Although the growth in renewables has led to the shutdown of many gas- and coal-fired power plants, power producers believe their plants will still be needed to provide backup capacity. Coal-fired power plants have been the backbone of US (and European) electricity production for decades, but 25% of them will be retired by the end of this decade. His company just commissioned a study, entitled Guide to procurement of flexible peaking capacity: energy storage or combustion turbines?, that predicts battery storage will take over many of the functions currently performed by peaker plants. Lyon’s report mentions California’s adoption of large amounts of renewable energy, which would require an additional 4,600 MW of capacity. Using a 30 MW wind farm as an example, he said generation doesn’t usually “just drop to 20 MW. Can battery storage shave off enough peak demand so that utilities no longer have to buy peaker plants that are only needed a few times a year? If everything was working in concert, utilities could shut down their “chillers” [cooling systems] when there is a peak. It is difficult to give a rough figure for the amount of energy companies can save using battery storage to shave peak demand. All graphs taken from Guide to procurement of flexible peaking capacity: energy storage or combustion turbines? This story makes sense for an area like California where there exists a (year around) summer early afternoon peak in supply from PV followed by a (year around) demand peak a few hours later in the early evening.
In winter peaking countries without much need for chillers in the summer like Germany, batteries will not solve the mismatch problem.
Karen Sund on New study: Nord Stream 2 will benefit security of gas supply in EuropeRok Pernus on Toyota vs. With the increasing incentives for self-consumption of solar power, SolarEdge is presenting its new power storage solution StorEdge™. Great progress is being made with more compact, cost effective and efficient battery storage systems. To many solar old-timers, the battery storage industry resembles the rooftop solar industry about 15 years ago.
Australia’s biggest energy utility, AGL Energy, says battery storage is already an “interesting” proposition for consumers, and it expects radical changes in the home energy market in coming years. AGL Energy has created a new division, called New Energy, to manage its move into these technologies. But it is Fraser’ comments about the state of battery storage technology that will most interest the market. Fraser, however, says it will be like any other change the company has faced over the last 180 years – from the introdution of gas lights, light bulbs, and the arrival of gas and large scale coal generation and renewables. Fraser added that AGL Energy had already been in discussions with suppliers about battery storage and digital meters technology.

The comments by Fraser came in response to questions from RenewEconomy on a telephone press conference in conjunction with the company’s results. These results showed that average household consumption continues to fall substantially, largely as a result of energy efficient appliances, and the penetration of rooftop solar.
Still, despite the lower consumption, AGL Energy managed to extract ore profits from its retail division, courtesy of “margin management”, which translates into higher prices. So you are still beholden to a contract whereby thr retailer makes all the rules, and gets (all) the profit.
Agree with you 100% – the retailers wont give up their stranglehold on our wallets easily. Interesting enough that Elon Musk has now said that Tesla will start building battery packs for homes & businesses within 6 months. But grid storage batteries are becoming increasingly competitive with ‘peaker plants’, says Paul Siblerud of US storage company ViZn Energy Systems in an interview with Roy L.
They already outperform conventional plants in several areas, but need to be more competitively priced. By 2017, they expect the cost of their 4-hour battery storage unit to be roughly competitive with mid-ranged combustion turbines. He writes that the “limited speed” of fossil fuel powered plants is “less suitable for … stabilizing distribution circuits negatively impacted by high penetration solar PV.
It’s pretty messy on its way down and vice versa on its way up.” There are usually peaker plants idling for occasions like this and they can usually ramp up in 3 to 5 minutes. They typically cannot discharge as deeply as flow batteries or be charged up and down 3 or 4 times a day, however, and they require thermal controls and protection.
Depending on their individual circumstances, he has seen it range anywhere from 10% to 60%.
The StorEdge™ solution leverages the SolarEdge optimization technology that allows homeowners to increase energy harvesting and enables them to store the PV power locally and consume it according to their own energy usage needs throughout the day, regardless of PV power production times.
These systems use lithium ion batteries because they are lighter (wall-mountable) and capable of many more charge-discharge cycles. The demand is apparent, the technology is rapidly improving, costs are coming down and incentives are in place to help jump-start adoption. As RenewEconomy has reported, AGL Energy is planning a major new push into the rooftop solar market, along with digital meters, battery storage and home management systems.
Many downplay exactly how close battery storage technology is to becoming commercially viable in the consumer market.
Others suggest that Australia’s huge network tariff costs, as revealed again today by a new report by Carbon Market Economics, means storage will be a no-brainer and a major challenge for incumbent utilities. See RenewEconomy’s articles on the big push by retailers into the home energy market, in an attempt to regain lost ground in the rooftop solar sector.

Average consumption per customer fell another 4.4 per cent in the latest period, extending a decline lasting more than 5 years. These will be offered on some very attractive basis to customers who wish to receive a battery system from the likes of AGL. Sure you can have as much solar and battery as you want from AGL – as long as you lock yourself in to pay (and pay) to achieve their profit goals.
The early adopters will no doubt get belted, however competition will drive the value of offerings. Others will make way for a disruptive technology that can “switch from charging to discharging in less than 1 second” and has a “significantly higher capacity use factor.” Paul Siblerud, VP Marketing at ViZn Energy Systems, explains where battery storage will provide most peaking capacity in the future. Battery storage is currently more expensive than peaker plants, though it is also faster, environmentally sustainable, and more efficient for certain applications. Although still more expensive than lead acid batteries, volume manufacturing for the electric vehicle industry is spurring significant price reductions. If they can work out a retrofit, they have a community of people they are already in a relationship with. In addition the mass production of storage batteries by Tesla and Mitsubishi etc, will drive the tech development. In addition to new battery technology, these home storage systems also employ advanced electronics and software control systems to further reduce costs and increase functionality. So, is there a co-gen or CHP method to use domestic gas, fuel-cell and either hot water generation or reverse-cycle which becomes their triple-play? All the numbers will have been crunched so that AGL see 95% surety of fixed revenue from all these customers – for years to come! There will be a great opportunity for consumer advisory services to steer buyers around the pitfalls, especially when the cost and investment will still be significant. I already have a boat set up on solar and storage and my current residence is also ready to go, with LED’s, solar hotwater etc, but I missed the good PV FIT.
If that battery just sits there charged through a seven day period, you’re going to have losses on the system. Once a reasonable deal for PV + storage comes along I will be running the slide rule over it.
A major benefit of flow batteries is that there is no material loss if you are running a punishing duty cycle or deep discharging all the way down to a zero state of charge.
A flow battery can run at full-power for 3 to 4 hours or nominal power for 8 hours or more.

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