Installation of RES' Jake and Elwood frequency response systems. Image: RES
Every year sees energy storage build on the success of the preceding one, it seems, and this year we were able to carry insights and opinions from some of the best placed participants and observers. Here's our picks for the content most representative of the year it's been, as well as the 10 most read news stories on the site.
Calcharge's Danny Kennedy and Alex Luce. Image: CalCharge.
Feature: 20 Energy storage disruptors
From the pages of Solar Media’s downstream solar technology journal, PV Tech Power (go here for free subscription info), Ben Willis and Andy Colthorpe took a look at some of the makers, systems and business models taking the biggest strides in bringing energy storage to commercial reality. We profiled residential flow batteries, microgrids, grid-scale sodium-sulphur and much, much more, from the likes of sonnen, Tesla, ViZN and Greensmith.
An obvious pick for a big news story from the year, but perhaps surprisingly not included in our ’10 most read’ list, analysts from Lux Research and IHS took to commenting on the merger between two of the biggest clean energy brands in the US. Tyler Ogden of Lux said that the entity will be “one of the first true new energy companies - a company that has all the pieces to supply a total energy solution to its customers,” while Sam Wikinson at IHS said the combination of stationary storage, solar and transport put it “in a very powerful position for the future”.
Analysis: The rise and rise of US storage
Matt Roberts, chief executive of the Energy Storage Association took a comprehensive look at the state of play in the US: what storage has achieved so far and what it could go on to do, how its growth compares with the rise of solar, how some specific regional markets have come to prominence over others and identifying the barriers that still exist.
One of the leaders in that US market at grid-scale, is RES (Renewable Energy Systems). Their team wrote about some of the challenges faced and lessons learned from the company’s various lithium-ion battery installations, including in PJM’s frequency regulation market and took a really deep dive into their projects to uncover some truly illuminating insights.
With a headline that grabbed attention from the start and an exhaustive set of discussions with almost a dozen big players in key companies including Younicos, LG Chem and RES, executive recruitment specialist and UK solar veteran David Hunt turned his hand to blogging on the competitive space that energy storage is already becoming. David’s snapshot looked at residential, commercial & industrial, utility-scale and off-grid and found folk willing to speak candidly about them all.
With the succinct, self-explanatory title, Florian Mayr and Hannes Beushausen of consultancy Apricum took an analytical look at all of the factors influencing what an energy storage system costs. Mayr and Beushausen explained in detail why, with so many different parameters in play, it is not a simple task to make comparisons, offering their own formula for calculating the levelised cost of storage (LCOS).
Early in the year we spoke with Danny Kennedy, environmental activist turned solar entrepreneur, and his colleague Alex Luce, who together head up CalCharge, a non-profit aimed at taking energy storage into the mainstream through inspiring R&D collaborations between major players. As Luce explained, it’s not just a question of making innovative technology that works, it’s also a question of making it work in different markets with diverse economics, policy and business drivers.
Having forecasted 81GWh of energy storage globally by 2024, Danielle Ola interviewed Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) analyst Logan Goldie-Scott to find out where, when and why this is likely to happen. Goldie-Scott talked about why he’s predicted that Asia-Pacific is likely to deploy more than half of that total and the significance of the UK’s 200MW tender for enhanced frequency response in the bigger picture.
Last year Elon Musk’s launch of Tesla’s stationary storage was the secret sauce that made energy storage sexy. Launched this year but available next, the ‘affordable’, 200+ mile range Model 3 is the main raison d’etre for the Gigafactory’s existence and, if successful, will be a decisive blow in the battle between EVs and petrol. We looked at how Musk could go some way towards absorbing demand for the huge numbers of vehicle and storage battery packs the Gigafactory will be producing – equivalent to the entire global supply in 2015 – by 2020.
Energy-Storage.News visited the offices and production centre of Scottish heat battery maker Sunamp, learning about both the science and business behind the phase-change materials that leave the company claiming to deliver some of the lowest cost per kilowatt-hour storage to market. Heat is often left out of consideration of energy storage technologies, but we left no stone unturned as we looked at the devices from R&D to factory floor to deployment and heard from their creators.
Top 10 most read news stories
Enphase confirms pricing for ‘modular’ AC battery
Tesla might have been the most-anticipated by the mainstream last year, but eagerly awaited by the industry was this year’s launch of microinverter maker and energy management specialist Enphase’s AC Battery.
Battery storage dominates National Grid EFR tender results
A major tender in the UK for 200MW of enhanced frequency response to balance the grid rewarded the technical capabilities – and economics – of battery-based energy storage.
US Bill brings ITC to energy storage
US senators introduced a new Bill for energy storage that brought in investment tax credits (ITC) for both grid-scale and residential energy storage systems.
Imergy enters insolvency and lays off its staff
One of the early casualties of the expected ‘bloodbath’, promising flow battery maker Imergy stumbled and fell in the Valley of Death between technology development and commercialisation.
First grid-scale Tesla Powerpack for Europe installed in the UK
Only a 500kWh capacity system, but the involvement of Tesla meant that this project story got high readership figures on the site in September.
France announces winners of 52MW solar-plus-storage projects on island territories
Solar-plus-storage is already making economic and social sense on remote islands, allowing formerly diesel-dependent regions to gain energy independence and security. France’s tendered projects are to be spread across the island territories of Corsica, Guadeloupe, Guyana and Martinique and La Réunion.
European Parliament makes the case for energy storage regulation
A report approved by the European Parliament’s committee for industry, research and energy (ITRE) made the case for energy storage within the context of the European energy market.
UK council approves 20MW storage system for grid stabilisation
We’re expecting more of these next year – a British local authority approved planning permission for a large-scale storage system to provide real-time grid stabilisation to the local distribution network.
SMA says Powerwall-compatible Sunny Boy Storage inverter is AC-coupled and retrofit-ready
One of the biggest solar inverter makers in the world launched a new AC-coupled version of its Sunny Boy inverter suitable for high voltage batteries.
Tesla Energy up and running, company welcomes Faraday and other EV competitors
News that Tesla’s unit dedicated to the Powerwall and Powerpack was good to go got some significant attention on the site, while the company told us they welcomed competition in its EV space as it would mean the move to clean transport was the real winner.
French island Martinique is to deploy 11.1MW of solar-plus-storage as a result of the tender. Image: Flickr user: Christian Lendl