Energy Storage, Go Big or Go Home!
- Mar 13, 2021 5:03 am GMT
“The energy transition is too important to leave to chance…” said EnergyAustralia’s Managing Director, Catherine Tanna. The privately owned company is one of many switching to battery energy storage systems (BESS). Vistra Energy has a brand new 300 megawatt plant in California. The Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility is estimated to grow to 400 megawatts. The power company has signed contracts with California investor-owned utility, PG&E, to help maintain stable, ample and reliable electricity for customers. Despite the name and location, this plant should not be confused with the battery energy storage project by PG&E called Moss Landing BESS. That system is being built at the site of the utility’s Moss Landing substation. PG&E’s project is currently under construction using Tesla Energy battery storage system equipment. It will also be among the world’s biggest battery storage projects when completed, at 182.5MW / 730MWh. In Texas, prior to the freeze, several energy storage projects were under development. Just south of Houston, Gambit Energy Storage LLC., a subsidiary of Tesla, has been building an enormous battery. Tesla plans to help add power to the crippled grid with a 100 megawatt battery being constructed in Angleton, Texas. Key Capture Energy is also working on a 100 megawatt battery storage project in Travis County and last fall, Astral Electricity started construction on a 100 megawatt battery energy storage plant near Fort Worth called the Chisholm Grid. It is scheduled to be complete by June, putting it on track with Tesla’s timeline.
While EnergyAustralia is not unique in their shift to energy storage, their method is quite interesting. If all goes according to plan, they could set a precedent for industry leaders making the switch to clean energy. The company hopes to demonstrate that coal plants can be retired in a way that supports the community, staff and customers without interfering with service and reliability. “Our $10 million support package, coupled with seven years’ advance notice, means our power station and mine site people will have time to plan, reskill or retrain,” Tanna explained. The plans are praiseworthy to say the least and I, for one, am eager to see the results upon completion. When speaking about Australia and getting results, we have to mention the 100MW Hornsdale Power Reserve energy system installed in 2016 by Tesla in connection with the South Australian Government and windfarm owner, Neoen. Setting aside who was first or which facility touts ‘world’s largest,’ the goal to stabilize the grid during unexpected events and reduce electricity prices has been achieved and is, no doubt, the catalyst for current and future projects around the world. “If you look at what’s going on in storage, in about 10 years, 2030, the battery industry will grow about 10 times bigger,” Yi Cui, the director of Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy, predicted at the high-profile energy industry event. “That’s reaching somewhere about 2 terawatt-hours of the battery capacities,” he added. “It’s gigantic.” The energy storage industry is gigantic and it is shattering records for battery deployments. In the last three months of 2020, 2.2 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy storage systems were put into operation, according to the energy data firm Wood Mackenzie. That’s an increase of 182% from the previous record-setting quarter.
“This is the hallmark of a market beginning to accelerate exponentially, and momentum will only increase over the coming years,” stated Dan Finn-Foley, Wood Mackenzie’s head of energy storage. With so many private companies investing in storage, how will utilities compete? What other projects are utilities developing to support the rapidly, growing shift to energy storage?
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