The Energy Storage Report 2024

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ROUNDUP: Key Capture Energy CEO, Energy Vault BESS evaluated, Dominion Virginia project online

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News in brief from around the world in energy storage, with Key Capture Energy, Energy Vault and Dominion Energy Virginia.

Key Capture Energy names new CEO

The new incoming chief executive officer (CEO) at US battery storage developer Key Capture Energy has been named, as co-founding CEO Jeff Bishop looks to step down.

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Key Capture Energy (KCE) announced in August that a search was on for a successor as Bishop looked to move on after seven-and-a-half years leading the company, with the present chief exec to stay on until an appointment was made.

The company yesterday (7 December) named Brian Hayes as the company’s new leader. Hayes’ most recent role is as executive VP of asset operations & transmission at EDP Renewables, managing more than 9,000MW of clean energy projects. Hayes steps into his role on 8 January 2024.

KCE develops grid-scale energy storage projects to own and operate, with most of its operational portfolio in Texas’ ERCOT market and a smaller number in New York. Founded in 2016 by Bishop with chief operating officer Dan Fitzgerald, the company was acquired by SK E&S, an energy subsidiary of South Korean technology and engineering conglomerate SK, in 2021.  

Energy-Storage.news spoke recently with outgoing CEO Jeff Bishop about the introduction of a 2,500MW energy storage deployment target in the US state of Michigan and how it represented the start of a broadening market opportunity for storage in the US Midwest.

Energy Vault gets bankability report for BESS product

Energy storage tech startup Energy Vault has received a bankability report on its battery energy storage system (BESS) solution B-VAULT, from certification and standards group DNV.

The company is perhaps best known for a novel gravity-based energy storage technology based on lifting and lowering massive composite blocks of a concrete-type material within a giant metal frame. However, while it has one large-scale gravity storage project in China nearing the end of construction, Energy Vault has turned to also delivering lithium-ion (Li-ion) BESS projects, as a system integrator.

That strategy appears to be paying off, bolstering Energy Vault’s financial results and giving it revenue streams – and perhaps access to prospective future customers – that other companies seeking to commercialise non-lithium energy storage technologies may not have.

DNV conducted a six month evaluation of B-VAULT, finding it to meet industry expectations on performance, safety and reliability. The technical review created will be useful to financiers of projects and customers, Energy Vault said.

The product can be integrated with battery cells of multiple different chemistries and capacities from a range of suppliers, has liquid cooling for battery racks and air-conditioning for temperature control in the enclosure and safety features designed to eliminate single point of failure.

Energy Vault also claims B-VAULT is unique in featuring DC-coupling options with an external inverter and AC-coupling with a modular inverter inside the BESS enclosure, making it readily configurable to both DC and AC applications, which was acknowledged in the DNV report.

Dominion Energy brings online company’s biggest BESS

US power company Dominion Energy has brought online a 20MW/80MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) project in Virginia.

The largest BESS in Dominion’s portfolio to date, the Dry Bridge project is located in Virginia’s Chesterfield County. It was bought from developer East Point Energy and was procured following a Dominion clean energy Request for Proposals (RFP) held in 2020.

In 2021, when the utility included Dry Bridge in plans put forward to Virginia regulators, its scheduled online date was in 2022. Dry Bridge was the only standalone energy storage project proposed in Dominion’s 2021 plan.

The only other project that included energy storage in that proposal was for a combined solar-plus-storage project at Dulles International Airport, pairing 100MW of solar PV with 50MW of battery storage. Construction began on that project in August, as reported by Energy-Storage.news.

Dominion, which operates in a number of southern and eastern US states, has a big responsibility and imperative to rapidly scale-up its storage activities in Virginia: the state has a policy target for 3.1GW of energy storage by 2035, and with Dominion Energy Virginia one of the biggest utilities present, it has been tasked with delivering 2,700MW of that total.

So far it has only delivered 16MW of energy storage pilot projects as well as another project acquired from East Point Energy and the newest 20MW addition in Dry Bridge.

Dominion is also piloting the deployment at smaller scale of three non-lithium technologies designed for long-duration energy storage (LDES) applications, iron-air batteries from Form Energy, zinc hybrid cathode batteries from Eos Energy Enterprises, and nickel-hydrogen batteries from Enervenue. All three are US-based companies developing domestic manufacturing capabilities.

Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 6th Energy Storage Summit USA, 19-20 March 2024 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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