In recent posts, we have discussed how Order 841 issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) on February 15, 2018 is expected to create new opportunities for the expansion of grid-scale (“in front of the meter”) energy storage. Order 841 is intended to encourage deployment of energy storage by addressing participation of energy storage resources in wholesale electricity markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTOs”) and Independent System Operators (“ISOs”).
By Kevin Fink
On July 18, 2018, the U.S. Congress House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing to assess the progress being made by federal and state governments to promote the role of energy storage in the U.S. electrical system. A panel of five witnesses – an executive from the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”); a partner at an energy and environmental economic consulting firm; and executives from E.ON, Fluence Energy, and Duke Energy – were present to testify and answer questions of the legislators.
By Kevin Fink
Sullivan & Worcester counsel recently participated in the “Grid Scale Energy Storage Summit,” part of the expansive Hydrovision International conference held at the end of June in Charlotte, North Carolina. For the first time on an international scale, the Summit brought together both energy storage and hydropower experts from around the world for the purpose of debating, among other things, the future role of hydropower in the mix of energy storage options.
OVERVIEWThe United States has produced clean, renewable electricity from hydropower for more than 100 years. Today there are approximately 2,500 domestic dams and pumped-storage facilities that provide roughly 100 gigawatts (“GW”) of electricity. In addition, there are more than 80,000 non-powered dams, i.e., existing structures that could produce power, with the potential capacity of 12 GW. New England’s non-powered dams potential capacity is 243 mega watts (“MW”). Many of the 80,000 non-powered dams could be converted to produce hydropower at relatively low cost and within a relatively short timeframe. See U.S. Department of Energy, An Assessment of Energy Potential at Non-Powered Dams in the United States (2012).
Co-authors Emma Spath and Morgan M. Gerard
New Jersey is poised to become a national leader in renewable energy by virtue of pending legislation that would substantially decrease the Garden State’s greenhouse-gas emissions through an ambitious Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS). An RPS is a regulatory mandate that requires utility companies to obtain a certain percentage of the energy they sell from renewable sources such as wind and solar, or purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) from qualifying energy sources. Recently passed by the State Senate, a new bill would require utilities to source 80 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2050. If the General Assembly passes the bill and it survives the pen of Governor Christie, utilities must procure 11 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2017, with an increase every five years of approximately 10 percent until the 80 percent threshold is reached in 2050.
Co-author Emma Spath
In the midst of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011, electric vehicle (EV) batteries were used in an unusual and innovative way—as energy storage. The earthquake caused a plant shutdown, but the following Tsunami waters damaged the back-up diesel generators responsible for cooling the plant’s systems. Many do not realize that as the situation in the nuclear reactors became increasingly dire and with no ability to generate power onsite, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) brought in fully-charged EV batteries to supply electricity, restart the pumps, and reestablish steady water circulation for cooling. Fukushima demonstrated to the world that EV batteries can not only be used for transportation, but also as mobile power sources able to resupply the power grid.
The Mid-Atlantic region (Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and the District of Columbia) is currently at the forefront of discussions regarding the next generation of distributed electricity markets. Notable developments pushing the region into the spotlight recently include M&A activity, creativity on the part of public service commissions, local innovations in PACE finance, and increasing flexibility on the part of local utilities.
Topics: Water Energy Nexus, Utilities, Water, Carbon Emissions, Energy Security, Thermal Generation, Energy Policy, M&A, Structured Transactions & Tax, Energy Storage, Energy Efficiency, Power Generation, Microgrid, Energy Finance, Distributed Energy, Energy Management, Solar Energy, Renewable Energy, Wind, Oil & Gas
Topics: Utilities, Energy Policy, Structured Transactions & Tax, Energy Storage, Energy Efficiency, Microgrid, Energy Finance, Distributed Energy, Energy Management, Solar Energy, Renewable Energy, Public/Private Partnership, Wind
Source: Tesla Motors
Last week, Elon Musk announced Tesla’s new battery system, the first of its kind for solar power. Musk presented the sleek looking, wall-mounted Powerwall as an affordable alternative to the battery rooms currently on the market, which are often criticized as expensive, odorous, clunky and unreliable.
Since then, the Internet has gone into a frenzy, with some critics prophesizing the end of nuclear energy and others heralding Tesla’s solution as the Holy Grail that will negate our dependence on fossil fuels. There’s a lot of conflicting information about the Tesla battery, its usability and viability, but the orders to date (worth $800 million in potential revenue) would suggest that at least a few people are excited about the latest innovation from the renewables giant.
According to the EDF, there is enough solar energy potential in Texas to power the world twice over, and yet with approximately 57,000 home using solar power we rank 10th in the nation. What does Tesla’s latest venture mean for consumers here, and the solar industry at large? As a consumer interested in solar power as an alternative to fossil fuels, what are your options?
Priced at $3,500, Tesla’s battery holds 10kWhs of electric energy and will deliver approximately 2kWhs of continuous power. For homeowners, there are two offerings currently available: the smaller 7kWh system can be charged on a daily basis, and a 10 kWh system designed for weekly recharging.
Let’s look at each of these options individually. Firstly, the smaller system. In Texas, most solar systems allow for grid use to bridge the gap between the renewable energy supply and peak household demand (e.g. at night or when the sun is not shining). The cost of this grid electricity will be lower than the power produced from the Powerwall. Therefore, the economics of the smaller Tesla system are not yet that attractive, and we would only recommend this system if you are truly looking to go completely off-grid.
For people interested in the batteries in terms of energy security, the larger 10 kWh batteries is a better choice. Designed as a backup for when the grid goes down, they do offer a more cost effective alternative for households during outages. This is a more appealing option for homes with many connected devices or small businesses that need constant power. However, multiple batteries would need to be purchased to power an average household for a night so the price point would be considerably higher than $3,500 with a larger installation.
While Tesla’s solution still has a ways to go in terms of economic and power efficiency, the company’s bold move into home energy batteries will no doubt spark innovation from a number of competitors. Innovation fosters innovation and while Tesla’s solution isn’t quite ready for mass-market adoption just yet, it may just be the catalyst that spurs the market to act.
Thanks to our guest author, Graeme Walker, and Alba Energy for allowing the Energy Finance Report to republish their article. For more information on Alba Energy please visit their website or LinkedIn.