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100 MW of solar and 10 MW of battery storage coming to San José CCA in 2022

This week, San José’s Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) which is called San José Clean Energy (SJCE) and EDP Renewables SA (EDPR), through its fully owned subsidiary EDP Renewables North America LLC (EDPR NA), signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for 100 MW of new solar energy capacity and 10 MW of battery storage at the Sonrisa Solar Park in Fresno County, California. The project is anticipated to be operational in 2022.

The PPA is the first of many SJCE expects to sign to meet customer demand for renewable energy, which will total 2,000 GWh annually by 2022, according to the CCA. SJCE serves more than 328,000 residential and business customers and has a high participation rate (98.6%).

Through Community Choice, local governments like the City of San José buy electricity from cleaner sources, while the investor-owned utility (PG&E, for San José) continues to deliver the electricity over their transmission and distribution infrastructure.

The Sonrisa Solar Park will be EDPR’s first North American project to include both solar energy and battery storage. The project will bring economic benefits to the state by way of jobs, landowner and tax payments, and money spent in local communities, said EDPR.

“Today’s investment will bring us another step closer towards meeting the aggressive emission reduction targets defined in our Climate Smart San José plan and securing a sustainable future for our community,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo

“A long-term PPA produces power at a lower price than short-term contracts, so SJCE will see our operational costs decrease,” said Lori Mitchell, Community Energy Department Director. “Because SJCE is a government agency, these savings will be reinvested into our community through lower rates and community programs – instead of going to shareholders. This agreement is a win for the environment, a win for our ratepayers, and a win for San José.”

“Energy storage plays an important role in creating a more flexible and reliable grid system, and as storage technology progresses, EDPR will continue to pursue the inclusion of storage at additional projects within our portfolio,” said Miguel Prado, EDP Renewables North America CEO.

SJCE joins another local CCA East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) in purchasing energy from EDPR’s Sonrisa Solar Park, as announced on June 20, 2019. EDPR’s agreements with SJCE and EBCE will enable 200 MW of solar and 40 MW of storage to be constructed at the project. Collaborating on power purchase agreements creates planning and economic efficiencies. CCAs are driving California’s clean energy future: in total, the CPUC projects that CCAs will contract for more than 10,000 MW of new renewable resources by 2030, compared to 1,000 MW pledged by California investor-owned utilities.

The agreement with EDPR reflects SJCE’s financial stability and growing financial resources. SJCE leveraged its $1 billion buying authority from the San José City Council.   

SJCE’s default power mix GreenSource includes 45% renewable energy – 6% more than PG&E’s standard mix – at 1% lower rates. Customers can upgrade to SJCE TotalGreen service to receive 100% renewable energy. Nearly 1,000 customers have upgraded to TotalGreen.

Report covers costs of various storage technologies, including pumped storage hydro

A report recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy defines and evaluates cost and performance parameters of six battery energy storage technologies (BESS) and four non-BESS storage technologies.

The objective of this report is to compare costs and performance parameters of different energy storage technologies. Furthermore, forecasts of cost and performance parameters across each of these technologies are made.

The BESS technologies studied were lithium-ion batteries, lead-acid batteries, redox flow batteries, sodium-sulfur batteries, sodium metal halide batteries and zinc-hybrid cathode batteries. The non-BESS technologies studied were pumped storage hydropower, flywheels, compressed air energy storage and ultracapacitors.

Key findings include:

  • For a BESS with an E/P (energy to power) ratio of 4.0, Li-ion batteries offer the best option in terms of cost, performance, calendar and cycle life, and technological maturity.
  • Pumped storage hydropower and compressed air energy storage, at $165/kWh and $105/kWh, respectively, give the lowest cost in $/kWh if an E/P ratio of 16 is used inclusive of balance of plant and construction and commissioning costs. Pumped storage hydro is a more mature technology with higher rates of round-trip efficiency.
  • While the zinc-hybrid cathode technology offers great promise in terms of cost and life, its technology readiness level (TRL) and manufacturing readiness level (MRL) are both low at this stage.
  • Redox flow batteries appear to be well positioned, and rapid improvements are expected in overall cost, performance, life, TRL, and MRL. While the round-trip efficiency for these batteries is low, there is room for improvement with stack optimization and better flow battery management algorithms.
  • While lead-acid batteries are low cost with high TRLs and MRLs, their cycle life is limited, leading to a usable life of less than three years assuming one cycle per day.
  • Sodium metal halide and sodium sulfur have similar cost and life characteristics, and metal halide technology has a higher round-trip efficiency. While the planar design for the sodium metal halide technology is expected to reduce cost, as is the substitution of sodium with nickel, uncertainty associated with these innovations led the research team to not build them into the 2025 forecast.
  • For pumped storage hydro, compressed air energy storage, flywheels, and ultracapacitors, 2025 capital costs were assumed to be the same as those estimated for 2018. These are more mature technologies; hence this study assumed the 2025 costs to be unchanged. Further, pumped storage hydro and compressed air energy storage involve long-range development timelines and, therefore, a substantial reduction in costs is unlikely to be experienced in a relatively short number of years.

This report was completed as part of DOE’s Water Power Technologies Office-funded project entitled Valuation Guidance and Techno-Economic Studies for Pumped Storage Hydropower. The overarching project is ongoing as of the date this report was published and being performed by a multi-lab team consisting of staff from five national laboratories: the Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Click here to read the full report.

Sunverge raises $11 million for utility distributed energy resource controls

Sunverge, the provider of an industry leading Distributed Energy Resource (DER) control and aggregation platform, today announced an $11 million capital raise. 

The round was led by Ecosystem Integrity Fund with participation from Equinor Energy Ventures and Evergy Ventures. 

With the funding, the company will continue to expand and evolve its platform to help utilities to operationalize and integrate DERs into core utility operations.

The global energy landscape is undergoing a rapid transition and transformation. The latest FERC report shows generation from renewables outpacing nuclear and traditional generation methods, with additional momentum expected to continue throughout 2022. 

With the changing market landscape, today’s utilities require new mission critical technologies to enable them to integrate and operate DERs as reliable generation and grid assets in order to modernize their distribution grids and replace traditional fossil fuel peak and base generation with distributed clean energy resources.

The Sunverge Energy Platform provides utilities with real-time grid-edge visibility and management capabilities for this increasingly distributed and interconnected web of DERs that include solar, energy storage, EVs and EV chargers in addition to other smart devices such as smart thermostats, water heaters and more.

“Right now, customers typically own DERs, but utilities are the ideal owners of these assets due to their lower cost of capital,” said Gareth Burns, Managing Director at Equinor Energy Ventures. “Sunverge’s platform proves the value of the baseload power generated by DERs and will ultimately help utilities convince both public utilities commissions and consumers that assets like solar and energy storage are the right investment for the future of our energy markets.”

Forecast shows continued decline for coal

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released its Short Term Energy Outlook for 2019 and we have summarized the key highlights for you below.  

Electricity, coal, renewables and emissions

EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants will rise from 34% in 2018 to 37% in 2019 and then decline slightly in 2020. 

The share of U.S. generation from coal will average 24% in 2019 and in 2020, down from 28% in 2018. The forecast nuclear share of U.S. generation remains at about 20% in 2019 and in 2020. Hydropower averages a 7% share of total U.S. generation in the forecast for 2019 and 2020, similar to 2018. Wind, solar, and other nonhydropower renewables together provided 10% of U.S. total utility-scale generation in 2018. EIA expects they will provide 10% in 2019 and 12% in 2020.

EIA expects electric power sector demand for coal to fall by 2% in 2020, compared with an expected decline of 15% in 2019. However, planned coal plant retirements will continue to put downward pressure on overall electricity demand for the fuel. Almost 13 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity generation capacity has retired this year or is scheduled to retire by the end of 2020, accounting for 5% of the capacity existing at the end of 2018.

EIA forecasts that renewable fuels, including wind, solar, and hydropower, will collectively produce 18% of U.S. electricity in 2019 and 19% in 2020. EIA expects that annual generation from wind will surpass hydropower generation for the first time in 2019 to become the leading source of renewable electricity generation and maintain that position in 2020.

Results in an EIA forecast that electricity generation from wind power will average 295 billion kilowatthours (kWh) in 2019 and 335 billion kWh in 2020, estimates that are 4% and 7% lower, respectively, than forecast in the July STEO. In addition, the application of hourly dispatch that better models solar incidence lowers the solar electric production forecast by 1.1% in 2019 and by 2.8% in 2020.

EIA forecasts that, after rising by 2.7% in 2018, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decline by 2.3% in 2019 and by 0.5% in 2020. In 2019, EIA forecasts that space cooling demand (as measured in cooling degree days) will be lower than in 2018, when it was 13% higher than the previous 10-year (2008–17) average. In addition, in 2019, EIA expects U.S. CO2 emissions to decline because the forecast share of electricity generated from natural gas and renewables is increasing while the forecast share generated from coal, which is a more carbon-intensive energy source, is decreasing. 


The hydrocarbon era’s spectacular end

By Liam Denning, Bloomberg Markets

Dustin Yellin, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based artist whose intricate 3D photomontages adorn the likes of New York’s Lincoln Center, wants to draw your gaze to climate change. Not in a subtle way, either. He plans to stand an oil supertanker on its end in the ground—a structure soaring 1,000 feet into the air.

The Bridge, as Yellin dubs it, would repurpose a piece of energy infrastructure as a ready-made artwork, complete with elevators and a viewing platform for visitors, capturing the sheer scale of our energy system. The difficulty of hoisting thousands of tons of steel into the air would itself symbolize the monumental challenge of retooling our hydrocarbon-fueled civilization in the face of climate change.

The world depends on coal, oil, and natural gas for about four-fifths of its energy—just as it did when I was a boy. Back then, fears shaped by the 1970s centered on what would happen when our vital fuels ran out.

Our actual energy crisis turns out to be one of abundance, not scarcity. We’ve burned 1 trillion barrels of oil since 1980, yet global reserves are almost three times bigger. Natural gas is so plentiful that producers in Texas have been burning it off or even paying customers to take it off their hands. As for coal, the only thing many mines have run out of is jobs.

Carbon emissions are similarly inexhaustible, reaching a record last year. Abstract fears of “global warming” from the ’80s have morphed into the present danger of climate change. Rather than running out of hydrocarbons, we’re running out of time to deal with their pollution.

Our species struggles to grasp gradual change. Tell people the gas pumps have run dry, and they focus in an instant. Tell people their cars produce an invisible gas that will engender biblical droughts and floods—not necessarily where they live—and their attention drifts. Hence Yellin’s skyscraper-size exclamation point.

Similarly, it’s hard for us to conceive of the end of the hydrocarbon era. And yet financial markets appear to be ahead of us on this.

This summer the energy sector’s weighting in the S&P 500 fell below 5%, lower than at any time in the past four decades. That’s quite a show of disdain for a set of giant companies raking in almost $3 billion in revenue every day.

The most recent boom and bust ruined the industry’s reputation with many investors. News flash: This isn’t the first time that’s happened. In the past, though, the ubiquity of fossil fuels preordained that consumption (and prices) would eventually rise and tempt investors back.

Now at least some of them worry that a new deep-water field might end up as a stranded asset in a little changed or shrinking market. Oil majors are deserting prior strongholds, such as Norway’s frigid waters, and going all in on U.S. shale basins, which can be developed in months instead of years. BP Plc’s head of strategy acknowledges that some of the company’s resources “won’t see the light of day.” And members of OPEC, whose power always rested on the geological lottery of vast oil reserves, find themselves relying on the support of nonmember Russia to shore up their diminished credibility.

Hydrocarbons, dense with energy and intertwined with so much of our existing infrastructure, remain formidable incumbents. Roughly 150 years old, the oil business is still capable of sprightly disruption: Look at what hydraulic fracturing of shale hath wrought. Coal, an even older industry, isn’t quite so vigorous—global demand peaked in 2013—but nor has it gone gently into that good night, especially in Asia.

Above all, hydrocarbon consumption is just big: Last year we burned oil, gas, and coal with an energy equivalent of almost 12 billion tons of oil. Like The Bridge, it’s hard to get your head around the scale.

But in a transition, scale only tells you where you are; marginal growth points to where you’re going. Rather than focus on the mountain, get a feel for the gradient of travel.

Harry Benham, an oil industry veteran turned consultant, presents this as a math problem. Primary energy consumption grows at about 1% to 2% a year, and that rate has trended downward, more or less, since the 1960s. That’s linear growth, meaning the world’s sources of energy, no matter how big or small, must fight for a slice of that shrinking sliver of extra demand over time. Wind and solar power, while small, are expanding at a ferocious clip: 23% a year, compounded, over the past decade. Which means they grab a bigger share. Having generated less than 2% of the world’s electricity a decade ago, wind and solar will likely surpass nuclear power this year or next.

This collision course is driven by cost. Less than a decade ago, shale frackers needed maybe $100 a barrel to break even. Now some need less than $50. Impressive, but the all-in cost of solar power has dropped 85% since 2010, and BloombergNEF forecasts an additional 63% drop through 2050. In two-thirds of the world, up from 1% five years ago, new solar and wind projects undercut new plants that use either coal or natural gas.

If you think oil is safe in its internal-combustion fortress, consider that electric models accounted for all the growth in passenger-vehicle sales last year and are forecast to do the same this year. Again, it’s scale vs. growth. Sales of traditional gas guzzlers, while still 80 million-odd strong, have declined. And investors, technology talent, and research and development budgets tend to start backing away from little changed or shrinking markets, no matter how big they are. Energy stocks are out of favor not because they’re no longer dominant; they clearly are. But mortality has begun to creep into risk premiums.

Despite the falling costs and growing market share of renewable energies, they still lack the killer app: a price on carbon emissions that would expose the frequently hidden costs of fossil fuels. Conventional wisdom holds that Americans, especially, wouldn’t stand for that.

But aside from President Trump professing ardor for “beautiful” coal, few people love hydrocarbons—when was the last time you fist-pumped at the prospect of a trip to the gas station? Most folks don’t even care about energy. What they love is what it provides: light for dark streets, cool offices on hot days, and, of course, the ability to travel. These hallmarks of modernity—the ends, not the means—persuade us to tolerate the drawbacks.

One is pollution. In the past, when society reached tipping points on industrial nasties such as leaded gasoline or smog, government acted to curb them. Carbon emissions, invisible and with a slow, diffuse impact, are of a different order. Even here, however, sentiment is shifting, and that gradient of public tolerance is steepening.

For example, oil majors’ relatively recent touting of renewable energy investments may strike you as “greenwashing.” The point is that they’ve acknowledged that man-made carbon emissions cause climate change. That particular cat won’t go back in the bag.

It’s also easy to dismiss Pope Francis’ recent convening of oil bosses in the Vatican as political theater. But as Kevin Book of Washington-based ClearView Energy Partners says, the church epitomizes conservatism and tradition: “The activists are already persuaded about climate change, and now the Vatican is, too.” In a pleasing irony, the pope pushed the case for climate science in the same building where Galileo was tried by the church for his own bit of scientific insight.

Even in the U.S., where discussion of climate policy so often regresses into theological positions of “believing” or “disbelieving” scientific consensus, there are signs of a shift. Polls show rising concern about the dangers of climate change, particularly among younger voters. The Green New Deal may be a mere scrap of a proposal, but it’s nonetheless dragged the politics of climate left. There’s no chance anything like the #GND will be enacted into law while Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell runs the Senate. But Democratic presidential primary candidates now speak openly about scrapping the filibuster precisely to push through legislation on issues such as climate change. If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that while nothing is a given, nothing is fixed, either.

The same applies to the seas on which fossil fuels are shipped across the world. In June, Trump unleashed a tweeted torpedo at the Carter Doctrine when he questioned the U.S. Navy’s role in ensuring freedom of navigation, especially for oil tankers.

Homo hydrocarbon is largely a product of the American-led free-trading era after 1945. Absent the U.S. Navy policing sea lanes, it’s debatable whether oil-importing countries would have allowed themselves to rely on barrels shipped from the Middle East and other hot spots. Yellin’s supertanker is a product of this: a bulk-storage technology adopted after the 1956 Suez Crisis, making it economical to ship oil on longer routes avoiding such chokepoints. Yet these lumbering leviathans wouldn’t have been feasible without the implicit protection of American sea power.

Today, with its shale-inspired sense of energy dominance, the U.S. is rethinking this. China’s planners have taken notice of the potential change: It’s one rationale for Beijing’s pro-electric-vehicle industrial policy. Likewise, faced with the upheaval of the Arab Spring and collapse of Venezuela, oil producers such as Saudi Arabia are trying to remake themselves for a world where oil’s primacy and U.S. backing aren’t guaranteed.

Like the shadow that The Bridge may cast one day, darkness is gathering on the hydrocarbon horizon. There will always be those who doubt climate change, but their platform is literally burning. Even many fossil fuel producers have leapt to politically safer ground. The end of the dominance of hydrocarbons begins with the end of innocence about their hidden costs. The implications of this knowledge will only grow.

Hydrocarbons achieved their preeminence on the back of one overriding imperative: growth. Growth in wealth, living standards, and population. This is how the 20th century world was made, and it’s why we fretted about energy running out. It’s also why we could ignore the environmental and political costs of an energy system that wastes two-thirds of its input as heat.

Now we know that such growth, unchecked, will ultimately undo us. A central argument for fossil fuels’ continued dominance is that humanity will surpass 10 billion at some point, and all those people will want something like the Western living standards built over the past 100 years on the back of coal, gas, and oil. Yet what a poverty of imagination this betrays, especially in light of climate change, which hits the poorest hardest. How can that be the pinnacle of civilization? What even constitutes “higher living standards” in a world where the costs of our existing technologies are so transparent? Far from securing hydrocarbon dominance for another 100 years, the needs and aspirations of future generations demand it give way to something more sustainable.

Denning writes about energy for Bloomberg Opinion in New York. This column doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

US wind farm activity by Fortune 500 breaks records

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has released data for Q2, indicating activity rose to new heights in the wind development sector.

Strong consumer demand from Fortune 500 businesses and utilities, as well as calls from multiple states for offshore projects added to wind power’s growing development pipeline. At the same time, wind turbine manufacturers saw an increasing number of factory orders for more powerful wind turbines, capable of powering almost twice the number of homes as an average wind turbine installed in the past few years.

These findings and the latest industry data are highlighted in AWEA’s newly released U.S. Wind Industry Second Quarter 2019 Market Report.

“American wind power’s record growth continues to accelerate with over 200 wind farm projects underway in 33 states,” said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan. “Our industry’s success strengthens the U.S. economy because access to affordable, clean American wind power is a competitive advantage in the eyes of business leaders. And when those businesses invest in U.S. wind energy, it directly benefits the people living and working in our country’s farm, factory, and port communities.”

The record 41,801 megawatts (MW) of U.S. wind capacity currently under construction or in advanced stages of development represents a 10% increase over the level of activity this time last year. The wind project pipeline grew 7% in the second quarter with 7,290MW in new construction and advanced development activity announced.

Wind power is expanding rapidly in many regions of the U.S. Over 200 wind projects are underway across 33 states, and 15 of those states have over 1,000MW of wind capacity that will come online in the near term. 

Texas currently hosts the most activity (9,015MW), followed by Wyoming (4,831MW), New Mexico (2,774MW), Iowa (2,623MW), and South Dakota (2,183MW). Notably, half of all U.S. states have enough projects underway to grow their installed wind capacity by 25%or more.

 Offshore wind also saw significant activity in the second quarter with bold new offshore wind targets legislated in Maryland (1,200MW), Connecticut (2,000MW), and New York (9,000MW). 

New Jersey granted its first offshore renewable energy certificate (OREC) award to Ørsted’s 1,100MW Ocean Wind project—the largest offshore project planned in the U.S. so far. And the activity hasn’t slowed; early in the third quarter, New York Governor Cuomo announced Empire Wind and Sunrise Wind as winners of the state’s first call for offshore wind project proposals.

The U.S. grid now includes an additional 736MW of wind power as developers commissioned four new wind farms in the second quarter. This brings total U.S. wind capacity to 97,960MW, with more than 57,000 wind turbines operating in 41 states and two U.S. territories. American wind farms now produce enough electricity to power over 30 million average homes and reliably supply more than 20% of the electricity in six states.

Businesses and utilities continue to purchase more wind energy to power their operations. Wind power customers announced new long-term contracts, called Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), totaling 1,962MW in the second quarter. Non-utility corporate customers signed up for 52% of second quarter PPA capacity. Hormel Foods, Smithfield Foods, Crown Holdings, and Ernst & Young were first-time customers of wind energy in the second quarter, along with repeat customers like General Mills, Walmart, and Target. Strong demand from utilities accounted for the remaining 48% (949MW) of second quarter PPAs. So far this year, 35 customers have announced wind power purchases totaling 4,799MW.

As wind power’s customer base evolves, so too does the technology. Wind turbine manufacturers have introduced new models at a rapid pace over the past few years in pursuit of lowering costs and achieving even stronger performance. As a result, the number of projects selecting wind turbines with a capacity of 3.5MW or more is growing significantly. In the second quarter alone, wind turbine manufacturers publicly reported nine orders totaling 2,049MW for turbines ranging in capacity from 4.2 to 4.5MW.

“We’re seeing a growing number of wind farms select turbines capable of powering nearly twice as many homes as the average U.S. wind turbine,” Kiernan said. “Wind technology innovation is keeping pace with demand, but we can’t afford to neglect the power grid infrastructure that delivers electricity from where it’s made to consumers. We continue to urge the Administration, Congress, FERC, and grid operators to ensure well-designed transmission lines can be planned, permitted, and built in a timely fashion.”

Earlier this year, AWEA’s 2018 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report highlighted the significant economic benefits that grow along with wind power capacity. Wind farms pay more than $1 billion a year through state and local taxes plus lease payments to landowners, helping preserve the rural way of life in farming and ranching communities across the country. The wind industry also supports a record number of U.S. jobs, over 114,000, with substantial room to grow as the industry continues to scale up in the heartland and offshore. Roughly a quarter of those careers are found at over 500 U.S. factories manufacturing or assembling wind turbine components.


Fabric-based solar cells on the horizon

New textile-based solar cells developed by Fraunhofer researchers, semitrailers could soon be producing the electricity needed to power cooling systems or other onboard equipment. In short, textile-based solar cells could soon be adding a whole new dimension to photovoltaics, complementing the use of conventional silicon-based solar cells.

In the future, we may well see other surfaces being exploited for photovoltaic generation. Truck tarps, for example, could be used to produce the electricity consumed by the driver when underway or parked up for the night, or to power electronic systems used to locate trailers in shipping terminals. 

Similarly, conventional building facades could be covered with photovoltaic textiles in place of concrete render. Or the blinds used to provide shade in buildings with glass facades could be used to create hundreds of square meters of additional surface for producing power.

Glass-fiber fabric as a solar-cell substrate

At the heart of such visions are pliable, textile-based solar cells developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENA and Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut e.V. 

“There are a number of processes that enable solar cells to be incorporated in coatings applied to textiles,” explains Dr. Lars Rebenklau, group manager for system integration and electronic packaging at Fraunhofer IKTS. 

In other words, the substrate for the solar cells is a woven fabric rather than the glass or silicon conventionally used. “That might sound easy, but the machines in the textile industry are designed to handle huge rolls of fabric – five or six meters wide and up to 1000 meters in length,” explains Dr. Jonas Sundqvist, group manager for thin-film technology at Fraunhofer IKTS. 

“And during the coating process, the textiles have to withstand temperatures of around 200 °Celsius. Other factors play a key role too: the fabric must meet fire regulations, have a high tensile strength and be cheap to produce. “The consortium therefore opted for a glass-fiber fabric, which fulfills all of these specifications,” Rebenklau says.

Click here for in-depth detail on this cutting edge process.

Digitalisation and the transformation of the energy value chain

Digitalisation is one of the biggest enablers of the global transition to clean energy. From intelligent asset management, to Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. Find out how digitalisation is transforming the management, operation and maintenance of renewable energy assets, and driving a more efficient renewable world.  

‍In this white paper Dr. Virgil Cazacu, Head of Digital Transformation, BayWa r.e. renewable energy GmbH, explores how digitalisation is supporting the growth in renewable energy and creating a better industry through innovations that include battery energy storage, new grid models and more efficient services and systems.

These innovations increase the operational efficiency of a renewable energy plant through greater automation, seamless integration and process effectiveness.

Content includes:

  • Asset management – the applicaton of data
  • The Industrial Internet of Things – an interconnected value chain
  • Artificial Intelligence – helping us to work smarter
  • Blockchain – the opportunity for renewables 
  • Digitalisation in the field – practical applications
  • Cyber security – the essential component in a digital renewable world

Download the full white paper here. (Hyperlink to:https://www.rethink-energy.com/white-paper/digitalisation)

BNEF: Energy to storage increase 122X by 2040

According to the latest forecast by BloombergNEF (BNEF), energy storage installations (not including pumped hydropower) around the world will multiply exponentially, from 9GW/17GWh deployed as of 2018 to 1,095GW/2,850GWh by 2040.

This 122-fold boom of stationary energy storage over the next two decades will require $662 billion of investment, according to BNEF estimates. It will be made possible by further sharp declines in the cost of lithium-ion batteries, on top of an 85% reduction in the 2010-18 period.

BNEF’s Energy Storage Outlook 2019, published on July 31, predicts a further halving of lithium-ion battery costs per kilowatt-hour by 2030, as demand takes off in two different markets – stationary storage and electric vehicles. The report goes on to model the impact of this on a global electricity system increasingly penetrated by low-cost wind and solar.

Yayoi Sekine, energy storage analyst for BNEF and co-author of the report, said:  “Two big changes this year are that we have raised our estimate of the investment that will go into energy storage by 2040 by more than $40 billion, and that we now think the majority of new capacity will be utility-scale, rather than behind-the-meter at homes and businesses.”

BNEF’s analysis suggests that cheaper batteries can be used in more and more applications. These include energy shifting (moving in time the dispatch of electricity to the grid, often from times of excess solar and wind generation), peaking in the bulk power system (to deal with demand spikes), as well as for customers looking to save on their energy bills by buying electricity at cheap hours and using it later.

Logan Goldie-Scot, head of energy storage at BNEF, added: “In the near term, renewables-plus-storage, especially solar-plus-storage, has become a major driver for battery build. This is a new era of dispatchable renewables, based on new contract structures between developer and grid.”

Just 10 countries are on course to represent almost three quarters of the global market in gigawatt terms, according to BNEF’s forecast. South Korea is the lead market in 2019, but will soon cede that position, with China and the U.S. far in front by 2040. The remaining significant markets include India, Germany, Latin America, Southeast Asia, France, Australia and the U.K.

There is a fundamental transition developing in the power system and transportation sector. Falling wind, solar and battery costs mean wind and solar are set to make up almost 40% of world electricity in 2040, up from 7% today. Meanwhile passenger electric vehicles could become a third of the global passenger vehicle fleet by 2040, up from less than half a percent today, adding huge scale to the battery manufacturing sector.

Demand for storage will increase to balance the higher proportion of variable, renewable generation in the electricity system. Batteries will increasingly be chosen to manage this dynamic supply and demand mix.

The report finds that energy storage will become a practical alternative to new-build electricity generation or network reinforcement. Behind-the-meter storage will also increasingly be used to provide system services on top of customer applications.

The total demand for batteries from the stationary storage and electric transport sectors is forecast to be 4,584GWh by 2040, providing a major opportunity for battery makers and miners of component metals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel.


Energy storage is covered in-depth at both POWERGEN International and DISTRIBUTECH International

Utility device and data management technologies revenue could exceed $22 billion by 2027edit

A new report from Navigant Research released this week says that revenue from device and data management technologies could grow from approximately $14.8 billion in 2018 to more than $22.1 billion in 2027 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6%.

Utilities are increasingly interested in big data management, whether at the device-level (edge computing) or in the back-office (databases, lakes, warehouses). These solutions include most functionality for the process of analyzing data from connected devices: data acquisition, preparation, cleansing, storage, integration, analysis, and the delivery of insights.

According to the report, the next evolution in the data management space is expected to come from the advancement of Internet of Things (IoT) analytics platforms. Currently, IoT platform adoption remains low, with few customers using these platforms at scale. Until the market further matures, utilities are likely to continue using traditional data stores in lieu of IoT platforms.

The report, Big Data Management for Utilities, analyzes the trends, drivers, and barriers to adoption of data platforms and other big data management solutions within the utility industry and includes several submarkets within the utility data management space alongside global market adoption trends.

“Data is changing the utility market,” says Michael Kelly, research analyst with Navigant Research. “It frees up capital through efficiency savings, creates new digital products and services, and helps to improve understanding of customers.”


Data analytics, IoT, and customer strategies are all part of the educational component at DISTRIBUTECH. The next event takes place in San Antonio, Janurary 28-30, 2020.