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Mitsubishi Power working with US utility Entergy on hydrogen, batteries and nuclear-plus-storage

By Andy Colthorpe
M501JAC hydrogen-enabled gas turbine from Mitsubishi Power. Image: Mitsubishi Power.

Update 24 September 2020: A few hours after the publication of this story, Entergy made public a new pledge to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2050. The company said that while it commits to this goal it will remain committed to “grid reliability and affordability for customers”. 

Entergy said this will involve ongoing efforts to integrate renewable energy and energy storage on its networks, as well as “innovative applications of conventional generation,” continuing investment in existing nuclear fleets, in more modern and efficient gas power plants, while retiring coal assets and older natural gas power stations. In addition to working with customers and partners on its goals, the company said it will keep looking also at emerging technologies including green hydrogen and carbon capture. It is also seeking to find ways to achieve 'sector coupling', working to reduce emissions across transport networks and industry as well as in energy and power.

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Mitsubishi Power has signed a joint development agreement to focus on decarbonising technologies with Entergy, a US integrated energy and utility company serving just under three million customers across four US states.

Mitsubishi Power Americas, part of the power generation, energy storage and digital solutions group belonging to Japan-headquartered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries recently launched a simplified and standardised offering for commercially integrated hydrogen at large-scale into energy systems.

That, alongside a “demonstrated ability to provide innovative total solutions leveraging multiple technologies to reach decarbonisation goals” was apparently a big factor in Entergy selecting Mitsubishi Power to focus on areas including green hydrogen from renewables, utility-scale battery storage system development, nuclear-supplied electrolysis facilities with energy storage and hydrogen-capable gas turbine combined cycle gas facilities.

Entergy has a utility business that serves 2.9 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and is targeting the reduction by 2030 of its carbon dioxide emissions rate to half of what it was in the year 2000. It was also the first utility in the US to commit to a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in 2001.

In late April, Entergy’s Arkansas subsidiary won approval from regulators to go ahead with a 100MW solar project with 10MW / 30MWh of battery storage. NextEra Resources is contracted to build that plant.

“We have pledged to conduct our business in a manner that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable that will benefit all our stakeholders,” Entergy executive VP and chief operating officer Paul Hinnenkamp said.

“New technologies and innovative solutions to the challenges posed by climate change present opportunities for us to significantly decrease carbon emissions from our generation portfolio while maintaining low rates.”

In addition to its recent launch of the standardised hydrogen integration offering, Mitsubishi Power in August was revealed as engineering, construction and procurement (EPC) and technology partner to three battery energy storage projects totalling 200MW under development in Texas by Key Capture Energy, using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery storage systems supplied by Powin Energy. Incidentally, Mitsubishi Power was until the middle of this year known as Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, but the name changed on transfer of all stock in the company held by tech company Hitachi over to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

“In recent years we have supported Entergy on three large power projects that the utility executed on schedule and on budget as part of a multi-year project to modernise the power generation fleet and voluntarily reduce carbon emissions,” Mitsubishi Power America president and CEO Paul Browning said.

“Now, we’re proud to work with Entergy on the next phase of decarbonisation,” Browning continued, adding that Mitsubishi Power’s mission is: “to provide power generation and storage solutions to our customers that enable them to affordably and reliably combat climate change and advance human prosperity.”

Entergy Arkansas and NextEra Resources representatives celebrate the switch-on of a 81MW solar farm a couple of years ago. Image: Entergy Arkansas.

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