'Largest ever' US energy storage system takes shape

'Largest ever' US energy storage system takes shape

Energy storage specialist Alevo Group has announced plans to deliver the largest U.S. energy storage deployment to date, after signing a deal to provide 200MW of capacity.

The company, which emerged from stealth mode last autumn with news that it had raised around $1 billion to support the development of its advanced battery technology, revealed that it has signed a deal with energy services firm Customized Energy Solutions (CES).

The joint operational agreement will see the two companies work together to provide 200MW of grid frequency regulation services to the wholesale power market through Alevo's GridBank energy storage systems. These are 2MW capacity batteries stored in shipping containers.

Alevo said that the deal will allow CES to provide energy storage-based frequency regulation services to its customer base in the U.S. and Canada, and "represents the largest ever energy storage deployment in the U.S."

Growing to fit the grid

"This is a critical juncture in the integration of battery storage into the market, transitioning from pilot projects to grid-scale commercially viable installations," explained Judith Judson, director of emerging technologies at CES, in a statement.

"Storage can provide huge value across the electric grid in terms of increased efficiency and reduced costs, but the challenge has been monetizing the benefits. Alevo is a forward-thinking company with an exciting new battery chemistry and aggressive growth goals."

Alevo predicts that a combination of falling battery costs, new U.S. regulations governing grid management, utilities' desire to reduce peak energy demands and the need to capture power from renewables for use at optimum times, means that demand for energy storage technologies will expand rapidly.

The company is planning to produce 480 GridBank units at a new factory in Concord, N.C., as it seeks to exploit an innovative battery design featuring lithium-iron-phosphate, graphite and an inorganic electrolyte that creates much less friction when electrons move through it, leading to longer lasting batteries.

Jostein Eikeland, chief executive of Alevo, said that the latest deal underlined the huge potential for energy storage technologies. "The major expansion of projects deployed in Independent Systems Operator [ISO] markets continues to prove the benefits and commercial applications for readiness of energy storage," he said.

"Our operational agreement with CES is a milestone for Alevo and testament to the proven performance attributes of our battery technology, which offers a superior value proposition for grid applications.

"The longevity and performance characteristics of the technology allow us to deploy projects in multiple ISO markets that earlier technologies have not been able to profitably address."

North Carolina is renewing itself

The announcement came as the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) published a report (PDF) highlighting the state's emergence as one of the leading clean tech hubs in the U.S.

The report details how North Carolina has experienced about 15 percent annual increases in revenue generated by clean energy activities since 2012, reaching $4.8 billion in 2014. It also reveals how the state's 1,200 clean tech firms now employ nearly 23,000 people.

"This year's census not only reveals good news for the clean energy industry; it demonstrates powerful news for all of North Carolina," said NCSEA executive director Ivan Urlaub. "Consider the rise of clean energy business sectors like building efficiency and energy storage, which are creating immediate jobs and lowering business expenses, while preparing our state to affordably meet future energy demand.

Source: GreenBiz

SMART GRID Bulletin June 2017


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