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Ever since Energy-Storage.news began life as a humble offshoot of the respected and much-loved PV Tech site – when we were known as PV Tech Storage – we’ve published Editor’s Blogs and Guest Blogs alongside our quality news output.

We’ve been able to bring you opinions and analysis from expert voices and industry players for all of those past six years or so. Here’s the top-ranking blogs from 2020 based on page views: of course, you can also browse at your leisure and see these and all of the other blogs dating all the way back to the beginning of 2015 on the website. Click the headline to read the article.

1. ‘We think we’ve found the answer’: The ‘Supercell’ that could bring safe energy storage to New York

Editor’s Blog – 21 December 2020

Author: Andy Colthorpe, editor, Energy-Storage.news (from an interview with Alan Ettlinger, NYPA and Christina Lampe-Onnerud, Cadenza Innovation)

Despite only being published a few days ago, this interview with Alan Ettlinger, director of R&D at the New York Power Authority and Christina Lampe-Onnerud, CEO of Cadenza Innovation, rocketed into first place for most-read blog of the year. NYPA – a public-benefit corporation which serves around 25% of the state’s electric load – began trialling an energy storage system using lithium batteries based around start-up Cadenza Innovation’s ’Supercell’ architecture in early December. Wrapping individual cells into a protective housing, the technology is a low-cost way to prevent thermal runaway from cascading through a battery rack and causing fires. 

2. Batteries built to last: Half the cost or twice the life?

Guest Blog – 16 December 2020

Author: Dr Amrit Chandan, CEO, Aceleron Energy

Another blog that came very late in the year and leapfrogged up the most-read rankings. Dr Amrit Chandan, CEO of UK-headquartered Aceleron Energy discusses what it means to build a circular economy around advanced lithium-ion batteries, designed with longer lifetimes and their repurposing for second-life use in mind. 

“The race to the bottom might produce the lowest cost batteries, but it does little to prolong their lifespan, which can be as short as three years. And while the cost of batteries is decreasing, they are still expensive to buy outright and are usually designed to be replaced. They are either welded or glued together – which is about as useful as welding a car bonnet shut.”

3. Behind the numbers: The rapidly falling LCOE of battery storage

Editor’s Blog – 6 May 2020

Author: Andy Colthorpe, editor, Energy-Storage.news (from an interview with BloombergNEF analyst Tifenn Brandily)

Analysis from BloombergNEF (BNEF) earlier this year highlighted that for applications requiring two hours of energy, batteries are beating gas peaker plants. While the 2019 LCOE benchmark for lithium-ion battery storage hit US$187 per megawatt-hour (MWh) already threatening coal and gas and representing a fall of 76% since 2012, by the first quarter of this year, the figure had dropped even further and now stands at US$150 per megawatt-hour for battery storage with four hours’ discharge duration. Andy Colthorpe spoke to Tifenn Brandily, BNEF’s lead author of the LCOE report.

4. Experts react to Tesla Battery Day: The key technology takeaways

Editor’s Blog – 30 September 2020

Author: Andy Colthorpe, editor, Energy-Storage.news

No surprises that Tesla Battery Day – arguably the biggest event in battery storage as far as mainstream audiences were concerned in 2020 – yielded coverage that proved popular with our readers too. The three pieces we published in reaction or reporting from CEO Elon Musk and Tesla SVP of powertrain and energy engineering Drew Baglino's onstage 'science lesson' all had high readership figures, but this one placed highest. With the help of several industry experts, we took a closer look at the technology, manufacturing techniques and value chain improvements Musk and Baglino were touting. 

5. Battery storage at US$20/MWh? Breaking down low-cost solar-plus-storage PPAs in the USA

Guest Blog – 23 March 2020

Authors: Florian Mayr, partner, Hannes Beushausen, principal and Oliver Schmidt, senior consultant, at Apricum – The Cleantech Advisory

In this article, experts at consultancy Apricum examine with some simple “reverse engineering” how recent low solar-plus-storage PPAs in the USA were achieved, yet another example of the competitiveness of energy storage and new market opportunities emerging via storage-plus-renewables projects. 

“Over the past few years, a series of renewables-plus-storage projects announced across the USA created headlines and raised eyebrows due to the extremely low combined PPAs involved. Starting in 2015 with a US$139 /MWh PPA signed by KIUC of Hawaii, we then saw the next landmark reached in 2017 with a US$45 /MWh agreement by Tucson Electric Power of Arizona – only to be surpassed last year by the US$40 /MWh Eland PV-plus-storage project in California.”

6. Batteries and hydrogen in Germany: Comparing crucial components for a modern energy system

Guest Blog – 30 November 2020

Authors: Matthias Simolka, consultant, Madjid Kübler, managing director, Jens Völler, head of business unit – gas, at TeamCONSULT

In a year in which the potential of green hydrogen seemed to be rarely out of the headlines in both trade publications and mainstream media, experts from Germany-based TeamCONSULT took a look at the roles each plays today and where we might see the dynamics go from here, with regard to everything from large-scale renewables integration to electric transport. 

7. The long-awaited IEEE standard that paves the way for more energy storage on a smarter grid

Guest Blog – 10 August 2020

Author: Brian Lydic, chief regulator engineer, Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)

A newly released standard – IEEE 1547.1-2020 – creates nationally applicable guidance for distributed energy resource (DER) manufacturers on how grid support functions in their products will be tested. This paves the way for U.S. states to adopt more modern interconnection requirements for DERs on the grid, contributing to the grid modernisation that will be needed to support high levels of renewable energy and energy storage.

8. Three ways we could improve lithium-ion batteries 

Guest Blog – 25 May 2020

Author: Marcos Ierides, innovation consultant, BAX & Company 

While the performance of lithium batteries has increased tremendously, there's still room for improvement to lower cost, increase sustainability and maximise their impact on decarbonisation, wrote Marcos Ierides, consultant and materials expert at innovation consultancy Bax & Company.

9. Tesla Battery Day: Bigger form factor cells, massive cost reductions and elimination of cobalt use

Editor’s Blog – 23 September 2020

Author: Andy Colthorpe, editor, Energy-Storage.news

Tesla hosted its Battery Day in late September in California before a socially-distanced audience all sat in various electric cars from the company’s range and revealed its ambitious plans for more than halving the cost of battery production. This was our report of the day's announcements: entry number 4 above gives you the reactions of various industry experts to the news from a technologiy perspective, while you can also read expert views on the high-level strategies in the third and final instalment of our blog coverage of the event in Experts react to Tesla Battery Day: Highlights, hype and honking horns.

10. What is Dynamic Containment and what does it mean for battery energy storage in the UK?

Guest Blog – 14 September 2020

Author: Alex Done, lead data scientist and market analyst, Modo Energy

Alex Done, lead data scientist and market analyst for energy transition specialists Modo Energy explained the newest ancillary services opportunity to open up on the UK grid, why network provider National Grid decided to launch it and what might lie ahead for electricity network services and grid balancing as the transition to low carbon energy sources speeds up. 

Cover Image: 8minute Solar Energy's Eland Solar & Storage Center, 70 miles north of Los Angeles, on track for completion in 2023 and the subject of a fascinating blog in March from Apricum into why the project's power purchase agreement (PPA) came in at such a low price. Image: 8minute Solar Energy.  

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