ESS Raises $30M From SoftBank, Breakthrough Energy Ventures to Scale Iron Flow Batteries

Iron flow battery startup ESS raised an additional $30 million to take its technology from pilots to commercial scale. Since 2011, the company has been developing a low-cost, nonflammable long-duration storage technology to compete across domains where the dominant lithium-ion battery chemistries are weaker. The bigger potential for flow batteries is large-scale renewable energy-shifting, and that requires moving into megawatt-scale territory. This marks the second energy storage investment from Japanese investment firm SoftBank. It made its first foray into the sector this summer with a splashy $110 million investment in the block-stacking gravity storage startup Energy Vault. 

Energy Storage Technology Helps Renew, Stabilize Electric Grid

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that 17 percent of all electricity produced in the United States in 2017 came from renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and hydroelectric dams. That percentage is expected to keep growing as communities seek ways to improve local air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked by EPA scientists to climate change. Unfortunately, renewable energy sources need proper weather conditions to generate power. And those periods of sunshine, wind or heavy wave action occur only intermittently between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. when consumer demand for electricity peaks. That’s where energy storage technology comes in.

South Australia Reaffirms Its Love for Tesla Big Batteries

South Australia has reaffirmed its love for big Tesla battery projects with an AUD $5 million (USD $3.7 million) grant for a 25-megawatt, 52-megawatt-hour plant. The funding, which is being matched by an equal amount from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), will go towards the AUD $38 million (USD $28 million) cost of developing a Tesla Powerpack-based energy storage system for Infigen Energy. The system will be built next to a 278.5-megawatt wind farm at Lake Bonney and connected to Australia’s National Electricity Market via a substation owned by ElectraNet, Infigen said in a press release. Construction is due to start in the coming weeks, the company said.

A Battery Of Choices: Embracing R&D & Investment In Storage

Imagine a world where we depend on sunlight and the wind for most of our energy needs. Then imagine nighttime and our main source of electricity literally falls asleep. Unless our future electricity system represents a giant “super-grid” with tons of wires connecting everywhere from San Francisco to Beijing, we will need somewhere to put that electricity when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. Along comes battery storage, one of the emerging technology advancements of the 21st century that could revolutionize the way we produce and consume electricity.

The Big Chill: Highview’s Solution To The Challenge Of Long-Duration Energy Storage

In early June, Highview Power announced that it had officially launched its first grid-scale liquid air energy storage (LAES) plant at the Viridor Pilsworth site in Bury, United Kingdom (just outside of Manchester). This five megawatt (MW)/15 megawatt hour (MWh) facility is on the small side to truly earn the title of grid-scale, but that may be beside the point. The critical issue to consider here is that this new technology may ultimately prove to be a cost-effective long-duration energy storage resource that is – unlike compressed air energy or pumped hydro – geographically independent.

NEC ES, NGK Deploy Storage in New Territories in Brazil and Middle East

Lithium and sodium sulfur batteries will be used for the first time in new territories, after NEC ES and NGK inked deals to deliver projects to an island archipelago in Brazil and in Dubai respectively. Integrated electricity company Neoenergia, active in distribution, generation and other parts of the supply chain in Brazil, was requested by ANEEL (National Electric Energy Agency) in 2017 to help find sustainable ways to wean Fernando de Noronha, 350km off the country’s north-eastern coast, from a heavy dependence on expensive and polluting diesel generators.

Lockheed Supplying Li-Ion System to Chicago Community Microgrid Demonstrator

A community microgrid in Chicago will be supplied with lithium-ion battery storage from aerospace and defence giant Lockheed Martin, allowing it to be ‘islanded’ from the local grid network. Bronzeville, in the South Side of Chicago, is hosting a community microgrid built by utility Commonwealth Edison (ComEd). It is being developed with the help of a US$5 million grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) and is acting as a demonstration of the technology and its uses.

Siemens Gamesa Pursues Hybrid Wind and Solar Projects With Energy Storage

Siemens Gamesa, the leading turbine manufacturer, is looking to go beyond wind — into hybrid systems with solar and storage. The company’s chief technology officer, Antonio de la Torre Quiralte, told GTM that Siemens Gamesa remains committed to the wind market. However, it is increasingly interested in other technologies to reduce renewable energy intermittency.