SolRiver Invests in Korsail Energy Solar, Storage Development Pipeline

Nick Gazzolo

SolRiver Capital, a national renewable energy investment fund, has made a large development capital commitment to Korsail Energy. The investment enables Korsail to drive its 2 GW of rural community solar and storage projects to completion. SolRiver forged the development capital partnership based upon Korsail’s large pipeline of upcoming projects, strong track record and experienced team.

“Korsail has an impressive portfolio of high-quality solar and storage projects under development in various markets, which are a great fit for SolRiver’s investment platform,” says Nick Gazzolo, partner at SolRiver Capital. “Moreover, we’re backing Korsail’s passionate team that has over 500 MW of successful clean energy projects under their belt.”

Korsail focuses on developing community-oriented clean energy systems with landowners, utilities and the community that assist the local grid.

“SolRiver’s co-development partnership with Korsail provides the perfect example of value-added capital. Korsail will be able to tap into SolRiver’s extensive network across the country, and benefit from the SolRiver team’s deep expertise in complex energy markets,” explains Don Buchholz, VP of development at Korsail. “In addition, SolRiver’s investment provides Korsail the capital to fund the major development expenses and corporate overhead required to succeed with our transformative portfolio of projects.”

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Mitsubishi Power supplying California utility with 180MWh BESS for microgrids

Image: Mitsubishi Power.

California investor-owned utility (IOU) San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has chosen Mitsubishi Power as supplier of battery storage to four microgrids in its service area.

Mitsubishi Power announced the deal today, in which SDG&E has ordered utility-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) equipment totalling 39MW/180MWh for deployment across the four sites.

The microgrid BESS projects were given the approval of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in late June and are scheduled to go online in the middle of next year.

They will be connected to the grid in San Diego in the communities of Elliot, Clairemont, Paradise, and Boulevard, and will provide capacity and strengthen grid resiliency, particularly during peak electricity demand periods in summer.

California’s energy system comes under most stress during those summer months and CAISO, the operator of most of the state’s grid network and wholesale electricity market has long emphasised the important role energy storage is starting to play in mitigating the risks to energy supply.

Mitsubishi Power will deploy its Emerald energy storage solution, which includes an integrated plant control consisting of energy management system (EMS) and SCADA which oversee real-time BESS operation and provide a monitoring/supervisory control platform.

“We live in a time when growing threats from climate change and extreme heat waves can increasingly impact grid reliability. By expanding our energy storage portfolio, we are helping our region and critical community facilities become more resilient,” SDG&E’s director of advanced clean technology, Fernando Valero, said.

In March, SDG&E also ordered a 10MW/60MWh system from Mitsubishi Power for the utility’s Pala-Gomez Creek Energy Storage Project, which the technology provider said at the time would be its eighth California battery project.

Meanwhile, other recent energy storage activities for Mitsubishi Power include the company’s entry into the European market with four projects in Ireland adding up to 371MWh of capacity and an order for 425MWh of BESS co-located with solar PV plants in Chile from developer Innergex. Mitsubishi Power is also working on a 300GWh green hydrogen storage project in Utah, US, which will get US$504 million of loan funding from the government Department of Energy towards its cost.

In an interview with in April, Thomas Cornell, Senior VP Energy Storage Solutions at Mitsubishi Power Americas discussed the company’s approach to the energy storage market, including views on technologies, business strategies and how it expects the market to develop in the coming years.

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ESS Inc ramps iron flow battery production capacity to 500MWh, signs 12GWh Australia deal

ESS Inc’s Oregon factory premises hosted visitors including US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm a few days ago. Image: Business Wire.

Iron flow battery company ESS Inc has recognised revenues for the first time since it publicly listed, while also closing in on its targeted annual production capacity of 750MWh.

Alongside its latest quarterly financial results release yesterday, the Oregon, US-headquartered technology provider also announced a major deal for up to 12GWh of its systems to be deployed in a new partnership.

ESS Inc listed on the New York Stock Exchange in late 2021 after a SPAC merger. Having said from the outset that it would likely be a couple of years before it would be able to reach profitability, it has also not been able to recognise revenues until this quarter.

It registered revenues of US$686,000 for Q2 2022, relating to the sale and installation of three of its Energy Warehouse systems, which are behind-the-meter commercial and industrial (C&I) devices of 400kWh capacity each.

ESS Inc is the only manufacturer and holder of patents on its flow batteries, which use an iron and saltwater electrolyte in rugged systems that can deliver long-duration energy storage (4-12 hours’ duration) over many years without the degradation that lithium-ion batteries experience with use, in particular from frequent and deep cycling.

The company also talks up the fact that its electrolyte is non-toxic and uses more abundant raw materials than other flow batteries in their manufacture, with other providers tending to opt for vanadium dissolved in sulfuric acid, or in some cases, zinc-bromine. Alongside Energy Warehouse it also offers a grid-scale unit, Energy Center, which is a 3MW system.  

CEO Eric Dresselhuys said in a call with analysts to explain results that the iron flow battery units were deployed in collaboration with the customers and learnings from the installation process can be carried into future projects.

The CEO then talked up progress in a microgrid project for California investor-owned utility (IOU) San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), which will enable key community facilities to operate independently from the grid, in a region where the utility has had to enact Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) to limit damage potential from wildfires.

A couple of other customer deals were referred to by Dresselhuys in a company press release, including a solar-plus-storage project with utility Tampa Electric Company which it contracted for in the second quarter, and an Energy Warehouse delivered to installer Terrasol Energies for deployment at Sycamore International, a recycling company in Pennsylvania, US.

Dresselhuys also addressed the US Senate’s passing last Friday of the Inflation Reduction Act, which he called a “groundbreaking piece of legislation”.

The Act includes tax credits for standalone energy storage, extends tax credits for solar installations including when paired with storage, and offers tax incentives for domestic manufacturing, all of which could be applicable to ESS Inc or its customers. US President Joe Biden is expected to sign the act into law imminently.

Production capacity at ESS Inc’s factory was doubled during the quarter to 500MWh, with the ramping of the company’s second semi-automated production line.

The path to profitability remains a climb, with ESS Inc incurring operating expenses of US$24,862,000 during the quarter, meaning loss from operations stood at US$24,176,000 for the three months ending 30 June. For the first half of the year, that loss from operations figure stood at US$46,365,000, up from US$18,438,000 for H1 2021.

Overall net loss for H1 2022 was however considerably lower than in the same period last year: US$21,297,000 versus US$245,360, albeit much of that H1 2021 loss was associated with the costs of the SPAC merger transaction and redemption of warrants.

Yet the company still held total assets worth US$216.124 million at the end of Q2, a modest depletion from just over US$250 million at the end of last year.

CFO Amir Moftakhar said the company’s non-GAAP operating expenses were in line with expectations and cost reduction efforts were also going well, with the cost of manufacturing Energy Warehouses expected to be reduced by 80% by the end of the year.

The addition of a fully-automated production line in Q4 of this year will bring production capacity on an annual basis up to the targeted 750MWh, Moftakhar said.

ESS Inc expects its non-GAAP operating expenses to come in at about US$100 million by the end of the year, and to have “ample liquidity to run the business,” and end 2022 with cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments in excess of US$120 million.

Distribution and manufacture deal with Australia-based ESI

As mentioned earlier, ESS Inc also officially announced its strategic relationship with Energy Storage Industries Asia-Pacific (ESI). reported in early July that Australia-headquartered ESI is building an iron flow battery factory in Queensland, Australia.

At that time, Sword and Stone Capital Management, the investment group behind ESI, said that it had evaluated different technologies from different providers for more than four years before selecting ESS Inc’s iron flow battery.

The flow battery company said today that the partnership covers distribution and manufacture of devices using ESS Inc technology in Australia, New Zealand and the Oceania region. ESS Inc will deliver 70 Energy Warehouse units of 750kW/500kWh each during the rest of this year and in 2023.

At the same time, ESI will progress its construction of its own factory in Maryborough, Queensland, which will conduct final assembly of flow batteries from 2024, with targeted annual production capacity of 400MW by 2026. ESI has previously said that up to 80% of components could be sourced from within Queensland.

ESS Inc claimed the deal could result in the deployment of up to 12GWh of its technology.

“ESS is an ideal technology partner to meet the extraordinary demand for long-duration energy storage in Australia and the region. Safe and non-toxic ESS iron flow batteries are perfect in Australia’s harsh environment and the ability to locally source electrolyte provides insurance against supply chain risks and price escalation,” ESI managing director Stuart Parry said.

“The transition to clean energy requires new long-duration storage solutions and we look forward to working with ESS to meet the needs of an increasingly renewable energy grid.”

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Consumers Energy Powers Over 1,200 Mich. Public Buildings with Renewable Energy

Garrick Rochow

Consumers Energy and the State of Michigan have pledged to power 1,274 publicly owned government buildings exclusively with clean energy, a visible commitment by the state’s government and its largest energy provider to protect the planet.

“Consumers Energy and the State of Michigan are working together to power Michigan’s clean energy transformation,” says Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy’s president and CEO. “This commitment will accelerate our already industry-leading Clean Energy Plan to develop carbon-free energy sources here in Michigan.”

“As governor, I am proud that the State of Michigan is leading by example to reduce greenhouse gases, protect the planet, and lower energy costs,” states Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “We are proud to announce that Consumers Energy is joining BWL and DTE in an agreement with the State of Michigan to power state buildings with clean energy. This is a critical step that will help us reach the goal I proposed in 2020 to have all state buildings run on 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2025. Let’s keep working together to fight climate change with common-sense steps that will lower taxpayer energy costs and ensure that state operations have the energy they need to succeed.”

The State of Michigan has made a 20-year agreement with Consumers Energy to use clean energy at state government buildings for all departments throughout the Lower Peninsula.

This commitment supports roughly 68 MW of emission-free renewable energy in Michigan, which is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions produced by over 20,000 cars, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculations.

Consumers Energy is working to protect the planet, with a Clean Energy Plan to close all of its coal-fired plants by 2025 and become carbon neutral by 2040. The state government’s new commitment builds on the energy provider’s plans, and Consumers Energy will meet the state’s pledge by adding new solar power plants in Michigan over the next three to four years.

Earlier this year, General Motors agreed to power three Michigan plants with 100% green energy supplied by Consumers Energy.

“Consumers Energy is able to deliver reliable and affordable energy while protecting the planet. This partnership will further support Michigan being a leader in clean energy,” Rochow adds.

Consumers Energy’s Renewable Energy Program provides businesses a flexible, turnkey solution to use solar and wind energy to achieve their sustainability goals and protect the planet for future generations. Their enrollment not only advances greening Michigan’s grid, but also supports Michigan jobs created through building and operating renewable energy projects.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy.

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GAF Energy Expands Timberline Solar Roof to Florida Market

GAF Energy, a Standard Industries company and a solar roofing provider in North America, has launched the sales of its Timberline Solar roof to Florida residents. Timberline Solar is a system to directly integrate solar technology into traditional roofing processes and materials.

This new system incorporates a nailable solar shingle, the Timberline Solar Energy Shingle (ES), which is assembled at GAF Energy’s U.S. manufacturing and R&D facility.

“We’re thrilled to launch our Timberline Solar roof in Florida through our roofing partners in the state. Florida residents now have access to our award-winning solar roof,” says Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy. “Solar roofs are the future of clean energy, and Timberline Solar is in a class of its own: reliable, durable, cost-effective, easy to install, and aesthetically superior. We’re excited to bring the next generation of solar to Florida.”

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EIA Finds Nearly 20 Percent of Planned PV Delayed in First Half of 2022

Power plant developers plan to install 17.8 GW of utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) generating capacity in 2022, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) June 2022 Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory. Over the first six months of 2022, 4.2 GW of that capacity came online, less than half of what the industry had planned to install in those months. From January through June 2022, about 20% of planned solar photovoltaic capacity was delayed.

EIA’s preliminary data from January through June 2022 show that PV solar installations were delayed by an average of 4.4 GW each month, compared with average monthly delays of 2.6 GW during the same period last year. In most cases, reported delays are for six months or less.

Various factors could cause delays, including broad economic factors, such as supply chain constraints, labor shortages and high prices of components, and factors specific to electric generator projects, such as obtaining permits or testing equipment.

In February, the United States extended tariffs on imported crystalline silicon solar products from China, which raised the tariff-rate quota from 2.5 GW to 5 GW and excluded bifacial panels from the extension of duties. In April, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced an anti-dumping circumvention investigation of solar cells and modules imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, countries that allegedly use parts made in China that otherwise would be subject to tariffs.

In June, the President took executive action to advance the deployment of solar in the United States. He authorized the easing of import duties for a 24-month period for solar cells and modules imported from the countries under investigation and invoked the Defense Production Act to expand domestic production of solar modules. Any determination that the Department of Commerce reaches in its investigation will apply after this 24-month period ends.

In EIA’s monthly survey, they asked respondents who plan to bring generators online in the near future which stage their projects are in: testing, construction, permitting or planning. Most of the projects that will come online in the next 18 months are under construction. About 1.9 GW of solar capacity installations are projects under construction that have been delayed but are still scheduled to come online in 2022; another 1.7 GW under construction have been delayed to 2023.

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Burns & McDonnell providing EPC services for RWE’s Texas Waves II BESS

The project is located in Scurry County, Texas. Image: RWE / Burns & McDonnell.

Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm Burns & McDonnell is providing its services for Texas Waves II, a 30MW battery energy storage system (BESS) by RWE.

The 30MW, one-hour system in Scurry County will provide load shifting and grid support services according to a press release. It is expected to come online in late 2022 according to project owner RWE, the Germany-based global energy firm.

Burns & McDonnell described the project as a ‘standalone’ BESS, while in a press release last month that announced the installation of the project’s inverters, RWE said the unit was co-located with the existing Pyron Wind Farm. The EPC firm did say that the battery would charge from the wind farm.

Chris Ruckman, vice president of energy storage at Burns & McDonnell, said: “Adding battery storage in the ERCOT market will be a valuable asset for RWE as they continue supporting their customers with clean, reliable energy.”

ERCOT stands for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid operator for the majority of the Lone Star State.

Burns & McDonnell said the BESS consists of owner-provided CATL EnerOne battery racks populated with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery modules. CATL, based in China, is the largest lithium-ion battery manufacturer in the world today by units sold.

The EPC firm will provide all engineering services for the project, and will install the racks, medium-voltage power station (MVPS) and balance of system (BOS) equipment. The work also includes modifying the existing substation, including installation of a new 34.5-kV vacuum breaker, interconnection details, protective relaying and metering upgrades.

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Ford Signs Massive 650 MW Solar PPA with DTE Energy in Michigan

Solar panels at one of DTE’s current MIGreenPower solar projects

DTE Energy is adding 650 MW of new solar energy capacity in Michigan for Ford Motor Co. by 2025. The power purchase agreement (PPA) is a strategic investment in Michigan through DTE’s MIGreenPower program. It is one of the largest renewable energy purchases in the U.S. from a utility. According to data collected by the Solar Energy Industries Association, once installed, the arrays will increase the total amount of installed solar energy in Michigan by nearly 70%.

“This unprecedented agreement is all about a greener and brighter future for Ford and for Michigan,” says Jim Farley, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co. “Today is an example of what it looks like to lead…to turn talk into action.”

“We want to congratulate Ford Motor Co. for its environmental leadership and commitment to clean energy,” states Jerry Norcia, chairman and CEO of DTE Energy. “Ford was the first large industrial customer to enroll in our MIGreenPower program in 2019 and we thank Ford for its continued commitment to using MIGreenPower to help decarbonize its operations and meet its sustainability goals.”

Ford is purchasing carbon-free electricity through DTE’s MIGreenPower program, which is among the largest voluntary renewable energy programs in the country. To date, the company has more than 600 businesses enrolled in the program along with more than 62,000 residential customers. On an annual basis, MIGreenPower customers have enrolled 2.8 million MWh of clean energy in the program. DTE is Michigan’s largest producer of renewable energy and the company plans to add thousands of MWs of new clean energy projects to support the program.

“I want to congratulate DTE Energy and Ford Motor Company for taking this significant step to increase our state’s solar energy production and to position Michigan as a leader in climate action,” comments Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Efforts like this are the reason Michigan had the best job growth for energy-sector jobs in the country last year, which will help to advance our state’s decarbonization goals, create good-paying jobs and strengthen our economy.”

“As outlined in our state’s MI Healthy Climate Plan, we must take immediate, tangible steps to mitigate climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so we can achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050,” continues Gov. Whitmer. “Steps like this collaboration between Ford and DTE are helping to move our entire state forward, building on our automotive legacy while protecting clean air and water for future generations.”

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Australian flow battery player Redflow halts stock trading as it prepares capital raise

Redflow CEO and managing director Tim Harris with the company’s flow battery units. Image: Redflow

Australia-based zinc-bromine flow battery company Redflow, which has a market cap of nearly US$60 million, has halted stock market trading as it prepares a capital raise.

The ASX-listed company announced the halt today (11 August) which will continue until Monday 15 August or when it announces the capital raise, whichever is sooner. It said the stop in trading was necessary to make the announcement.

It has not yet revealed how much it is planning to raise but past moves, its current size and recent statements may give a rough idea.

The company has a market capitalisation of UA$81 million (US$57 million) at the time of writing, and in July 2021 it raised AU$5 million from corporate finance firm New Technology Capital Group.

And in an investor presentation released concurrently with the trading halt announcement, it said it requires AU$6 million in additional capex to ramp up its Thailand production facility from 30MWh (end 2022) to 80MWh by the end of 2023.

The presentation outlined the value proposition for non-lithium batteries for long duration energy storage (LDES) and, more specifically, its own zinc bromine technology.

The company claimed to be a leader in medium duration energy storage with 250-plus active deployments with experience in ‘multi-MWh’ scale, although its largest ever deployment is 2MWh, ordered in March last year by a waste-to-energy facility in California.

It cited trade group LDES Council’s figures that say global cumulative LDES (defined as eight hours-plus duration) deployments could reach 85-140TWh by 2040, and said the market is increasingly looking beyond lithium-ion to do this. It cited 1,124% and 106% increases in lithium and cobalt prices respectively over the last year and a half, versus just 48% and 29% respective rises for zinc and bromine.

And within the flow battery space, Reflow claims its technology has an energy and power density up to three times higher than iron flow, vanadium and other zinc-based batteries.

Its main markets to-date have been Australia and the US and it serves these from a manufacturing facility in Thailand which is set to end 2022 with a 30MWh annual production capacity. It expects this to increase to 80MWh by end-2023, for which the AU$6 million will be required.

Last week, the company announced that it had won a tender to provide 180kWh of battery storage as main supplier to the Australian government’s Bureau of Meteorology emissions reduction and reliability project. Redflow will supply 18 of its 10kWh ZBM batteries to supply power for critical infrastructure.

Redflow saw revenue of AU$1,174,242 (US$833,000) in the second half of 2021, a 172% increase, as covered by

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International investors from Norway and Canada enter UK energy storage market

Norwegian renewable energy investor Magnora and Canada’s Alberta Investment Management Corporation have announced moves into the UK battery storage market.

More accurately, Magnora has entered the UK solar market too, with an initial investment into a 60MW solar PV project and a 40MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) project.

It will develop the projects to a ready-to-build stage together with its local development partner, and then divest them.

While Magnora declined to disclose who its development partner is, it noted that it had a 10-year track record of developing energy projects in the UK.

Over the next 12 months, the investor will optimise the environmental and technical elements of the project, secure planning consents and cost-efficient grid connections, and prepare the sales process, it noted.

Magnora pointed to the UK’s 2050 net zero target as well as the Committee for Climate Change’s suggestion that 40GW of solar PV by 2030 is likely, as reasons the UK market is attractive to international investors.

Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) and investment manager Railpen have jointly acquired a 94% stake in UK battery storage company, Constantine Energy Storage (CES).

CES develops grid-scale batteries and is planning to invest more than £400 million (US$488.13 million) to build out a pipeline of projects in the UK.

These projects are currently under development by Constantine Group subsidiary Pelagic Energy Developments.

“Constantine Group has a long track record of developing and managing renewable energy platforms,” said Graham Peck, investment director at Constantine.

“During this time, we have seen increasing deployment of renewable energy projects creating a large market opportunity and inherent infrastructure demand for energy storage. Through our subsidiary Pelagic Energy, CES has a robust project pipeline of large and well-located battery projects, which are deliverable in the near term, and thus provide a secure pipeline of best-in-class assets.”

Railpen has over £37 billion assets under management on behalf of several pension schemes.

AIMCo meanwhile, had $168.3 billion assets under management as of 31 December 2021. The institutional investment manager was set up in 2008 and operates at arms-length from the Government of Alberta, investing globally on behalf of 32 pension, endowment and government funds.

This story originally appeared as two separate items on our UK sister site Solar Power Portal. Read the full version of the Magnora story here, read the full version of the AIMCo-Railpen-Constantine Energy story here.

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