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california

US consortium awards fast-charge tech contract

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 08:46 -- Hugh Finzel

California-based lithium-ion battery manufacturer Zenlabs Energy has been awarded a US$4.8 million contract by the US Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) to develop “low-cost, fast-charge battery technology” for electric vehicles (EVs).

The contract will fund a 30-month project— which started in March 2019— that aims to develop novel cell designs and production methods to improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries for automotive purposes.

“The low-cost/fast-charge technology development contract award with Zenlabs is part of USABC's broad battery technology research and development programme," said USCAR executive director Steve Zimmer.

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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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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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Tesla to acquire Maxwell Technologies

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Dr Franz Fink

Tesla is to acquire Maxwell Technologies, in a deal that values the California-based ultracapacitor firm at around US$218 million.

Maxwell said on 4 February the companies had entered into a definite merger agreement under which Tesla would buy the company's 45.9 million shares for $4.75 a share in an all-stock transaction. The deal represented a 55% premium to the share price, which closed at $3.07 on 1 February.

The merger is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of 2019 or shortly after, subject to the successful tender and exchange of shares, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

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Utility bankruptcy blow for California battery storage?

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Plans for four major energy storage projects in California could be under threat after the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The California Public Utilities Commission had granted approval for the lithium-ion projects— totalling 567.5 megawatts/2,270 megawatt-hours—to replace retiring gas generators.

The proposals included a 300MW/1,200MWh system— billed as “the largest system of its kind in the world— to be provided by Vistra Energy and located on the site of the Moss Landing Power Plant.

However, PG&E said on 29 January it was seeking court approval to access US$5.5 billion in debtor-in-possession financing to support operations and ongoing safety initiatives.

PG&E had not responded to questions from BEST Battery Briefing about the future of the battery projects at the time of going to press.

The utility cited lawsuits from victims of Californian wildfires and tens of billions of dollars in potential liabilities when it announced it planned to file for bankruptcy.

State investigators recently determined that the utility’s equipment was not to blame for a 2017 fire that caused deaths in northern California wine country.

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Utility bankruptcy blow for California battery storage?

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Plans for four major energy storage projects in California could be under threat after the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The California Public Utilities Commission had granted approval for the lithium-ion projects— totalling 567.5 megawatts/2,270 megawatt-hours—to replace retiring gas generators.

The proposals included a 300MW/1,200MWh system— billed as “the largest system of its kind in the world— to be provided by Vistra Energy and located on the site of the Moss Landing Power Plant.

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Chevron invests in Natron’s ‘Prussian Blue’ technology

Mon, 01/21/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

The investment arm of oil and gas group Chevron is investing in the ‘Prussian Blue electrode sodium-ion’ technology under development by Californian energy storage provider Natron Energy.

Investment leader Jesse Teichman said the “high-power density and fast charging time of Natron’s unique battery technology make it an attractive storage solution for the EV stations of the future”.

Natron’s technology involves using Prussian blue dye pigments in both the positive and negative electrode. The dye itself has “a unique structure and composition that allow it to store energy much more rapidly and reversibly than other types of battery electrodes”, meaning that the battery tech “can be fully charged and discharged tens of thousands of times at very high power”.

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Luminant turns on ‘biggest BESS’ in Tex

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

A 10-megawatt lithium-ion battery energy storage system in Texas has started operations as the state’s biggest such facility to date.

Power generation business Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra Energy, said the 42-megawatt-hour BESS is the seventh largest in the US.

The BESS is on the site of Luminant's 180-megawatt Upton 2 Solar Power Plant in Upton Count. The battery system captures excess solar energy produced at Upton 2 during the day and can release the power in late afternoon and early evening, when Luminant said demand by system operator the Electric Reliability Council of Texas is highest.

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Joint Venture for pipeline solar-plus-storage projects

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

8minutenergy Renewables, JP Morgan, and “an affiliate of Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners”, announced that they have entered a joint venture to support 8minutenergy’s 10.7GW pipeline of utility solar-plus-storage projects.

The joint venture will, along with investment from 8minutenergy’s owner and CEO, Tom Buttgenbach, will raise over US$200 million in capital commitments.

“We have been the largest and most successful solar developer in California and have expanded our cost leadership across the US”, commented Buttgenbach. “A testament to our low-cost leadership is the 420MW Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar plant in Nevada, which at 2.3 cents/kWh fixed for 25 years, holds the record for the lowest-price solar PPA in the nation.

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Battery storage to replace retiring gas generators in Golden State

Mon, 11/19/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has granted approval for four energy storage projects— totalling 567.5MW/2,270MWh— which the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) utility will use to replace retiring gas generators.

The four lithium-ion battery projects include a 300MW/1,200MWh system— billed as “the largest system of its kind in the world— to be provided by Vistra Energy and located on the site of the Moss Landing Power Plant, and a 182.5MW/730MWh system— which shall become the world’s second largest— to be provided by Tesla.

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