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Round up: Bavarian grid battery, Utility invests in Greensmith, Moixa extends crowdfunder

Bavarian local grid trials flow battery to integrate renewables

2 September 2016: Energy storage developer Younicos has partnered with Bavarian distribution grid operator LEW Distribution, Reiner Lemoine Institute and SMA Solar Technology to investigate using batteries at low level voltage to alleviate congestion on local grids, particularly for integrating renewables.

The “Smart PowerFlow” project will involve researching how to use battery storage to avoid the need for regional network expansion as a result of taking on intermittent energy from solar PV plants.

The partners have now also unveiled a 200kW / 400 kWh vanadium redox flow battery, which is the biggest battery in Bavaria as part of the project. The battery supports local voltage control, so that future network expansion costs are minimized while the capacity of the distribution network to integrate renewable energy is also maximized.

The partners plan to demonstrate that battery systems can be an economic means of reinforcing grids. To do this they want to test some control modes and evaluate the possibilities for creating revenue streams from applications including voltage control, frequency control, reactive power management and participation in the frequency regulation market.

Clemens Triebel, co-founder of Younicos, said: "We are delighted to show how versatile intelligent battery storage can be used at the distribution grid level. Like our already commercially operating battery power parks on the transmission network level, locally installed intelligent batteries also enable us to use more renewable energy."

In April, Younicos announced that batteries by Leclanché would be used for an energy storage project also aimed at enabling the grid integration of 1MW of solar and 4.5MW of wind on the Portuguese island of Graciosa. Younicos is also involved in "The Big Battery", a large scale demonstration project in the UK.

Utility American Electric Power joins Greensmith's US$12.3 million funding round

1 September 2015: Energy storage control system provider Greensmith, has completed US$12.3 million of financing in its Series C round, which was led with a US$5 million investment from US-based utility American Electric Power (AEP).

AEP will now have access to Greensmith’s energy storage software platform, known as GEMS, to help determine the best options for grid-scale energy storage deployment.

Analysts and industry figures have noted that software is likely to become an increasingly important part of the energy storage industry, which is also likely to see increased competition, with Sharp Electronics recently announcing it will add software modelling the performance of energy storage systems to its commercial storage offering.

AEP’s investment also marks another utility recognising the necessity to adapt its business model in order to accommodate more distributed resources, such as solar, wind, and energy storage.

For example, back in May, US utility Duke Energy teamed up with Greensmith and battery provider LG Chem to build a 2MW lithium-ion battery-based energy storage system in Ohio.

Ravi Manghani, senior energy storage analyst at GTM Research, told PV Tech Storage: “AEP's investment in Greensmith is part of a growing trend of utilities investing in distributed energy resource technologies, including storage. AEP is not new to storage, it has deployed MW scale systems almost a decade ago, and some community energy storage (CES) systems.”

John Jung, chief executive of Greensmith, said: "AEP's strategic investment in Greensmith provides our company with a significant competitive advantage in the energy storage market -- access to the knowledge base of a forward-thinking utility with almost 32,000MW of generating capacity and a 40,000-mile transmission network.”

Nicholas K. Akins, AEP's chairman, president and chief executive, said: "Grid-scale energy storage provides significant opportunities to optimize the performance of the grid and also to support additional integration of new generation resources including renewables and distributed generation. Greensmith has successfully deployed dozens of integrated, grid-scale energy storage solutions for utilities and companies.”

UK residential system maker Moixa misses crowdfunding target, extends period

2 September 2015: UK-based residential energy storage firm Moixa Energy Holdings, has extended the investment period for its latest crowdfunder by 12 days after missing its target of £875,000, with just more than £200,000 raised at present.

Moixa is expanding its core team with senior industry executives from energy efficiency, utilities and finance sectors and plans to use the investment to accelerate its commercial activity and take hold of global storage market and energy finance opportunities. 

The fund-raising also forms the next stage of Moixa’s growth plan, which targets more than £250 million in sales of its flagship MASLOW energy storage systems for homes and offices. The growth plan also targets £1 billion in utility-related revenues by 2020. 

Moixa is aggregating storage in UK households in a trial programme for the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), in which 250 systems, totalling around 0.5MWh of storage, are being deployed across houses and some community buildings and businesses.

The pilot project aims to demonstrate residential peak shifting, solar self-consumption and back-up, alongside aggregate storage as service for network and grid benefits.

Since its formation in 2006, Moixa has had £1.29 million of investment and raised £5.1 million in revenue.

Younicos are partnering on a project to help integrate renewbles into the Bavarian grid. Credit: Younicos

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