parallel. Moreover, when operating in hybrid mode with a diesel generator, users can reduce daily fuel consumption by up to 90%, depending on the application.

During stand-alone operation, these energy storage systems offer no fuel consumption and no CO2 emissions, operating at less than 80 dB(A), while allowing users to increase the productivity of their core business by up to 50%.

ECO, the Energy Controller Optimizer

APF59 ZBC-Z charger. Image credit: Atlas Copco

All Atlas Copco’s energy storage systems come with their own intelligence, the ECO Controller, which is a unique in-house designed and developed Energy Management System (EMS). With the introduction of this human-machine interface (HMI), operators will optimize energy generation, distribution, and consumption.

ECO, as the ‘brain’ of the energy storage system, communicates with all components including inverters, batteries, solar charge controllers and energy meters. The controller ensures consistent operations and optimal performance of the entire installation, therefore enabling operators to minimize downtime.

Atlas Copco’s ECO Controller provides performance data so customers can take any immediate corrective action, thereby increasing the lifetime of components and generators and the overall operational efficiency while reducing long-term costs.

Moreover, to enhance the electrification of certain sectors, Atlas Copco has launched its own fast charger for electric vehicles and heavy-duty machinery – the Z Charger. This new solution, which increases the charging rate by boosting the voltage, decarbonizes the recharging of battery-driven machinery and vehicles when working with an energy storage system.

Technology Trending: Smart home energy management, rail-based energy storage, energy harvesting Mon, 10 Jul 2023 08:12:27 +0000 Energy management in smart homes, mobile storage on US railways and energy harvesting innovations under development are on the week’s technology radar.

Energy management in smart homes

With energy management becoming integrated into popular home offerings, such as Samsung’s SmartThings app which can connect to users’ smart meters, the concept of the smart home is fast gathering ground.

However, many remain unaware of its potential, according to Samsung. In a recent survey of British consumers, the tech giant found that almost three-quarters were unaware of being able to place smart buttons around the home to allow one to easily turn on or off any connected appliances and two-thirds were unaware of being able to integrate the management of energy devices or create a safer home environment.

Nevertheless, the survey found that after reading more information about heat pumps, almost one-third said they were likely to consider installing a heat pump in the next 12 months.

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This is broadly in line with the four in ten found in another survey to be considering purchasing energy-efficient solutions, such as solar panels and battery storage.

James Kitto, Vice President for Samsung UK Mobile said there’s never been a more revolutionary time for connected living.

“Smart home technology is more sophisticated and intuitive than ever before, empowering people and improving lives in ways unimaginable even five years ago – from breaking down barriers around accessibility, enabling consumers maintain healthier lifestyles and helping save money, the possibilities are endless.”

Rail-based mobile storage

In addition to fixed storage, interest is growing in the potential of mobile storage, particularly to support the grid in the face of the more extreme weather events that are occurring.

The question is how to deliver it and now a group of scientists in the US at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have suggested that the country’s rail system could serve as a nationwide backup transmission grid over which containerised batteries could be shared among regions to meet demand peaks, relieve transmission congestion and increase resilience in cases of low-frequency high-impact events.

According to the scientists writing in the journal Nature Energy, compared to new transmission lines and stationary battery capacity, deploying ‘rail-based mobile energy storage’ as they term it could save the power sector upwards of $300/kWyear and $85/kWyear, respectively.

They estimate that a single train could carry 1GWh of battery storage, and that batteries could be moved between most ISO regions within a week without disrupting regular freight operations.

They also note that there are no known technical barriers to excluding such mobile storage from grid participation.

However, addressing interconnection challenges and revising regulatory frameworks would be necessary for deployment at scale.

Energy harvesting for remote power

Energy delivery for services in inaccessible and remote locations can be challenging, especially with the need for sustainability and the move away from traditional sources such as diesel power.

In the clean water industry, the baseline solution for powering the IoT revolution has been low capacity, single use, unrecyclable batteries.

But British startup Vysion Technologies believes the answer lies in energy harvesting.

With an award from the national water sector regulator Ofwat, Vysion Technologies is aiming to develop an advanced micro-turbine design that harvests energy from the water flow.

Another company that has been awarded funding from Ofwat is the Fish Friendly Hydropower Company, which is developing a pico power floating hydropower turbine generator made from high-density recyclable polymer

The PicoStream as it is named is intended for easy installation in remote locations.

Depending on progress in this first phase, these companies should be in line for funding to go on to develop and pilot their concepts.

Meanwhile the US startup Aigen has developed a solar powered robotics platform that can weed farmers’ fields and provide real time data on the status of the field and the crops therein.

According to Aigem such is the demand among agriculturalists that 2024 and 2025 preorders for the service sold out in 1 day!

“Farmers tell us again and again that weeds are the number one problem they face. So, that’s where we’re starting: developing a solution for farmers to immediately reduce their costs and get rid of weeds, all while growing healthier crops,” said Kenny Lee, Aigen’s co-founder and CEO.

Storage key for the flexible energy system of the future – EUSEW Thu, 06 Jul 2023 11:55:50 +0000 Discussed during EUSEW 2023, energy storage solutions are continuing to prove a key aspect of developing the grid of tomorrow – a grid that can not only cope with the immense amount of renewable energy sources coming online, but one that can actively and flexibly manage this energy for an optimal net zero scenario.

During a storage solutions session at European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), experts in the field discussed how policy has been developing when it comes to storage and how it will need to continue to develop as the tech becomes more recognised for its role in a net zero future.

“The energy system of the future, which delivers on targets for climate neutrality, is a system that is going to have new needs, special needs. It’s a system that is going to need stability, flexibility and reliability in a different manner than the system that we know.”

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Sinobas presents during EUSEW. Image courtesy EUSEW.

So said Beatriz Sinobas, team leader for energy security and electricity at the European Commission, DG Energy, who was joined in the session by moderator Patrick Clerens, Secretary General of The European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE), CEO of SolarPower Europe Walburga Hemetsberger, European Affiliates’ Managing Director for Malta Inc. Michael Geyer, Head of Policy and Regulation (Brussels office) at Iberdrola Marta Navarrete Moreno and Chief Policy Officer for WindEurope Pierre Tardieu.

The needs for flexibility, reiterated Sinobas, are going to increase significantly, “particularly if we have a higher penetration of variable renewables, for which we have very ambitious targets. There are studies that suggest the need for flexibility increases exponentially as the penetration of renewables passes 74%.”

Storage for flexibility

According to Sinobas, there are several tools that can deliver flexibility, energy storage being prime among them.

And for Hemetsberger, this is especially true when we look at how “renewables are catching up with fossil fuels very quickly.”

Earlier this year, the International Energy Agency released their World Energy Investment 2023 report, which found that low-emissions power is expected to account for almost 90% of total investment in electricity generation this year, surpassing fossil fuels for the first time.

Increasing renewables equate to an increased need to balance intermittency and Walburga spoke on the needs of energy storage when it comes to future-proofing the grid:

“We need to have all those renewables 24/7 and we need to integrate them into the grid with solutions [for intermittency].”

Specifically, she states, “we need massive assets – flexibility and storage.”

According to Walburga, for PV specifically, 200GW of energy storage will be needed in the EU by 2030.

She referenced a whitepaper from SolarPower Europe, Electricity Storage for EU Renewable Deployment and Energy Resilience, which calls for the 200GW, that they state would cover 18% of REPowerEU renewable capacity.

Walburga speaks during a EUSEW 2023 panel on storage.

According to the whitepaper, which was released earlier this year in January, key policy actions that would be needed for this include the setting of non-binding EU electricity targets for 2030 and development of storage strategies.

When it comes to grid stability, there is also the need for large co-located solar and storage installations, which Walburga refers to as ‘grid-intelligent solar’.

“We have seen the European Commission in the market design regulation proposing to have DSOs establishing flexibility needs and demand response targets, which is great.

“We also see improved rules when it comes to the participation of flexibility into capacity mechanisms and the development of prosumer models with a new right of energy sharing.

“So what’s missing? Two things: [To remove the] double charges for battery storage…This is really something that needs to be urgently tackled. The second is to allow solar and storage and wind and storage to charge from the grid. And to fully live up to this functionality, we [also need] to have proper metering.”

According to the organisation’s white paper, a behind the meter, co-located storage system that forms part of a renewable generation unit receiving financial support is prohibited from withdrawing electricity from the grid.

A consequence of this, they add, is that such a unit, “cannot provide grid services that involve charging from the grid, such as bi-directional frequency response.”

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A matter of policy

This, as well as the role of flexibility and how much it is utilised, has become a matter of policy in Europe.

Earlier this year in March, the European Commission announced revision of the electricity market design, alongside a set of comprehensive recommendations for storage systems, with flexibility a driving theme.

Stated Moreno: “As said by Beatriz, there will be a tipping point where flexibility needs are huge and where storage will be important.”

Specifically, she states, there is one key need: “the need to have a stable and predictable regulatory framework.

“Unfortunately, during the last year we have seen a multiplication of uncoordinated interventions across member states in the EU and this has fragmented the international energy market…and eroded investment confidence.”

Moreno during the panel discussion on storage at EUSEW 2023.

Moreno related this to project bankability and the difficulties of financing projects without a stable framework to work off of.

“The international energy market is the backbone in which companies like ours operate. In Europe, most of the investments (85%) will come from the private sector. We can only get those projects through if we have a stable regulatory framework.

“We are looking at a lifetime of 20, 30, sometime 50 years for these projects. When we go to ask for money, we need to make sure that we can see where the regulatory framework is headed and that there are no sudden changes.”

This is especially true for major storage projects and it is here, where the European’s proposed market design can be seen, added Moreno, as a major positive:

“From this point of view, the Commission’s proposal on the market design gives us a lot of very good elements.

“It restores investment confidence, builds on the good points we have already developed over the 20/30 years of the liberalisation of the markets…and now’s the time to adopt this legislation and ensure the negotiations get it right and move ahead.”

TSO associations propose transmission network development scenarios for Europe Thu, 06 Jul 2023 11:04:00 +0000 Europe’s electricity and gas transmission operator organisations ENTSO-E and ENTSOG have proposed storylines to guide the development of the next ten-year network development plan.

The two storylines proposed are for two so-called ‘deviation scenarios’, which are deviations from the ‘national trends’ scenarios that are in line with national energy and climate policies.

With the aim to reflect the latest developments in national policies that are in line with European greenhouse gas reduction ambitions as well as to acknowledge the need for high ambition in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment and explore different levels of energy and other independences for the EU, the scenarios cover a wide range of possible future evolutions of the energy infrastructure.

The two scenarios are ‘Distributed energy’ and ‘Global ambition’ reflecting respectively more European and global approaches.

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Broadly the ‘Distributed energy’ scenario pictures a pathway to achieving EU-27 carbon neutrality target by 2050 with higher European autonomy. The scenario is driven by a willingness of society to achieve high levels of independence in terms of energy supply and goods of strategic importance, e. g. industrial and agricultural produce.

It translates into both a behavioural shift and a strong decentralised drive towards decarbonisation through local initiatives by citizens, communities and businesses, supported by authorities.

Alternatively, the ‘Global ambition’ scenario pictures a pathway to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, driven by a fast and global move towards the Paris Agreement targets.

It translates into the development of a very wide range of technologies, many being centralised, and the use of global energy trade as a tool to accelerate decarbonisation.

Scenario features

Features of the two scenarios are as follows.

Distributed energy scenario:

● The transition is initiated on local/national levels and aims for EU energy independence and strategic independence through maximisation of renewable energies and smart sector integration.
● Energy demand is reduced through circularity and better energy consumption behaviour and digitalisation is driven by prosumer and variable renewable energy management.
● There is a focus on decentralised technologies, i.e. PV, batteries, etc., and smart charging and on electric heat pumps and district heating. There is a higher share of electric vehicles, with e-liquids and biofuels supplementing for heavy transport, but minimal carbon capture and storage and nuclear.

Global ambition scenario:

● The transition is initiated on a European/international level with high EU renewable energy development supplemented with low carbon energy and diversified imports.
● Energy demand is reduced with priority given to decarbonisation and diversification of energy supply and digitalisation and automation reinforce the competitiveness of EU business.
● There is a focus on large scale technologies, i.e. offshore wind, utility storage, etc., and on a wide range of heating technologies, e. g. hybrid heating technology. There is a wide range of technologies and energy carriers across mobility sectors, viz electricity, hydrogen, e-liquids and biofuels, and the integration of nuclear and carbon capture and storage.

With this storyline report along with accompanying data published as a first deliverable in the formal process for TYNDP 2024 scenario building, feedback is now sought until 8 August 2023.

Taking into account the feedback, the draft TYNDP 2024 scenario report is expected to be published for consultation in late 2023 and finalised in 2024.

Embrace the future of clean power with TheBattery Mobile X from Alfen Mon, 03 Jul 2023 22:31:11 +0000 In today’s rapidly evolving energy landscape, the need for reliable and sustainable power solutions has never been greater.

As the world shifts towards clean and renewable energy sources, Alfen, a leading specialist in innovative energy solutions, is at the forefront of driving the transition with TheBattery Mobile X.

TheBattery Mobile X is a significant leap forward in mobile battery energy storage technology. With its increased capacity, improved safety features and unparalleled versatility, it empowers industries to reduce their carbon footprint and embrace a cleaner future.

At the heart of TheBattery Mobile X lies Alfen’s dedication to innovation and sustainability. Drawing on over five years of expertise in mobile battery storage backed by more than 85 years of innovation in the electricity grid, Alfen has developed a solution that meets the growing demand for temporary clean power supply across a wide range of applications.

Compact yet powerful, TheBattery Mobile X packs a punch with up to 70% more energy than its predecessors, delivering up to 720kWh of reliable and sustainable power, in the same 3m container. This enhanced capacity ensures that even the most energy intensive projects can operate efficiently without compromising on environmental responsibility.

The versatility of TheBattery Mobile X is unmatched in the industry. Whether it’s powering construction sites, music festivals, film sets or even providing clean energy solutions for offshore operations, this revolutionary system is designed to adapt to diverse environments and meet the unique needs of each application.

One of the key advantages of TheBattery Mobile X is its plug-and-play functionality. With modern quick power lock connections, the system can be easily transported and installed, providing a swift solution to power and energy shortages. Within minutes, it seamlessly connects to input and load, eliminating downtime and keeping operations running smoothly.

Furthermore, TheBattery Mobile X is equipped with an intelligent battery controller that enables a wide range of applications. From peak shaving to grid strengthening, the system optimises energy usage and ensures a stable power supply. In fact, it can even provide ancillary services, generating additional revenue when not in use at a specific site.

The environmental benefits of TheBattery Mobile X are undeniable. By reducing fuel consumption by up to 80% and minimising CO2 emissions, it offers a sustainable alternative to traditional power sources. In remote locations powered by diesel or integrating with solar power, TheBattery Mobile X eliminates the need for diesel altogether, making it a true game-changer in the journey towards a greener future.

But Alfen’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond the product itself. TheBattery Mobile X is designed with future recyclability in mind. Its LFP batteries support a less complex recycling process, while the containers, predominantly made from recyclable materials like steel and copper, minimise waste and contribute to a circular economy.

Alfen remains steadfast in its mission to revolutionise the energy landscape. TheBattery Mobile X is just one example of Alfen’s continuous efforts to develop cutting-edge solutions that enable its customers to embrace clean and sustainable power options. With its impressive capacity, ease of use, and sustainability benefits, TheBattery Mobile X is set to reshape the energy industry and empower organisations worldwide.

To learn more about TheBattery Mobile X and join Alfen on this exciting journey towards a greener future, visit their website at or subscribe here for updates. Let’s embrace the power of innovation and create a sustainable world for generations to come.

About Alfen

Alfen specialises in future-focused energy solutions, driving Europe’s transition from fossil fuels to zero-carbon to combat climate change by 2050. With more than 85 years of innovation in the electricity grid, Alfen’s smart grids, energy storage systems and EV charging stations solutions are installed in more than 30 European countries. Learn more at and explore TheBattery Mobile X.

Rondo’s brick battery factory set to become the largest in the world Thu, 29 Jun 2023 10:31:58 +0000 Siam Cement Group (SCG) and Rondo Energy’s brick energy battery storage factory is ready to expand to a capacity of 90GWh per year, which the partners claim will be larger than any current battery manufacturing facility worldwide.

Mass production in the factory is already underway with a capacity of 2.4GWh per year presently online.

According to Rondo, a California-based energy solutions developer, refractory brick has been used for centuries for industrial heat storage and is made of Earth’s most abundant elements: oxygen, silicon and aluminium.

Rondo’s heat battery stores electric power as high-temperature heat in such refractory brick, they add, without using combustibles, critical minerals, toxics or liquids.

Thermal radiation warms the bricks at temperatures up to 1,500°C, storing heat. Thousands of tonnes of brick are heated directly by this thermal radiation, storing energy for hours or days, states Rondo.

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The battery storage solution was designed to integrate into existing facilities or new-builds, providing a solution for intermittency, when renewable energy isn’t available.

The refractory brick is produced for Siam Cement Group through their subsidiary, Thailand-based Siam Refractory Industry Company.

Announcing the expansion in a press release, Rondo CEO John O’Donnell commented on how “decarbonizing industrial heat is a trillion-dollar market requiring far more storage than the electric grid. The technology is here now. The demand is here now. This planned expansion means that the capacity is here now as well.”

Industry uses more energy than any other part of the world economy, and most industrial energy is used as heat.

According to Rondo, industrial heat, considered a ‘difficult to decarbonize’ area, consumes a quarter of total world energy and today releases a quarter of the world’s CO2.

The 90GWh of planned capacity from the battery factory will result in 12 million tonnes of CO2 savings annually, equivalent to removing over 4 million internal combustion engine vehicles from the road each year.

Energy sector will ‘transform the world for the better’ says Engie boss Mon, 26 Jun 2023 12:20:00 +0000 Chief executive woos Brussels audience with speech about ‘unbelievable energy sector

Audiences at energy conferences don’t often break out in a spontaneous round of applause, yet Catherine MacGregor of French energy company Engie got one this week at the Eurelectric Power Summit in Brussels.

The chief executive won cheers and applause after she delivered a passionate statement on why the energy industry is a great place to work.

“We are a super-attractive sector,” she said. “We are an unbelievable sector. We are going to transform the world for the better. For young people: where else would you go?”

She was taking part in a discussion highlighting how European utilities have been impacted by geopolitical events in the past year.

Asked how long she believed the turbulence in the market would continue, she said that “tensions and volatility might stay until 2026 and 2027”.

Yet she stressed that helping to stabilise the sector – and in turn accelerate the transition to cleaner, secure and affordable energy – was in the hands of the industry itself.

“We are a bit stuck in our own arguments and debates,” she said. “We need to unleash more positive energy.”

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Earlier this month, MacGregor unveiled Engie’s 2050 energy scenario for Europe. It had seven key action points:

  • All current levers and those under development must be activated to make “Net zero emissions” a reality in under 30 years. 
  • To meet European climate commitments, there is a need to step up efforts on energy conservation and energy efficiency, with the aim of achieving a 34% reduction in energy consumption by 2050.
  • A very significant acceleration in the growth of renewable energies, primarily electric (wind and solar power) is essential to reach European climate targets and limit costs.
  • Flexibility technologies (battery storage, pumped storage, combined-cycle gas turbines) will play a central role in the energy system in the context of the growth of renewable energies. Additional capacity of 600GW must be developed (a circa 4-fold increase on current capacity). 
  • Methane will be fully decarbonized by 2050 and will play a key role in the energy transition. The demand for methane will be halved in France and in the rest of Europe. In France, biomethane will play a dominant role, accounting for 2/3 of demand in 2050. The biomass potential in France is sufficient to cover the need for solid, liquid and gaseous biofuels. 
  • Decarbonized hydrogen and molecules produced from hydrogen (e-molecules) will play a key role in transports and for certain industrial uses. Demand for hydrogen and e-molecules – driven by the need to decarbonize heavy-duty transport and industry – will increase 8-fold by 2050 (75% for transport and 25% for the industrial sectors most difficult to decarbonize, such as steel). Almost half of this hydrogen will be produced locally. 
  • Investment in electricity infrastructures will increase massively, while existing gas infrastructures can be adapted to a totally carbon-free energy mix at limited cost. Minimising the cost of the energy transition, they meet the challenges of peak demand and energy system flexibility.

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At the launch of the scenario, MacGregor said: The magnitude and urgency of the energy transition makes it an unprecedented challenge for Europe.

“At a time when the debate on energy planning is gaining traction in Europe, we wanted to share our convictions on what we believe to be the most realistic pathway.

“A successful transition means achieving net zero carbon while ensuring that the cost to citizens and businesses is kept under control, developing a robust and reliable energy system.

“To achieve this, we are convinced of the need to exploit all levers for decarbonization. The combination of the molecule and the electron is the answer to these challenges on a national and European scale.

Battery storage installations expected to snowball to 400GWh by 2030 – report Fri, 23 Jun 2023 13:40:35 +0000 Annual battery storage installations will surpass 400GWh by 2030, representing a ten-fold increase in current yearly additions.

This is according to the latest modeling from Rystad Energy that shows annual capacity additions will snowball in the coming years as storage becomes crucial to the world’s energy landscape.

Global BESS capacity additions expanded 60% in 2022 over the previous year, with total new installations exceeding 43 GWh. A further 74GWh will be added this year – a 72% increase – primarily driven by cost reduction in BESS systems in addition to incentives in North America, governmental funding programmes in Europe, coupled with robust renewable capacity expansion in mainland China. 

Image credit: Rystad Energy

Assuming a status-quo policy scenario, Rystad Energy projects annual installations will surpass 400GWh by 2030. This correlates to capacity additions of about 110GW by 2030 on a power basis, almost equivalent to the peak residential power consumption for France and Germany combined. This projection is generally aligned with our climate change scenario compliant with 1.9-degree Celsius carbon budget.

Government policies are playing an important role in incentivizing investments and capacity expansion. Last year’s US Inflation Reduction Act has catalyzed renewable and clean tech expansion, boosting expected solar and onshore wind capacity by 40% and expecting to add more than 20GW battery capacity compared to before the Act. As result, the US battery capacity will exceed 130GW by 2030.

The European Green Deal Industrial Plan aims to accelerate the transition to a sustainable and low-carbon industrial sector in Europe, and gradually supports the BESS development in addition to the local fundings for BESS developers – for example, a £32 million energy storage funding program in the UK.

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China is committed to peaking its emissions by 2030 and sees battery developments as a steppingstone to achieving that goal. The country’s clean energy development will accelerate in the coming years, increasing the share of renewables in its power mix.

It is relevant to emphasize that China’s coal capacity expansion primarily targets addressing energy security concerns providing the domestic power sector with sufficient flexibility to mitigate future energy crises. Hence, this is the case when an increase in capacity does not translate into immediate increase in generation. Average coal capacity factors in China have been declining steadily since 2010. Meanwhile, the country has matured its solar and battery production capacity and is expected to continue investing in local supply chain expansion to deliver on both domestic demand and the role China plays in the global export market across the low-carbon energy value chain.

Image credit: Rystad Energy

By 2030, annual BESS market installation will hit 110GW, 58% of which will be developed in Asia. North America will account for about 20 GW and Europe will have 18GW installed, with the remaining 8GW from the rest of the world. This is a shift from current trends, as the projected installation at the end of 2023 is expected to be dominated by North America, which will account for 45% of total BESS capacity.

Utility scale battery storage is required to address power security concerns in national and regional electricity grids. Microgrids – self-contained, local power grids – will become more prevalent and distributed power generation is set to dominate as primary energy sources such as solar and wind are not limited to specific countries or regions.

Most capacity additions will be at the utility level, but residential developments are also critical. Consumer power prices will drive standalone BESS growth in the short term, with residential battery installations set to grow alongside rooftop solar PV adoption. Countries with efficient and affordable solar energy production will emerge as pioneers in coupled-residential battery systems.

The residential market is lagging the utility segment globally, but we expect that to change. We expect residential adoption to grow in parallel and increase ten-fold, surpassing 41GWh battery demand by 2030. Europeans are pioneers in utilizing BESS in their homes, as tax credits and high-power prices during peak periods have motivated consumers.

Solid state battery innovation centre unveiled in Basque Country Wed, 21 Jun 2023 06:51:16 +0000 Solid state battery developer Basquevolt has unveiled its innovation centre with the promise to deliver 100% European solid state battery technology by the end of 2023.

The research and development centre in the formerly named Epsilon Building – now Basquevolt Building – in the Alava Technology Park in the outskirts of the city of San Sebastian in northern Spain is focussed initially on the production of 20Ah cells for use in electric vehicles.

Basquevolt in cooperation with research partner CIC energiGUNE, whose patented composite electrolyte forms the basis for the technology, has been testing its first multilayer cells since last April, demonstrating that it can reach a high energy density – 1,000Wh/l and 450Wh/kg – while significantly reducing overall battery pack costs.

The company anticipates that its battery cells, with more efficient but less complex production, could create a 30% reduction in the capital investment needed per GWh in a gigafactory and 30% less energy used per kWh produced, compared to lithium-ion batteries.

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In addition to the production of the 20Ah cells, Basquevolt has set a goal to start the manufacturing of solid-state cells by the end of 2025 at its 1GWh future facility at its site in Vitoria-Gasteiz and has targeted 10GWh of production by 2027.

“[The] unveiling represents a significant milestone for Basquevolt and reaffirms our position as a pioneer in the European solid-state industry,” says CEO Francisco Carranza.

“Our dedicated research and development team has successfully overcome technical challenges to deliver a cost competitive solid state battery technology that offers a very high energy density. We remain committed to further refining our technology and collaborating with industry partners to bring this innovation to the market, driving positive change on a global scale.”

Basquevolt anticipates that the breakthrough, which is based on more than ten years of research, has the potential to revolutionise multiple sectors with mass deployment in electric vehicles and energy storage as well as advanced portable devices.

Basquevolt is backed by the EU’s EIT InnoEnergy innovation engine and public and private investors including the Basque government and power companies Iberdrola and Enagas.

Technology Trending: Microchips IPCEI, energy storage rocks, fusion for rockets Mon, 19 Jun 2023 05:46:55 +0000 Microchips get ‘common interest’ status in Europe, Tanzanian rocks for energy storage and fusion research to speed deep space travel are on the week’s technology radar.

Microchips get ‘common interest’ status in Europe

The microelectronics and communication technologies project has been named an ‘Important project of common European interest’ (IPCEI) by the European Commission, which will mean a boosting of research and development into new efficient chips, processors and sensors for the many applications in which these are used.

The project involves 56 companies across the EU with a proposed 68 projects with an investment expected to exceed €21 billion (US$23 billion).

Specifically, there are four workstreams.

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The first, named ‘Sense’, will focus on developing novel sensors able to collect relevant analogue signals from the environment and translate them into digital data.

The second, ‘Think’, will focus on processors and memory chips for the processing and storage of data.

The third, ‘Act’, will focus on new designs and innovative materials for components.

Then the fourth, ‘Communicate’, will work to deliver novel technologies necessary for communication that has been processed under the ‘Think’ workstream.

The project expects to deliver the first products resulting to the market in 2025.

Rocks for energy storage

Investigations by Tanzanian researchers of soapstone and granite rocks from regions in the centre of their country suggest they may have potential for thermal energy storage in conjunction with concentrated solar power generation and solar drying applications.

But not all rocks, even of the same type, were found to be equal in their properties. The soapstone from the Craton group was found to have the best performance in terms of thermal capacity and conductivities of the samples investigated.

But while the soapstone from the adjacent to the south Usagaran belt was found to have the second-best thermal capacity and conductivities, also it was found to be susceptible to deterioration at elevated temperatures and with its lowest mechanical strength is the easiest to disintegrate.

Conversely, the Usagaran granite was found to have better properties than the Craton granite, but with its low thermal capacity and conductivity needing a high-temperature change to store an equal amount of energy to the soapstone rocks.

Further experimentation is needed on the thermal energy performance of these rocks, the researchers say, but their findings so far point the way to potentially lower cost solar power and solar drying options, particularly in equatorial countries such as Tanzania where energy access is limited.

How fusion research could speed up deep space travel

Field-reversed configuration, a form of fusion in which the hot plasma is confined by a magnetic field reversed to that applied externally, is one of the options under investigation for power generation.

But it is also being adapted as a potential option for rocket engines and now the UK-based Pulsar Fusion has entered into a research partnership with Princeton Satellite Systems in the US to investigate the concept further.

Specifically, the aim is to apply machine learning to study data from Princeton’s field reversed PFRC-2 reactor to improve understanding of the behaviour of super-heated plasma in a rocket engine configuration and to determine its behaviour when emitted as exhaust particles.

Richard Dinan, founder and CEO of Pulsar Fusion, explains that fusion offers 1,000 times the power of the conventional ion thrusters currently used in orbit and could satisfy the need for faster propulsion in the growing space economy.

NASA is making plans already for trips to Mars and direct fusion drive would open up the possibility of speeding up the travel time and to go beyond. For example, with a single DFD drive, a trip to Jupiter would take only one year and to Saturn only two years, compared with decades with conventional engines.

“In short, if humans can achieve fusion for energy, then fusion propulsion in space is inevitable,” says Dinan – and he believes that fusion propulsion will be demonstrated in space decades before fusion can be harnessed for energy on Earth.