Energy-Storage.news’ most-read news stories of the year 2020

Energy-Storage.news’ most-read news stories of the year 2020

We write news stories every (working) day of the year at Energy-Storage.news and so the short selection below is not perhaps indicative of the ‘typical’ project stories, deals and launches that we cover. In some cases, a story is popular because it appeals to curious readers from outside the industry bubble we live in.

So, with that brief disclaimer in mind, let’s take a look at the news stories that had the most page views on the site since the beginning of 2020. The list covers everything from always-in-focus topics of cost reduction and competitiveness, to fire safety, innovation and commercialisation of new technologies and, of course in this year, COVID-19.

1. Battery pack prices reported below US$100/kWh for first time - 21 December 2020

The cost of Lithium-ion battery pack prices has fallen close to 90%, and rates lower than US$100/kWh have been reported for the first time.

That’s according to new research from BloombergNEF, which claims average prices will be close to US$100/kWh by 2023.

BloombergNEF’s Battery Price Survey predicts that pack prices for stationary storage and electric vehicles (EVs) will fall to $101/kWh within three years. Average pack prices have sat at around $137/kWh this year, 89% lower than in 2010 and nearly a fifth of their cost seven years ago.

2. Fire at 20MW UK battery storage plant in Liverpool - 16 September 2020

There has been a fire at the Carnegie Road 20MW battery energy storage system (BESS) project in Liverpool, England, project owner Ørsted has confirmed.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, local first-responders, said that crews were alerted shortly before 1am on 15 September and arrived to find a “large grid battery system container well alight”.

The fire service said that it had used main jets and ground monitors in tackling the fire, asking residents nearby to keep their windows and doors closed due to smoke from the incident.

3. BloombergNEF: ‘Already cheaper to install new-build battery storage than peaking plants’ - 30 April 2020

The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) that can be achieved today for battery energy storage means that “new-build batteries can be competitive on cost with gas peaker plants," according to BloombergNEF.

The LCOE of battery storage systems has halved in just two years, to a benchmark of US$150 per MWh for four-hour duration projects. In an interview, BloombergNEF analyst Tifenn Brandily, the report’s lead author, told Energy-Storage.news that below two-hours duration, batteries are already cheaper for peak shaving than open cycle gas turbines (OCGT), traditionally the go-to technology for that purpose.

“If you need to shave a peak in the load, it’s going to cost less to install a battery than OCGT or gas reciprocating power plants, peaking plants,” Brandily said.

4. UK’s largest battery storage project at 640MWh gets go ahead from government - 30 November 2020

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the UK has given the green light to the country’s biggest ever battery storage project.

InterGen has gained planning permission for a 320MW / 640MWh lithium-ion battery site at DP World London Gateway, a new port and logistics centre on the Thames Estuary in Essex, south-east England. The £200 million (US$267 million) project will also have the potential for further expanding, as far as 1.3GWh.

Fluence is providing the technology for the site, having worked in partnership with InterGen for the past two years following a competitive tender process.

5. NEC’s battery storage division going out of business - report - 12 June 2020

NEC’s Energy Solutions division, which has been responsible for NEC Corporation’s activities in the battery energy storage industry, is “going out of business” according to a report by Bloomberg.

The Massachusetts-headquartered division was previously known as A123 Energy Solutions and has been a subsidiary of the Japanese electronics major since its acquisition in 2014 for US$100 million.

The company has delivered 986MW across 141 battery energy storage projects in the grid-scale and commercial sectors. The Bloomberg article said that a plan to sell the division off had been “thwarted” by the COVID-19 pandemic, that an “orderly winding down” has been announced to customers and that CEO Steve Fludder, who joined the company in 2017, has stepped down with immediate effect.

6. Guidehouse: Lithium battery cell prices to almost halve by 2029 - 9 June 2020

Lithium-ion cell prices will fall by around 46% between now and 2029, according to new analysis from Guidehouse Insights, reaching US$66.6 per kWh by that time.

“Li-ion cells have already seen dramatic price decreases in the past decade, and continued declines are expected,” Guidehouse Insights senior research analyst Alex Eller told Energy-Storage.news.

Published in May, the Energy Storage Pricing Trends report from Guidehouse Insights (formerly known as Navigant Research), primarily focuses on large format lithium-ion batteries that are used in both grid storage and electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Alex Eller said yesterday that the most substantial price declines are expected to be seen in the next five years, “before decline rates gradually reduce”.

7. COVID-19: Solar and storage installs considered ‘essential services’ in locked-down California - 25 March 2020

Installing and maintaining renewable energy resources can be viewed as an “essential service”, according to the California Solar + Storage Association (CALSSA), based in one of six major state jurisdictions in the US to have ordered citizens indoors for the time being.

The California State Public Health Officer and Director of the state’s Department for Public Health has ordered that all individuals obey instructions to “stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors”. While described widely as a lockdown, the ruling is described at state level as a “shelter in place” directive.

8. Renault batteries find ‘megawatt-scale’ 2nd life use in Belgium - 4 February 2020

An energy storage system made up of ‘second life’ batteries previously used in Renault’s electric vehicle (EV) has been deployed for Umicore, a multinational materials technology company headquartered in Belgium.

Taken from Renault’s Kangoo utility EVs, the batteries will provide firm frequency response to the grid, acting as a revenue generator for Umicore’s industrial site.

Maintaining stability of the network at its operating frequency of 50Hz is vital for enabling the addition of more distributed energy resources, as the world’s grids move away from centralised generation, also meaning that renewables - described as intermittent, or more accurately as variable energy resources - can be more readily accommodated. The system delivered for Umicore also helps the materials company maintain power quality for running its own operations.

9. Lithium-ion industry ‘disruptor’ 24M’s thick electrodes power Kyocera’s new energy storage systems - 6 January 2020

Kyocera has officially launched a residential energy storage system using an advanced manufacturing process that supplier 24M claims can reduce some of the key costs of lithium battery making by as much as 50%.

The Japanese company’s new product, Enerezza, is aimed at the booming market in its homeland and is available in 5kWh, 10kWh and 15kWh capacities. Kyocera began pilot production of battery cells and systems in June using 24M’s proprietary production process, which uses electrodes typically 3-5 times thicker than in other lithium-ion batteries.

“Full-scale mass production” is set to begin in autumn 2020, while prior interviews between this site and 24M hinted at initial production volumes of around 100MW.

10. Long-duration energy storage milestones achieved by Lockheed, Eos and Form Energy - 17 November 2020

While lithium-ion continues to dominate big project announcements worldwide, three providers of long-duration non-lithium battery technologies have claimed various milestones in commercialisation.

Lockheed Martin said that the first test of its commercial redox flow battery is underway, while zinc battery company Eos Energy prepared to list on the stock market and aqueous air battery startup Form Energy reportedly netted US$70 million of investment.

Aerospace and defence giant Lockheed Martin said this week that the “first commercial product variant” of its GridStar Flow long-duration energy storage technology has been deployed for testing at the company’s chemistry lab facilities in Andover, Massachusetts.

Cover Image: Batteries taken from Renault Kangoo electric vehicles found their second life at this project in Belgium, delivered by UK second life battery storage specialist Connected Energy for Umicore. Image: Connected Energy. 

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