“Energy Storage Set To Boom In 2017″… Yawn.

Guest post by David Middleton

yawn

Real Clear Energy is always good for a daily laugh…

The problem with today’s power grid isn’t the lack of electricity but rather the lack of it at certain times. The United States has progressively moved towards adding renewable energy to the grid but solar and wind power are rather intermittent. Worst of all, some of this power is completely wasted because our grid is unable to store it properly. Tesla, along with other companies, has begun to solve this pressing issue.

Three new storage plants are in the works and they’re unlike anything before. The plants will be completely reliant on lithium ion storage. Lithium powered batteries have seen rapid reductions in price in the past several year’s thanks to the high demand for electric cars. Tesla is also developing a gigafactory in Nevada to mass produce these batteries, some of which will be used in the storage plant. AES Corp. and Altagas Ltd. are the other two companies creating battery plants in California. The Altagas plant was activated January 27th. AES has another battery plant in Arizona scheduled to go online within the next several months as well as a project internationally in India.

These plants will reduce the number of blackouts due to power shortage at peak hours and prevent loss of power generated but not used. When it comes to renewables there’s virtually no carbon dioxide emission or risk of spills harming the environment. Electricity generated from renewables will be stored appropriately and reinforce the notion that our power grid really can go green.

[…]

It’s unlikely crude benchmarks will react towards this news but future plans may prove otherwise. Oil majors are beginning to worry when demand will peak, knowing that cloud may be just over the horizon. Investors shouldn’t concern themselves with an approaching downward trend yet and should continue to ride out the OPEC supply cuts.

Oil Price dot com

“When it comes to renewables there’s virtually no carbon dioxide emission or risk of spills harming the environment. Electricity generated from renewables will be stored appropriately and reinforce the notion that our power grid really can go green.”

“AltaGas” sounds like an odd name for a *renewables* company…

yawn_2

[…]

AltaGas also continues to work on repowering the existing Pomona Facility. In the first quarter of 2016 AltaGas submitted an application with the California Energy Commission to repower the Pomona Facility to a flexible, fast ramping peaking facility under the small power plant exemption process. It is anticipated that the application review process will be approximately 12 months and include a review of the emissions profile by the local air district. The existing Pomona Facility is a 44.5 MW gas-fired peaking plant strategically located in the Los Angeles load pocket. The repowered facility could be comprised of more efficient gas-fired technology with capacity up to 100 MW. Following approval, AltaGas will be ready to bid the repowered Pomona facility into upcoming RFOs or enter into other bilateral contract arrangements.

AltaGas owns six natural gas-fired power generating facilities in California that safely produce power. AltaGas has a long-standing history of building trust and treating stakeholders with respect in the communities where it develops and operates projects.

AltaGas is an energy infrastructure company with a focus on natural gas, power and regulated utilities. AltaGas creates value by acquiring, growing and optimizing its energy infrastructure, including a focus on clean energy sources. For more information visit: www.altagas.ca

AltaGas

Okay… So… Let me get this straight… Southern California Edison signed a 10-yr deal to purchase 80 MWh/d of stored electricity… Electricity stored from a peaking natural gas-fired plat???  Why not just build a combined cycle natural gas plant?

main

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860, Electric Generator Construction Costs Note: Average costs are weighted by nameplate capacity. Solar photovoltaic (PV) data are based on reported alternating current (AC) capacity and do not include distributed generation capacity. http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=26532

 

At least Professor McDonald got one thing right…

“It’s unlikely crude benchmarks will react towards this news…”

The AES storage system will actually store solar PV generated electricity…  A whopping 2 MW worth.

 

Featured image source.

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177 thoughts on ““Energy Storage Set To Boom In 2017″… Yawn.

  1. ‘Worst of all, some of this power is completely wasted because our grid is unable to store it properly. Tesla, along with other companies, has begun to solve this pressing issue.’

    Pressing?

    Poor design, to be fixed with more bad design.

    • This is just the big energy companies getting on board the boondoggle because it will make them a motza.

      Think about it, the more inefficient and unreliable the energy supply as mandated by governmemnt religeous ecree, the better because there are more opportunities to put the hand out and take a fee. A ‘disruption offset fee’, an ‘intermittent supply mitigation fee’, an ‘interstate energy transfer fee’, an ‘intersystem energy exchange fee’ and that is at the wholesale level. Think about all the little kiddy fiddling fees they will be able to charge the retail customers, especially commrecial users who have no viable alternative.

      And the real beauty of it is thet when the world wakes up to what a lunatic setup it all is they will be able to shrug their shoulders and say ‘but that’s what our democratically elected governmenets and the electorates wanted’. ANd then they will charge a shipload of money to transfer back to sensible technology. A ‘energy supply rationalisation fee’, an ‘accelerated inefficient asset writedown fee’ and so on.

      It will be just beautiful folks, Wall Street’s dream scenario.

      It has started here in Oz as soon as the Government mentioned new, improved technology coal fired power stations in the face of the South Australian network shut down debacle, the energy companies started saying ‘no, no, no renewables are the way to go’. An inefficient market is where the big boys make the big bucks. A smoothlt functioning, efficient market soon settles into a very competetive price point. No huge bonus’s likely in that scenario.

      • That’s about right. The only correction is terminology. Investor owned utilities are allowed a fixed return on investment on their assets. The more assets they own, the more money they’re allowed to make. In theory, regulators are supposed to check to make sure that all assets the utility buys are actually necessary. I’ve never understood why these companies are still allowed to exist. Cities have the right to municipalize their power systems any time they want to.

        Municipal utilities allow local voters to influence decisions about their power systems, but the only way for customers to actually get what they want from their electricity supplier is to be part of a cooperative. They are a directly democratic structure, where customers vote for the people who make decisions about their electricity supply.

        Most cooperatives get essentially all of their electricity from coal plants.

      • I was reading an article yesterday about Origin Energy promoting renewables. It seems like a smart play really. Give govts what they want to gather green kudos, farm the subsidies and the also sell them real power at premium prices when the inevitable happens.

      • Light bulbs.

        Not the same but the analogy works. Companies producing light bulbs are absolutely thrilled to move away from incandescent bulbs because the market was set for those and while profitable, a $0.10 light bulb does not produce profit the way a $10.00 bulb does. Companies compliance isn’t because they are earth friendly, they see opportunity for profit and that’s what the game remains about.

      • vboring,

        Check out the City of Detroit, MI power company.

        Provides power for city owned buildings and street lights. Want to see dark city streets at night? And traffic lights that don’t work.

      • There is nothing more efficient than generating and using energy on demand. Storing it only makes sense for small energy applications where batteries will suffice…like a flashlight, cell phone or other portable device. This whole stupid scheme is a scream of desperation about replacing oil, gas, coal, or nuclear power at all cost. As an Electrical Engineer, working on such a project would be profoundly depressing due to the utterly waste of time, money and career.

      • Real Overnight capital costs on a guaranteed delivered watt for solar, is, with correct accounting for all exogenous variables, given, average hours of sun in the winter at middle US latitudes, more like 20 to 30 times what is stated.

      • But Ethanol has a short shelf life so it is not as good as gasoline or diesel for storage. I Know well as I discarded about 25 gallons of ethanol laced fuel last summer drained from my boat at great expense because it would foul the carburetor and require constant cleaning. Bad gas is tough to get rid of.

      • Ethanol should be very lucrative since Mexico is saying they won’t buy our corn to retaliate against Trump for not letting their undocumented border crossers live off our welfare system. Plenty of corn to burn.

      • The E in ethanol means the fuel has already been partly burned up to form a water molecule, so you get less energy. Not surprisingly the Energy in E is lacking just that amount you get by burning H2 to get H2O.

        Ethers are no better than alcohols.
        g

      • Geo. Smith: It’s not the “e” that indicates already combined with something, but the “ol” at the end.

    • What? The fact that the grid does not store energy is not a design flaw any more than the fact that highways are not comfortable place to sleep at night. Grids transmit energy just like highways let cars and trucks move.

      • These people have a cunning plan and very soon you will be able to comfortably sleep on the highways at night. What part of the cunning plan don’t you get sleepy head?

      • It is not a design flaw, as if the people who designed the systems somehow imagined that it would store energy but surprisingly it does not. However it is a *limitation* of the system design, and if some kind of efficient energy storage system could somehow capture the excess energy produced by wind and solar it would go some way towards making these two sources better players in our electricity grid.

    • Tesla Motors [NYSE:TSLA] expects to churn out 35 Gigawatts of lithium-ion batteries per year at its Gigafactory in the US state of Nevada by 2018, ramping to 100GW per year by 2021.

      How do you fill 35 GW of battery power per day?

      The Tesla factory is about one third of supply. All these batteries will need to be charging overnight. Obviously not a good time for solar and many nights there will be no wind.

      Any way you look at this, by year three the major High Voltage transmission infrastructure in the western world is in deep trouble. This is going to kick off next year so there is not enough time to avoid the problem even on a no approvals, unlimited budget, fastest build time, basis.

      Then there is the power requirement.

      In summary, this unplanned increase in battery numbers, all manufactured with the world’s largest subsidies and pre-orders to a minor car company which would go broke without such, is going to bring down the power across the western world. It will result in massive increases in the cost of electricity worldwide during a period of zero real wage growth.

      Meanwhile various Investment Funds (eg Fidelity etc) orchestrated by Al Gore and George Soros have been pouring funding into Tesla and the Panasonic cell fab. Hardly environmentalists, more like hard core opportunists. Extreme world-wide rent seekers. Unstoppable if Hillary Clinton was president, but what can Donald Trump do against such an avalanche of stupidity fired by navel gazing, self-interest and religious zealotry.

      • Geoff I ave to agree with your take on the whole subject, it isn’t unlike GWB getting blamed for Slick Willy changing the banking rules so we could have the ’07 real estate crash; wheels set in motion are difficult to stop.

        But I can’t help also mentioning the Musk Plan of using huge numbers of Li-On batteries for energy storage is just about as brain dead as enabling sub-prime mortgages. The solution isn’t (and can never be) batteries. Capacitors charge and discharge much faster than batteries and those are the “ponies in the room”. Outfits advancing supercapacitors will take the day in the end. Unless the administration buys into Musk of course, then we can expect the complete energy meltdown you predict.

      • Yes superCap will be king. Simple carbon/graphene design and inexpensive. Doing one myself. Lithium very short lived product. However, Elon is a superb marketer so don’t expect logic to set into California anytime soon. Logic free zone, its all software in those heads.

      • “Griff February 17, 2017 at 1:25 am

        “How do you fill 35 GW of battery power per day?”

        Add a bunch of solar panels of course.”

        Tell us, oh wise one, how many panels?

      • “Geoff February 16, 2017 at 7:13 pm

        Yes superCap will be king.”

        I say you have never seen a 450 micro farad, electrolitic cap blow!

      • Well Patrick the US installed just over 14GW of solar panels in 2016.

        so that’s 2.5 years of panel installs… of course the rate of install is going up as prices drop, but that’s a reasonable estimate.

      • So Griffie, you plan on filling the batteries at precisely the time of highest demand.
        That sounds so smart.

    • To date, Tesla’s costs are prohibitive and the recycling of the batteries creates a huge new environmental issue….

    • Am I getting this straight here? They are going to convert AC from a “polluting” power plant, convert to DC, charge batteries, store, then re-convert to AC for transmission. Batteries probably needing air conditioning or heat to keep them viable. Wow. Maybe they should just use the electricity to blow fans onto wind turbines.

      This reeks of a big business green give away. My business plan is much more simple. Write a really big check to me, then go away.

    • Take some of the massive quantities of rainwater rushing into the ocean, build a few pumped-storage reservoirs, eh voila’…

      Won’t never happen. Not in Calif, anyway.

      • and those Lithium-ion batteries also use Cobalt, most of which comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (60% of world production) and is dominated by the Chinese (not to mention the dirty little secret of the child slave labor used to extract the cobalt in some of the mines). There is no way that Cobalt production can be ramped up to keep up with the demand from the 14 Li battery facilities currently under construction (7 in China and 1 bigger than Musk’s facility) because it is primarily ‘artisanal’ and production cannot be ramped. It becomes a limiting factor for battery production.

        Prices of Cobalt are skyrocketing – up 60% in the last year, and, if demand continues to soar as predicted it will quickly become the most expensive component and the cost of the batteries will increase (don’t know how much, not a lot I suspect so the effect will be the limitation on production more so than the cost.

      • “Griff February 17, 2017 at 1:26 am

        good job all those new lithium mines are opening up then – Australia, Chile, also deposits in Peru…”

        “Griff February 17, 2017 at 5:00 am

        somewhere called Greenbushes?

        http://www.talisonlithium.com/

        You didn’t read the article you linked to. These mines have been operating for decades. Typical uninformed alarmist.

      • Coming from the aircraft industry where Kapton was a major problem, I was surprised to see what appeared to be Kapton as the insulator in their batteries. Now, if they removed the liquid cooling system for the latest model S, which, I believe they did because they now have a cold plate technology in the latest version of the car, then, one will get an even bigger “bag” for their buck in a collision.

    • lithium batteries have a catastrophic failure mode.
      imagine a 10 acre size galaxy8
      it only takes one cell to start the cascade
      whoever insures the plants – sell em short. (that would be the taxpayer, right?)

      • “imagine a 10 acre size galaxy8 it only takes one cell to start the cascade”

        To be fair, a stationary batteries shouldn’t require the same power density as a cell phone. And it would be much easier to implement active cooling in a stationary situation too.

      • Add Kapton insulation to that because that’s what it appears they used in the Model S batteries from one I saw cut open in a pic, and, you’ve really got something to “light that candle” once that Kapton environmentally degrades. Check out the youtube videos of aircraft wiring shorted.

  2. “risk of spills harming the environment”

    That’s only true if you completely ignore mining, manufacturing, recycling and ultimately disposal of the materials need for the so called renewable industry, and now the storage industry.

      • That was my thought, too.

        And how very environmentally friendly lithium mines are in third world countries. I think it means we can dump on other countries and keep ours pristine. Or something like that.

      • That is true, although there is a nasty risk of explosion. I wonder what seeing one of these bad boys go off will be like.

      • So Samsung didn’t have to recall all those Galaxy 7s? You know: the one’s with the burning batteries …

    • Our “Green Revolution” experiment is causing pollution in China on a DISASTROUS SCALE. The rare earth mineral Neodymium is required for the production of the magnets used in wind turbines and batteries for electric cars. The toxic byproducts from the mining of this rare earth mineral have created toxic lakes, poisoning Chinese Farmers, their children, their land and threatening their water supplies. The toxic waste lake at Baotou, China can be remembered by local Chinese as a field of wheat and corn. Hidden out of sight behind the smoke-shrouded factory complex in the city of Baotou, and patrolled by security guards, lies a five-mile “tailing” lake of toxic sludge. It has killed farmland for miles abound, made thousands of people ill and put one of China’s key waterways in jeopardy.”

      There’s not one step of the rare earth mining process that is not disastrous for the environment. Ores are being extracted by pumping acid into the ground, and then they are processed using more acid and chemicals.

      As more factories sprang up, the banks grew higher, the lake grew larger and the stench and fumes grew more overwhelming.
      69 year-old retired farmer Su Bairen, describes the procession of this pollution: ‘It turned into a mountain that towered over us,’ says Mr. Su. ‘Anything we planted just withered, then our animals started to sicken and die.’
      People too began to suffer. Dalahai villagers say their teeth began to fall out, their hair turned white at unusually young ages, and they suffered from severe skin and respiratory diseases. Children were born with soft bones and cancer rates rocketed.

      • Agreed that the processing of rare earths is a concern, However Neodymium is not used in batteries. The ingredients of one popular lithium ion battery are (roughly speaking) pencil leads, garbage bag plastic kitchen foil and fertiliser, plus a small quantity of something a bit like dry cleaning fluid.

        And Neodymium is only used in some types of motor: I think (I may be wrong) that Tesla use induction motors in their cars. Induction motors do not use rare earth magnets.

    • MarkW, I was scrolling down to make exactly the same comment when I ran into yours. + 1000.. I hear this “green” argument all the time and when ever I ask that question from the green and warmists supporters , I hear even less than crickets ( which btw is music in my ears!)

  3. Grid storage has nothing to do with oil prices.

    Virtually NO oil is burned to generate electricity.

    “When it comes to renewables there’s virtually no carbon dioxide emission or risk of spills harming the environment. Electricity generated from renewables will be stored appropriately and reinforce the notion that our power grid really can go green.
    […]
    It’s unlikely crude benchmarks will react towards this news but future plans may prove otherwise.”

    • About 3-5% of electricity worldwide is generated by petroleum liquid-burning power plants… So, it’s a little bit more than virtually none… But… Yeah… That’s another reason why “crude benchmarks” won’t notice the 2017 energy storage boom.

    • In our town in Alaska we use diesel and we have some of the most expensive electricity in the country. On a grant, we set up a burner for slash to supplement. I think the slash works but the price of electricity has still gone up.

  4. When it comes to renewables there’s virtually no carbon dioxide emission or risk of spills harming the environment

    But then again, lithium and other rare metals? No harm?

      • Yes, Chile has tons of it. Heh heh. Actually they are looking at it as a big replacement for copper here. The govt owns a mining company called Codelco and gets 10% of its total budget (used to be higher) from their mines. With copper prices low they’re looking at lithium. Many deposits here but they are in some very environmentally sensitive areas and it takes a lot of processing to get the actual lithium shipped out(from what I hear).

      • What is shipped as lithium ‘ore’ for batteries from sedimentary playas in South America is typically lithium carbonate. There are many other sources, such as pegmatic spodumenes (lithium aluminum silicates, aka gemstones in two varieties, kunzite (pink/purple) and hiddenite (light green)) or phlogopite (a pink lithium mica). Much more expensive. Lithium is not rare (20th most abundant crust element, and batteries only need a little bit) ; cheap lithium is quite rare. And none comes from China.

    • It’s not the lithium, it’s the mining to get it out of the ground and the refining to purify it. Gold isn’t harmful, but using arsenic to separate it from impurities after mining was very, very damaging. End products are only a tiny part of the picture.

    • Sheri, mercury almagamation is used to extract gold in primitive mining (Brazil today). Not arsenic. Same conclusion, though. In modern heap leaching, cyanide in water is used. Worse conclusion if things go south on the heap.

  5. Open cycle natural gas peaker plants as “storage”? Oh well, it is the Democratic People’s Republic of California

  6. Hmmm.

    Those gold-rush pioneers are sure suckers for snake oil.

    This looks to be a massive chance for research regarding massive cascading lithium fires.

    Might be a good time for Southern Cal residents located near that facility to move; before their electricity spikes to Southern Australia peak cost levels and lithium fires warming already hot summer days.

  7. I’m not sure why I’m down on lithium-ion batteries, but I am. The Zinc Hybrid Cathode ones from EOS seem much more likely to impact grid storage in a major way:
    http://www.eosenergystorage.com/products/

    Zync is readily available, so nothing exotic needed.

    Siemens is a partner with EOS:
    http://nawindpower.com/siemens-eos-link-up-for-utility-scale-energy-storage-integration

    But regardless of the technology, I’m not aware of any grid-scale battery installs over 50MW yet. For a utility, 50MW is pilot test size, not a real deployment.

    • Read this. Second SAES flow battery announcement in 3 years. In 2014 it was the rhubarb version. This time, ferrocene. Solved some chemistry problems by chemical modifications to electrolyte salts. No data on efficiency or actual lifetime, even at lab scale. Nor of cost ofvthe modified organic salts.

      • Rud I had no idea you were so well versed on storage technology. Do you have an opinion on graphene ultra-capacitor technology and its development horizon?

      • Sure do. See my guest post last November at Climate Etc. Easiest search is Istvan. I think my last or next last offering there. Was quite technical, still got positive responses.

    • I put this up yesterday, a few posts back. I don’t know the in and outs of the amps on that system, but it is nice to see major progress just using chemistry. And losing only 1% capacity after 1000 cycles?

      But I agree, might be too good to be true.

  8. Headline is misleading…..
    Li+ion batteries have caused some fires but I don’t know of any that have actually gone ‘boom’?!

    • engarpia: This takes a spark. Lithium overheats and explodes or bursts into flames. Not the same thing. Your automotive battery rarely, if ever, starts your car on fire sitting in the garage.

    • engarpia,
      I lived in Wisconsin my 1st 30 years. ‘Jump’ started many, many cars, trucks, tractors, fork trucks, etc. during below 0F temps in winter, high temps in summer, and everything in between. No ‘booms’ from lead/acid batteries.

  9. The only reason why anyone would put up with the expense and inherent dangers of Lithium batteries is because of the weight savings.
    With a stationary setup, weight is not an issue.

    • They have longer cycle lives than PbA or NiMH. But not as long as sodium sulfur, which is the standard utility battery today (~15 years at one full charge/discharge per day). Very expensive. This liIon storage project is just subsidy mining. PGE and SoCal were ordered to install some energy storage stuff; they just pass the rediculous costs along in the rate base.

  10. When will these renewable folks ever learn that unreliable power is, well, unreliable, and storage barreries wil not transform the technology to a reliable power technology. They act as if the only problem is moving solar electric generation from the mid day to the night. But solar radiation can be interrupted for extended periods of time, much longer than can be supplied by batteries. Wind is even more unreliable – it can die away for weeks or even months. Batteries STORE energy. They do not CREATE energy. Far and away the biggest effect they will have on carbon emissions is when they replace gasoline in vehicles, and THAT is not far away, by any means. It’s right around the corner and will be a big advance in automotive technology, and NOT because it can eliminate auto emissions. Electric cars are intrinsically simpler, more reliable, easier to maintain, cheaper to fuel, cheaper to build. Henry Ford well understood the intrinsic superiority of electric cars and tried his damnedest, along with his friend Thomas Edison, to build a practical electric vehicle.

    • It’s true that an electric motor is less expensive than a IC engine. The problem is the battery. Paying $10K to replace your batteries ever 3 to 5 years is a deal killer.

      Beyond that, electric will never take off until the total price of the car is equal to an equivalent IC care, can drive 400 to 500 miles on one tank, with no loss of mileage for cold or hot weather, and can be recharged in 5 minutes.

      Since it’s unlikely that any of those conditions will ever be met, much less all of them, you might as well wish for Skittle pooping unicorns to fly you to work.

      Yes Ford and Edison tried to build an electric car. They both failed. The reason why they failed is the same reason why electric cars are still failures and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

      • replace every “3 to 5 years”? Lot’s of people I know still driving their 7 year old Leaves with no problems.

        Right now, using a electric vehicle to cross the country is not something I want to do.
        But my car sets in the garage all night; I am sure for commuting I would always go to work on a full charge.
        And where I work, there are solar chargers for cars, so maybe I could go home on a full charge too.

        But alas I havent an electric car or even a hybrid; my car is some 19 years old. I like to drive them from cradle to junkyard.

      • Have worked in energy storage since early 1990s. Have several issued materials patents. Very tough.
        The only intriguing possibility on the horizon is Fiskars Nanotech. Wrote a guest post on it over at Climate Etc a few months ago. Bit technical, but if you are interested, worth a gander. The rest of the energy storage waterfront was covered by essay California Dreaming in ebook Blowing Smoke. LiIon is NOT the way forward for utility scale grid storage.

      • RS, just make sure that you can get to work and back on half a charge or less.
        If you have to use heater, AC, or even headlights, range goes way down.
        If it’s hot or cold, battery efficiency and hence range goes way down.
        Don’t forget that over time, the amount of energy that battery can hold goes down. Way down after a few thousand charge discharge cycles.
        PS: If you are using Lithium batteries, you need to charge to 90% and discharge to 10% every time. Any other charge/discharge pattern will dramatically lower your batteries life expectancy.

    • MarkW

      I live close enuf to work that my present car is only producing heat for the last few miles. So no loss if I don’t heat. And AC? my AC gave out years ago. So head lights in the winter is the only negative.

      • Cold and hot batteries don’t produce as much power.
        Surprised an expert such as yourself didn’t know that already.

      • The all battery Chevy Bolt has an EPA range of 238 miles. That’s the good news. The bad news is that base model MSRP is $37,500 which is 50% more than a comparable internal combustion engine car.

    • My friend has been in Dubai on vacation for a week now and hasn’t seen the sun. It’s been clowdy every day. Solar + batteries would not work even there.

      • I live in the UAE. Another problem for solar panels is dust. This time of year you’d need to wash the panels daily.

  11. This craven search for energy storage solutions to the mess created by wind-solar “renewables” and energy policies made by arts students, remind me of the promises by hit1er and albert speer of “super-weapons” as the third reich approached annihilation. “No Guderian, there can’t possibly be a hundred russian divisions on germany’s eastern border”.

  12. Someone needs to convert the khw stored in batteries to energy equivalent of kilograms of TNT. Then ask the locals if storing that much energy in a medium prone to melt down if physically damaged is OK with them.

    • Someone needs to convert the khw stored in gasoline to energy equivalent of kilograms of TNT. Then ask the locals if storing that much energy in a medium prone to explode if physically damaged is OK with them.

      • Someone needs to stop with the ridiculous analogies and deal with reality. Lithium batteries DO catch fire, cannot be shipped on planes, and are not the second coming for the renewables industry. Batteries will not save energy from weather. There are far more defects than just storage. Far more.

      • Only if they are as ignorant of basic physics as you are.
        Gasoline can only burn in a very narrow range of concentrations. Outside that range, no explosion. Heck, no flame.

      • You can’t bring anything that is flamable on an airplane. That doesn’t mean that gasoline is likely to explode.

      • @ ReallySkeptical
        February 16, 2017 at 2:51 pm

        “And you can bring most cell phones on airplanes…”

        I recently took several flights on several different airlines. All of them made pre-flight announcements that Samsung Galaxy 7 cell phone were taboo and any on board had to be taken off of the plane.

      • MarkW writes “You can’t bring anything that is flamable on an airplane. That doesn’t mean that gasoline is likely to explode.”

        From the Wiki, the definition of explosion seems reasonable

        An explosion is a rapid increase in volume and release of energy in an extreme manner, usually with the generation of high temperatures and the release of gases.

        And an important aspect of an explosion is “a rapid increase in volume”. An implosion is the opposite and involves a rapid decrease in volume.

        Lithium batteries dont explode even though the popular press likes to say they do. They may short and become incredibly hot and set fire to things but they dont explode. Compare that with gasoline that oxidises, the gaseous product is way bigger in volume…and is an explosion which itself is highly destructive.

        Put me in a room with a shorting lithium ion battery over exploding gasoline any day.

      • ReallySkeptical;
        Someone needs to convert the khw stored in gasoline to energy equivalent of kilograms of TNT.

        And the next time an alarmist quantifies global warming in Hiroshimas, will you similarly call them out?

      • “And the next time an alarmist quantifies global warming in Hiroshimas, will you similarly call them out?”

        Probably not. But I would like to see it in terms of “exploding” batteries, too.

      • “ReallySkeptical February 16, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        You do know you can’t bring gasoline on airplanes, right?”

        Requires a very specific air – fuel mix AS WELL AS AN IGNITION SOURCE. These batteries, due to their chemistry, can and do EXPLODE all on their lonesome!

      • Gasoline only explodes if it is in a very narrow range of fuel to air. Almost impossible to get except in controlled circumstances.
        Otherwise gas just burns, and not that fast.

      • This is why people stand around and watch their Note 7s burn from a few feet away just the same as they stand a few feet away from their burning car?

  13. What I love is that, when these huge batteries try to supply energy at the needed flow, the heat they generate will require HUGE cooling to prevent damage to the batteries. The refrigeration needed for this ill-fated process will yield this stupid approach a total failure.

  14. Musk’s Gigafactory presumed the LiIon issue is mainly scale related cost. With billions of protable electronics devices using LiIon, that presumption is wrong. Issues include energy density (Tesla range anxiety) and lifetime (which depends among other things on rate of charge). After acquiring Solar City, Tesla is the best short I have seen since the subprime mortgage crisis. Maybe best ever.

    • The problem, I agree, with electric is the charging time. It is hard to imagine right now how you could do more than 400 miles per day cross country when (for us) 800 or 900 miles/day is normal. We like to drive a lot. But day to day, electric is really no problem unless you live in a different city than where you work.

      Maybe rent a car to go on vacation?

      • There is no fundamental problem with using electric cars as far as charging goes. In theory a car’s battery could be changed in say 5 mins but in practice we’re nowhere near it.

        All you need to do is have multiple chargeable elements (little batteries if you like) in the “battery” and each have only a little charge with lots and lots of them in parallel to form the whole battery. Then you will need to supply lots of energy quickly across all of them at once and you will have problems with heat and lots of small elements is likely less efficient in terms of space and weight but all these things are likely solvable.

        I hold out hope for electric cars and battery tech for the future.

      • Well you seem like a normal person. There are abnormal folks who will take their electric or semi-electric (i.e., Chevy Volt) on long trips and plan their stops where there are charging stations just to show that it can be done and then act like that is typical.

      • Maybe when I retire, I would have to do that. I might see things that I never wished to, like central Iowa.

        Maybe self driving electric cars that you can call on your cell phones will be what we choose in 10 or 20 years, so we won’t need to own cars. Maybe your gas vehicle would set in the garage for months until you needed it to get to Colorado…

        Many things are changing.

      • ReallySkeptical;
        Maybe rent a car to go on vacation?

        Yes! The real breakthrough will come with autonomous vehicles. Your car spends most of its not being not driven. If it is autonomous, it can drop you off at work, then go park itself in a specially designed parkade and plug itself in so that it is almost always being charged when not being driven. Then it will come pick you up again when you need it to. This will solve the charging problem for commuter vehicles, but not for long distance driving.

  15. Here in South Australia people are solving their energy storage problems by buying a diesel generator and a barrel of diesel. – That beats a battery every time

    • Actually, a piece of free advice (worth exactly what younpaid) that will make you love Musk in the near future. After his stupid Solar City merger, Tesla is the best short I have seen since just before the 2008 subprime crash. Better than Lehman. Better than Mozilla’s crap subprime lending company. Because Tesla is more grossly overvalued. And Trump is moving rapidly on multiple fronts.

  16. Energy storage is easy, just pump water uphill when you have electricity, then let it run downhill when you don’t. But ooops, every pumped storage project for the last 15 years has been held up in court by irate greenies and property owners. So, never mind!

    I actually store my excess solar energy out back, in my wood lot. It works really well and sucks up a lot of CO2 along with it. Fast growing poplar, when seasoned over a full year, burns almost as well as soft maple.

    • I store about six full cords per year of photosynthesized sunshine energy. Oaks (white, red, black, burr), hickory, hard maple. All deadfall. And my neighbors and friends are welcome to take as much more as they can for themselves. We lay in some birch and black tooth poplar for show. Been doing that on the Wisconsin dairy farm since 1985. 4wd diesel tractor, logging chains and tongs, mauls and wedges, two chain saws (you don’t hunt my farm without paying in sweat equity…), even a slick way to load wood into the cellar. Still working on clearing the 30 acre north woodlot devastated by straight line winds in a Tstorm about 4 years ago. One white oak took us a day to get out in sections. Bole was 3 feet diameter at the base. Blocked an acess trail to a deer stand. We counted rings for fun and to teach the juniors. About 150 years old. Uprooted. Stuff happens unrelated to climate change.

  17. Lets see if I have this right. The folk in LA are excited because they’ll be producing a whole 44.5 Mw from a simple cycle gas plant to serve a 20 Mw lithium storage plant that can produce a piddling 80 Mw-hr for four hours a day. To prevent blackouts? For whole 10 years of service life? How about when one of those lithium batteries blows burning down the whole storage facility with it (I’ve seen it happen)?

    Hmm… well if your really really worried about energy storage… an easier solution would be to build your plant to the Tennessee Valley region. Here you will enjoy 99.999 percent system reliability and you’ll have access to TVA’s Raccoon Mountain’s 1,652 Mw of proven water storage – which provides 36,344 Mw-hr of output at daily operating capacity for 22 hours per day. The storage unit was built in ’78 and TVA just install new turbine… so it should be good for another 30 years or so.

    And as bonus well throw in the Allen 1,000 Mw combined cycle gas plant my team recommended to the TVA board (just before I retired). The TVA board of directors approved the $975 million project. The combined cycle plant will be using GE’s high-efficiency H-Class gas turbines making it likely to be one of the most efficiently gas plants in the world.

    Boy… Do these west coast liberal think small or what?

    • Typos here… properly speaking the LA plant produces 80 Mh-hr per day over a 4 hour period. Likewise the Raccoon Mountain facility produces 33,344 Mw-hr per day over a 22 your period.

      Sorry folks… dyslexia.

  18. I love how these guys don’t think that chopping birds up or robbing plants of sun doesn’t cause environmental damage

    • Greenscaping means windmills everywhere, piles of dead birds, and solar panels covering vast tracts of land. Beautiful to behold. Naturally.

  19. Stay tuned for a “re-announcement” of this every year for the next 10 or so before it goes away.

    I stopped reading at “PhD, Finance”…

  20. “When it comes to renewables there’s virtually no carbon dioxide emission or risk of spills harming the environment. Electricity generated from renewables will be stored appropriately and reinforce the notion that our power grid really can go green.”
    This is obviously an inaccurate statement as liquid renewables are also an important part of the package for the greenies. Some of those liquid fuels are used for electricity generation and some are used for transportation fuels which emit massive CO-2 during production and use. The US Navy was required to purchase renewable biofuels at $26 per gallon for shipboard use. I worked on a project for months that was based on taking e-grass and through the pyrolysis process they were converting it to liquid fuels to run gas turbines to generate electricity. And these uninformed folks fail to realize that this generates lots of CO2 and cannot be spilled?? Did they forget that numerous RR cars full of ethanol fell into the river dumping ethanol into the waterway fouling the environment. Do they not know that ethanol cannot be transported with existing pipelines and the alternative means of movement is much less safe.
    Finally what do they have in mind for the “appropriate” storage of electricity. Intermittent, unreliable electricity is a flawed concept that requires other impractical and expensive storage and a greater grid system to compensate for its fatal flaw. Are they unaware of the failures of wind and solar in other countries with blackouts?

  21. Two words: Rate Base
    The heart of utility rate making is the Rate Base.
    They are allowed a return on equity on Net Plant and makes up much of their stock price and value.
    What goes into it?
    Generation, transmission, distribution and now…drum roll please storage.

  22. Hmmm. A massive Lithium-Ion battery mega-array in a closed building? What could go wrong? ….

    “Why lithium-ion batteries go up in flames”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/09/02/samsung-battery-lithium-ion-fire-burning-explosion/89782856/

    The money quote…

    “Lithium-ion batteries were also implicated in at least two fires in Tesla electric cars after they ran over road debris that damaged the battery pack under the vehicle. The car company added three underbody shields to the Model S to further protect the electric cars’ batteries from impacts.”

  23. So how much CO2 or god forbid carbon, will be spewed out to build all this to store wind and/or solar? Batteries are not easy to build. Plus they don’t last as long as other components used in hydro, nuclear, or fossil fuel generation. The math just doesn’t add up but I could be wrong.

  24. Assume you could solve the grid-scale battery problem. Assume you could equal or beat the current leader in storage recovery efficiency — pumped hydro at ~80% . Assume your battery had vastly higher energy density, cycle lifetime and safety properties than anything we have now. Assume all this could be done at a price per MWH equal or less than current peaking generators.

    So we’re all set for the wind/solar renewable revolution, right? Nope.

    Your best use of that wonderful grid storage technology is co-locate it with the most efficient baseload generation facility you have and run that sucker flat out between maintenance periods. Your saving is the elimination of less efficient peaking sources. Use slack demand times to charge the battery up and draw it back down to cover peak demand. Meanwhile keep your baseload system running at its most efficient setting. This is feasible if the storage cost is less than cost of an intermittent-use peaking facility of the same capacity.

    In fact, the better your grid storage battery is, the less sense it makes to couple it with intermittent renewable sources.

    What’s wrong with this picture? Yes you are burning fossil fuels which are finite. But what’s the point of leaving resources in the ground that future generations are never going to use?

    People get hung up on the “renewable” label without considering the timescale. Known uranium supplies are “sustainable” between now and the probable next major glacial epoch. If we go to breeder technology and add known thorium supplies then we’re totally sustainable through the next several major asteroid strikes. How much more sustainability do you need?

    Wind turbines optimistically have a service lifetime of 25 years. Replacing them requires steel, either new or recycled. So if we go to 100% renewable power and it’s not enough to keep the steel mills working, technical civilization ends in 50 years or less. Steel is the single most useful material human civilization has come up with in 5,000+ years of trying, and it’s only been available in quantity for the past 150 year or so — think about that.

    If you don’t like fossil fuels, your current choices are nuclear or a one way trip to the 18th century. Magic could come along, but it’s not the smart bet.

  25. It’s all well and good Tesla and others building giga factories but the current supply of lithium is fully utilized (approx 180kt/yr). The Tesla giga factory requires 180kt/yr (ie a doubling of world lithium production) to meet its needs, which is not going to happen. Current new mine supply is unlikely to exceed 25kt/yr at best. Whilst there are lithium deposits in the pipeline it takes up to a decade to bring on new mines.
    Kevin

  26. Battery recycling plants are so convient and easy to recycle batteries. Off the top of my head I can’t name one . Where do most of those batteries from smoke detectors go ? There has to be millions of them. And they last so long too ! Is it any wonder they start chirping at 2 am ? And where do you recycle the smoke detectors with a radioactive substance in them ?
    And the current choices of nuclear or a one way trip to the 18th century? Every time I see something from the nuclear accident in Japan, I become more disheartened. If one accident can be this big and so widespread, it’s the end of nuclear.

    • The earthquake and tsunami killed over 15,000 souls, with 2500 additional reported as missing. The nuclear plant failures killed noone, and caused a small fraction of the estimated $300 billion in damage from the tsunami.

      The design problems which made the plants susceptible to failure have been solved. It is the irrational fear of nuclear power which will prevent the plants from being rebuilt, not the actual threat they pose.

      • John, you are minimizing an extremely nearly out of control event. It’s six years later and the situation is no where under control. Checked the milk you feed your children lately ? Oh, and by the way, has every American nuclear power plant with the same design flaw been fixed ?
        Let me tell you what my big fear is, a New Madrid earthquake with multiple nuclear power plants failing and infrastructure so badly damaged that events really get out of hand.
        On the one hand climate change alludes to potential lose of life from a warming climate, to which there is no basis. Then on the other, you make light of 633 siverts/hour. Who knows where the core is, and further I don’t have the slightest idea how to contain it.
        You have no idea how dangerous this is on so many different levels. It will be the end for nuclear power.
        A simpleton idea that nobody died from the accident. It doesn’t have the power to kill a few thousand, it has the power to permanently end life as we know it.

      • ” it has the power to permanently end life as we know it.”

        Alarmist nonsense, it has nothing of the sort.

        Stop making stuff up.

      • The design flaw was the failure to protect the diesel-powered backup generators from an almost unimaginable tsunami. While still many years away from full decommissioning, the situation at Fukushima is far better now than it was 5 years ago. A recent report that radiation levels had risen was 99.9% fake news.

      • “A simpleton idea that nobody died from the accident.”
        An idea which happens to be true. Please provide evidence to refute this.
        I’m waiting…

  27. I always laugh that everyone calls the Tesla plant a gigafactory. What the heck defines a gigafactory? Is it bigger than the Boeing plant in Seattle?

    I think it’s just the Musk of Elon seeping into the minds of greens and distorting their perception.

  28. Dear Editor.

    There is a mistake in your headline.

    If its Lithium it should read “Energy storage set to go ‘Boom!’ In 2017″…

  29. Dave: The People’s Republic of California is requiring electricity distributions (and their customers) to purchase electricity storage capacity and electricity from such storage.

    “California’s energy storage mandate (AB 2514) added a twist to existing demand for energy storage. Adopted in 2010, the bill required California’s three largest power generating utilities to contract for an additional 1.3 GW of energy storage power generation (meeting certain criteria) by 2020, coming online by 2024.”

    • In other words, the only reason they are doing this is because they are required to do it. Not because it makes economic sense as our various trolls have been proclaiming.

      • The authors of the law believe that by creating an artificial market for energy storage they will create an situation where the technology and economy of scale will eventually deliver economic energy storage. California did this with subsidies for roof-top solar in the early 2000’s and developed an industry that is now viable without state subsidy. However, I don’t expect this to occur with most schemes for energy storage.

        In Europe, almost every dam in the Alps now has the ability to pump water upward when electricity from excess German wind power is almost free. The Swiss make a profit selling it back to the Germans when the wind isn’t blowing in winter. California probably has too little water to do this. There is some possibility that electricity could be economically stored as compressed air in salt caverns, but this hasn’t been demonstrated on large scale.

  30. “Energy Storage Set To Boom In 2017″

    My dear. Seen on reality TV ‘Oroville’.

    Go on, nothing new to see here.

  31. All I know is the history of mankind’s ability to store energy is rather pitiful, apart from in the form of calories and pumping water uphill and I’m still starting the car with the same lead acid battery Henry was plonking in the Model T. I remain the eternal optimist and ready to serve, but it would appear it has been tempered with a large dose of realism, unlike Gaia’s chosen ones, although I figure such is Gaia’s great ways.

  32. Batteries are rated in MWHours. That is an energy rating. MW is just a delivery rate. It says nothing about the amount of charge/energy stored.

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