September 10, 2018 Read More →

California carbon reduction goals are good news for storage industry

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

For California to completely decarbonize its power system by 2045, as prescribed in the landmark bill recently passed by the state legislature, much more than Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature will be required. Among the prerequisites is a massively expanded energy storage industry, placing energy storage among the bill’s biggest potential beneficiaries.

“This bill, in our view, would significantly activate the market for energy storage within the state,” said Kiran Kumaraswamy, market applications director at Fluence Energy LLC, an energy storage joint venture of AES Corp. and Siemens AG. Getting to a 100% zero-carbon energy system will require “several thousands of megawatts of energy storage, in addition to what’s already been proposed, to make sure that the flexibility needs of the system are met in the longer term,” he said.

Proposals already range up to 10,000 MW of new energy storage in the state by 2030, compared to just 177 MW of battery storage and roughly 4,500 MW of pumped hydroelectric storage installed as of June 2018, according to the California Energy Commission.

One thing is clear: without explosive growth in high-capacity, low-cost battery storage, the zero-carbon goal is almost certainly out of reach. A recent report from the California Energy Commission found that achieving 100% zero-carbon generation “appears to be cost-prohibitive without major advances in low-cost energy storage.”

“There’s really not that many other options for flexibility,” said Alex Morris, policy director for the California Energy Storage Alliance. Morris cited several “major roles for storage” as the state aims to reach its interim target of 60% renewable energy by 2030. These include “deep cycling” to absorb excess solar generation during midday peak production periods, as well as instantaneously discharging to offset drops in solar output, for instance when clouds pass, and providing “fast ramping” when solar energy fades toward sunset and demand spikes.

More ($): California’s zero-carbon grid bid could supercharge energy storage

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