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Musk hits out at Panasonic over Tesla battery supply

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 09:10 -- Hugh Finzel

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has blamed “lower-than-expected” battery manufacture from Panasonic for disrupting production of Tesla’s Model 3 electric vehicles (EVs).

Musk said in a post on Twitter that Panasonic’s battery cell lines at the ‘Gigafactory 1’ facility in Nevada amounted to about 24GWh per year— lower than the expected 35GWh— and had “been a constraint on Model 3 output since July (2018)”.

Musk added “Tesla won’t spend money on more capacity until existing lines get closer to 35GWh theoretical”.

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New York challenge to boost EVs and battery storage

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 13:26 -- Hugh Finzel

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has launched an ‘Innovation Challenge’ to help spur development of a “backbone” grid-linked charging network across the state to expand the use of electric vehicles and energy storage.

The NYPA challenge has been launched in collaboration with the Urban Future Lab (UFL) at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, and will advance Governor Andrew Cuomo’s clean energy and jobs agenda.

NYPA will invest US$250 million up to 2025 in order to install “a robust DC fast charging backbone infrastructure throughout the state”, so as to catalyse widespread EV adoption.  

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Draft US law calls for energy storage tax breaks

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 13:10 -- Hugh Finzel
US Congressman Mike Doyle

Draft legislation has been introduced to the US House of Representative that would see energy storage receive the same investment tax credit as solar installations.

The ‘Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act’, introduced by Pennsylvania representative Mike Doyle (pictured), would incentivise both utility-scale energy storage projects and small battery systems for residential use.

The current tax code allows an investment tax credit for energy storage when it is installed in conjunction with a solar energy system; this bill would extend the investment tax credit for energy storage investments in a wider range of applications and provide greater assurance to prospective investors.

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Navitas to expand production in Michigan

Wed, 04/10/2019 - 12:09 -- Hugh Finzel
Navitas Starlifter battery

US battery firm Navitas is expanding production of its Starlifter line of lithium-ion forklift batteries from a new manufacturing facility in Michigan.

Navitas has secured a 100,000 sq ft building to boost production by an additional 5,000 systems annually, in line with the company’s reported “almost 200% year-over-year growth in revenues”.  

The new facility is near Navitas’ existing 48,000 sq ft R&D and manufacturing facility in Ann Arbor.

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Utility mulls future with hydrogen/batteries

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 10:24 -- Hugh Finzel

A strategy paper from Southern California Gas Company (SCGC) has highlighted the importance of varied methods of energy storage to ensuring the West Coast state meets its “ambitious environmental goals”.

“California already produces more renewable energy than residents and business can use on most days,” meaning that new solutions to energy storage are required to manage fluctuations in supply and demand, the paper said.

But the paper suggests that while batteries will continue to be used to manage short-term demand for energy, they “are not well suited for long-term and seasonal energy storage”.

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Hawaiian approval for six solar-plus-storage systems

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 10:05 -- Hugh Finzel

The Hawaiian Public Utilities Commission has approved contracts for six solar-plus-storage projects, totalling 274MW/998MWh, as the price of power generated from such projects falls below traditional generation methods.

The approval comes as the cost of solar projects fully backed by four-hour batteries has fallen below the regulators’ threshold of US$0.10 per kWh, which the Commission said is “cheaper than both gas peaker plants and Hawaiian Electric Industries’ current cost of fossil fuel generation, much of which is petroleum based”.

This announcement comes less than 18 months after AES Distributed Energy started work on a 20MW/100MWh storage system on Kauai island, at which point the cost of power for solar-plus-storage stood at $0.11 per kWh.

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Florida plans ‘world’s largest’ battery

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 09:45 -- Hugh Finzel

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is planning to build “the world’s largest solar-powered battery” to replace a pair of 1970’s-era natural gas power generators in the state.

The 409MW/900MWh Manatee Energy Storage Centre (MESC), which will receive power from FPL’s existing solar power plant in Manatee County, is expected to start operation in late 2021.

FPL is also planning a series of smaller battery installations, solar power plants, and efficiency upgrades to existing combustion turbines across the state, in order to replace 1,638MW of generating capacity.

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Swiss investor banks on storage for California

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 14:39 -- Hugh Finzel
SUSI Partners logo

Swiss investment manager Susi Partners has acquired a 50% share of Macquaries Green Investment Group’s portfolio of behind-the-meter lithium-ion battery storage projects in California.

The more than 90 individual battery storage facilities in the western Los Angeles basin have a combined capacity of 63MW/340MWh.

“This is Susi’s first investment in the US,” said chief information officer Marco van Daele. “The state of California is pursuing the explicit goal of completely CO2-free power generation by 2045.”

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Bullish Aqua Metals set for lead production boost

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 14:56 -- John Shepherd

US lead-acid battery recycler Aqua Metals has told shareholders the company is on course for an estimated 25% increase in lead metal production after completing the first phase of a capital programme.

The company said the production increase would come from its first full production run of lead bullion from a newly commissioned third kettle— used to process the hard lead from the batteries it breaks.

A new filter press has also been installed and started up and a new centrifuge has been installed, Aqua Metals confirmed on 28 March.

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Scientists use AI to predict battery lifespan

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 12:57 -- John Shepherd
Stanford graduate students Nicholas Perkins (left), Peter Attia and Norman Jin are among the researchers team. Photo: Dean Deng.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to “accurately predict” the remaining useful life of lithium-ion batteries before they start to wane, according to new research.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the Toyota Research Institute, said their work could speed up battery development and improve manufacturing to help new designs get to market faster.

Report co-lead author Peter Attia said potential applications of the research included shortening the validation time for new chemistries.

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