Dominion Energy launches RFP for solar and storage projects in Virginia

The projects will help the utility reach its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, part of which is deploying 3.1GW of energy storage by 2035.
There is one new aspect of this year’s request for proposals (RFPs) in the solar category, as Dominion Energy is looking for proposals within its service territory for non-residential rooftop solar development or mechanically complete projects, specifically on commercial, industrial and government-owned structures.
Specifically, the company is looking for rooftop solar projects with a capacity of less than 3MW in Virginia’s urban centres to reduce the load on the electric grid.
For other solar proposals, the company is seeking both utility-scale projects with a capacity of more than 3MW and distributed projects that are 3MW or less. Dominion Energy will only consider facilities located in Virginia. For distributed projects that are 3MW or less, the facilities must be located within Dominion Energy Virginia’s service territory, where location grid benefits are provided to its customers.
Additionally, proposals for mechanically complete projects that are 5MW or less will be accepted as in last year’s request for proposals.
Other categories in the RFP include new onshore wind projects, new onshore wind projects co-located with BESS and new standalone BESS.
See the full version of this article on PV Tech.

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CATL unveils ‘five-year zero degradation’ BESS with 6.25MWh per container

The foremost among them is that the lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries inside will not suffer any degradation over the first five years, the company said.
This has been achieved thanks to biomimetic SEI (solid electrolyte interphase) and self-assembled electrolyte technologies, which CATL said has ‘cleared roadblocks for the movement of lithium ions’.
Tener also packs 6.25MWh of energy storage capacity into a 20-foot container, the highest Energy-Storage.news is aware of for a lithium-ion BESS unit, significantly above the 5MWh-per-unit that appears to have become the standard for BESS products from China.
The batteries inside use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) electrode chemistry and have an energy density of 430Wh/L, higher than the industry range of 140-330Wh/L.
CATL said the 6.25MWh figure reduced the product’s footprint by 30% at the unit level and 20% for the overall project, using the example of a 200MWh project.
Many companies have launched 20-foot products with 5MWh per unit in the last few years, including Sungrow, Trina Storage and Hithium.
CATL is the biggest manufacturer of lithium-ion battery cells in the world, and using in-house built cells (as Trina and Hithium do too) is key to designing systems with such high energy densities.
In the energy storage market, CATL is sometimes described as a system integrator but also – perhaps primarily – sells its BESS units to other system integrators who will package those into their turnkey BESS project and software solutions. One such deal was announced with US company FlexGen in 2022.
This is partially down to political barriers to applying energy management system (EMS) software made in China for projects in the US and elsewhere. That political pressure even led to physical CATL BESS units being disconnected and then ultimately decommissioned by US utility Duke Energy, albeit at a military base.
Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 2nd Energy Storage Summit Asia, 9-10 July 2024 in Singapore. The event will help give clarity on this nascent, yet quickly growing market, bringing together a community of credible independent generators, policymakers, banks, funds, off-takers and technology providers. For more information, go to the website.

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Equinor launches ERCOT projects totalling 220MWh, targets ‘higher end’ of 4-8% returns

The two projects are the 10MW/20MWh Sunset Ridge BESS in Frio County, near San Antonio, and the 110MW/200MWh Citrus Flatts BESS in Cameron County, on the border with Mexico in the southwest.
Construction has already started on Sunset Ridge and will connect to the distribution network of non-profit utility South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC) in the second half of 2024. Citrus Flatts meanwhile is expected to reach commercial operations on the network of American Electric Power (AEP) in early 2026.
Both will operate on a fully merchant basis with Equinor’s trading arm Danske Commodities providing optimisation services, meaning it will take charge of the BESS’ activity in the electricity market. Real base project returns are expected to be at the higher end of its guided range for renewables of 4-8%.
BESS projects in the ERCOT market typically operate on a merchant basis – without long-term contracted revenues – thanks to its highly lucrative ancillary service and energy trading opportunities. BESS earned more than US$3,000 per MW per day during Storm Heather in January thanks to over-forecast energy demand, according to market intelligence firm Modo Energy.
Some tolling options have started to emerge however, whereby trading and optimisation firms will pay project owners a fixed fee to play a BESS into the market – effectively renting the BESS from the owner, guaranteeing them a minimum income. Some developers have cited this as a major boost to deployments, like Available Power’s president, Ben Gregory, in an interview at the Energy Storage Summit USA last month (Premium access).
However, penetration of third-party optimisation in the ERCOT market is lower than in the UK, where basically all BESS projects are optimised by a separate company. Part of this is down to how lucrative the market is – currently at least, with market saturation expected – but also that many project owners in Texas have in-house energy trading expertise.
Citrus Flatts was acquired by Virginia-headquartered East Point Energy from developer Black Mountain Energy Storage (BMES), one of the most active BESS project developers in the ERCOT market.
Equinor is also a 45% owner of UK BESS developer Noriker Power following an investment in 2021 and brought its first project there online in January, as reported by our sister site Solar Power Portal.

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Fluence to build 35MW/100MWh BESS for Engie in the Netherlands

The BESS will shift excess energy to peak demand periods and provide flexibility to the energy system in the Netherlands.
Paul McCusker, SVP & president EMEA for Fluence said: “Positioning battery storage alongside different types of generation technologies strengthens their interplay to maintain grid stability as the energy transition accelerates.”
The energy storage market in the Netherlands has struggled to get off the ground compared to most other countries in Western Europe. Virtually no new BESS capacity is coming online this year according to the owner of the two largest operational units in the country, SemperPower, in an interview earlier this year (Premium).
Challenges are primarily around a highly congested grid, energy storage paying grid fees as both consumer and producer, and a relative lack of familiarity with energy storage.
Falling BESS prices have helped the business case, a separate market source told Energy-Storage.news, at Solar Media’s Energy Storage Summit EU in London in February (Premium access).
Fluence is one of the largest BESS providers globally, recently winning projects in the UK, Australia and getting the go-ahead to start shipping units to a site in Germany for transmission system operator (TSO) TransnetBW.

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EU Battery Passport ‘will help reduce procurement and recycling costs’

The regulation takes a phased approach to introducing requirements for anyone placing a battery in the EU market to be accountable for and manage everything from carbon footprint and recycled content to safety and performance.
The digital ‘passport’ is the critical technology to enable tracking and transparency around those metrics, putting QR codes into batteries that give access to several levels of data.
It will also be the EU’s first ‘digital product passport’, which means that what happens with batteries could be adapted or replicated for many other industries.
The Battery Passport Consortium, the team behind the rollout, published its first technical guidance on the scheme around a year ago. It highlighted which data metrics will need to be included and to what level of detail.  
This week, the consortium published the first-ever study into the value of the Battery Passport. It claimed the study comprehensively analyses the passport’s benefits. It also examined potential challenges its implementation or interpretation may pose for stakeholders, from consumers to policymakers and industry.
Supported by funding from Germany’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), the value assessment’s presentation of 12 use cases for the Battery Passport along the value chain is supplemented by an in-depth analysis of three among them.
Of the dozen identified use cases, seven could be enabled by the currently mandated data collection and display requirements, while the remaining five would likely need further regulatory changes or support to enable them.
Use cases that could immediately be enabled include reliable communication of ESG data, better-informed purchase decisions, and more precise risk assessment for transporting used batteries.
Meanwhile, use cases that go beyond current regulatory requirements and could be unlocked by the passport include increased end-of-life battery collection, better industry benchmarking, and informed policy design.
Passport will impact how BESS industry thinks about procurement, performance and end-of-life
As mentioned above, battery performance will also be among the metrics displayed on each device’s QR code.
This will enable better residual value determination, and it means that procurement costs for ‘independent operators’ could be reduced by 2-10%, including technical testing costs.
Information being made available on individual battery composition and dismantling could lead to a reduction of pre-processing and treatment costs ahead of recycling by 10-20%, the study found.
Richard Wagstaff, head of procurement at energy storage investor-developer Gore Street Energy Storage Fund, participated in a panel discussion on the Battery Passport from an end-user perspective at the 2024 edition of the Energy Storage Summit EU, hosted in February by our publisher Solar Media.
Wagstaff said that implementing the passport may be complex and that his company would welcome guidance on timelines for implementation. UK-based Gore Street invests in projects in EU markets that include Germany and Ireland.
That said, Wagstaff said, Gore Street has a mandate from its shareholders to invest within strict sustainability criteria, and the digital passport may be very welcome in supporting those standards and making sustainable investments more competitive.
One thing to note there is that the EU Batteries Regulation directive puts the responsibility for the battery lifecycle on the ‘economic operator’ that places the battery into the EU market – so that doesn’t necessarily mean the buck stops with the manufacturer or distributor.
The new value assessment helps quantify what Energy-Storage.news heard from another panellist at the event, Maher Chebbo of Univers, that the passport will aid battery procurement, together with performance and durability assessments.
The metrics the passport provides will enable a more accurate assessment of required Capex and Opex costs, which will be useful for proving and assessing bankability, especially with so many new battery factories springing up around the world, said Chebbo, who is chair of a European Commission group on the digital technologies and use cases needed to make European-made batteries and the European value chain more competitive.  
In an interview at the EU Summit, Kevin Shang, upstream analyst for the energy storage industry at Wood Mackenzie, told ESN Premium that the overall Batteries Regulation will drive change in how battery end-of-life and recycling are thought about.  

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Friday Briefing: Tapping the power of DERs, and not a total eclipse of the BESS

One remarkable takeaway, apart from the fact that, with 10GW of installations, it was a record-breaking year for Europe’s industry, was that the market was split roughly 7:3 in favour of residential battery storage versus utility-scale. Meanwhile, commercial and industrial (C&I) remains a small wedge between those two segments.
Yesterday, we reported on figures from Australia researched and analysed by consultancy Sunwiz. As the name suggests, Sunwiz specialises in solar PV but, like many others, has branched out into energy storage over the past several years.
Like Europe – and the US – the Australian energy storage market had a record-breaking 2023. Sunwiz described it as the ‘year of the big battery,’ with around 1.4GWh of grid-scale storage deployed and a mammoth 12GWh under construction at the end of December.
In the medium term, it looks like the rest of the 2020s could even be the ‘decade of the big battery’ in Australia, but the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has modelled that into the 2030s, residential and other distributed installs will take over. Residential was no slouch in 2023 either, with more than 650MWh of installs, including retrofits at existing PV systems.
Indeed, with Australia’s rooftop solar PV market among the biggest in the world, certainly in terms of per capita adoption rates, it is both logical and yet still a little bit surprising that of around 6GWh of batteries installed to date, a slim majority of that cumulative capacity comes from residential, 46% to utility-scale’s 44%.
Back in 2015, it was predicted that distributed solar PV would “eat the lunch of large-scale PV” in Australia, Sunwiz CEO Warwick Johnston tells Energy-Storage.news: “which it has.”
Johnston predicts distributed storage will do the same.
“It might be that there are some years of stimulated development coming and a huge pipeline as well [of large-scale battery storage]. But I think there’s going to be a lot more distributed storage because the economic risk is so low, and consumer appetites and benefits from those batteries are even decoupled from the pure financials as well,” Johnston says.
“We’ve got a window of time where there’ll be a lot of rollout [of big batteries] before it probably settles, swinging back towards the distributed scale.”
It’s interesting to think of what the potential of those home batteries could be. If we broaden out the conversation to include other distributed energy resources (DERs), such as home EV chargers, home solar PV, heat pumps, and more, aggregation into virtual power plants (VPPs) becomes an interesting proposition.
Once these DERs reach deployment levels comparable to or exceeding grid-scale resources, they could offer comparable energy and power services to large-scale resources but may have the advantage of being placed on the distribution grid.
Yesterday, our colleagues over at PV Tech reported on a new study on California from a US-based consultancy, The Brattle Group. Commissioned by non-profit group GridLab, it identified the strong potential for distributed energy resources (DERs) to help manage peak demand on the grid.  
By 2035, VPPs could provide around 15% of peak load, equivalent to more than 7.5GW of power. In the process, this aggregation of DERs could save California consumers around US$550 million a year, and around US$750 million annually in costs of managing the electricity system, according to Brattle Group.
This builds on a previous report by the consultancy which look at the whole US, finding potential cost savings of up to US$35 billion for utilities over the next decade, if 60GW of DERs were to be aggregated into VPPs.  
That said, it’s been a slow ride so far for the uptake of residential VPPs, and this writer’s own early-career enthusiasm for the model has been somewhat tempered in the years since first penning a feature article on the subject in 2015.
In Australia, around 14% of home batteries are aggregated into various VPPs around the country, which sounds like a relatively high number compared to other markets, but Warwick Johnston and Sunwiz think it could be much, much better.
As we’ve heard many times around different DERs aggregation models, customer acquisition is the trickiest part. That’s true also for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) which is another technologically enticing way to repurpose individual resources into something much greater than the sum of their parts.
“The challenge there is that people, having invested all this money in their own power independence, are reticent to hand it back to the network,” Johnston says.
That quest for independence largely drove the “success story” of distributed PV, but for that distributed generation to play a material role in the stable operation of the network, we’re going to need more storage to be orchestrated [into VPPs], at least in theory,” Johnston says.
Maryland recently became the first state in the US to introduce policies directing its investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to allow for bidirectional charging of EVs, enabling them to inject power into the distribution grid.
In Australia, many of the successful VPP programmes, notably in South Australia, have been pushed forward by policy support.
It will be interesting to see whether it will take for home storage and other DERs to become an unavoidably significant potential resource before policymakers, utilities, and grid operators around the world take notice or if more proactive, coordinated approaches can be found.
Nothing to see here: Eclipse impact was ‘boring’, which is good
A brief note that we were sent this week following the solar eclipse in the Americas from Wärtsilä Energy Storage & Optimisation (ES&O):
Wärtsilä ES&O has about 30 projects in the path of the eclipse, including some of its 500MWh of battery energy storage system (BESS) assets supplied and integrated for customers in the ERCOT, Texas, market. There were also a handful of customer solar PV projects in North and South America in its path that were forecast to see solar generation impact levels of between 43% to 94% during the few minutes the eclipse lasted.
Following analysis of the affected sites, “no out-of-the-ordinary activity” was witnessed at any of the 30 sites, Wärtsilä ES&O general manager of data science said.
Data was gathered from the company’s GEMS Digital energy management platform, which is the brains and control centre for all of its projects.
Most of our batteries were engaged in ancillary services, which focus on grid stability, and the various grids all remained stable before, during, and after the event. While the eclipse itself was awe-inspiring, we were happy to see that the impact on and around our systems was unremarkable,” Whitmer said.
“Boring is a good thing, sometimes!” 
Whitmer’s colleague Karl Meeusen, director for markets, legislative, and regulatory policy, noted that for close to an hour on 8 April, solar PV generation in ERCOT was reduced by around 12,000MW.
“Maintaining reliability during events like these takes an “all-hands-on-deck” approach from generation resources, including Texas’s growing energy storage fleet. Energy storage systems across ERCOT behaved exactly as needed, charging right before the solar energy dropped off, dispatching to help balance the load as the eclipse moved across the state and recharging after the solar energy returned,” Meeusen said.
BESS resources only carried about 2% of the load in ERCOT during the eclipse. Nonetheless, batteries performed reliably and reduced the amount of thermal generation needed to support the grid “when renewables were largely offline and when prices for power were spiking.”
“This shows just a fraction of the enormous potential of energy storage to support grid stability and flexibility as we look towards a future powered entirely by renewable resources,” Meeusen said.
Happy Friday!
This week on ESN Premium
Battery price falls threaten second life model as Fenecon opens assembly plant in Germany
A second life energy storage assembly plant has opened in Germany, amidst a rapid fall in battery prices which could threaten the economics of repurposing EV batteries into stationary units.
“A lot of people are dropping out of the second life energy storage space,” a senior director at a second life energy storage company recently told Energy-Storage.news.
Second life energy storage involves deploying used electric vehicle (EV) batteries into stationary battery energy storage systems (BESS), and German company Fenecon announced last week (3 April) that its manufacturing facility in Lower Bavaria, which does just that, has officially gone into operation.
‘Non-lithium, cobalt-free’ ESS battery startup Alsym Energy tight-lipped on product chemistry
Battery technology startup Alsym Energy is keeping the exact chemistry of its product under wraps for the time being, the company has confirmed to Energy-Storage.news.
As reported by the site on 8 April, Alsym has just raised US$78 million in investment through a Series C, mainly in the form of venture capital (VC) funding from Indian conglomerate Tata and three other VC investors.
The company has developed a technology free from cobalt, nickel, and lithium that it claims is not derived from or based on improving anything else available on the market today.
According to Alsym, the battery will be suitable for applications requiring discharge durations of between 4 and 110 hours and can be fully charged in just 4 hours.
What the BESS industry is doing to ensure safety of projects in the field
Battery storage safety continues to be a number one priority for the industry but considering media reports around community opposition to new-build projects, that message is perhaps not filtering down to the public.
As we have seen in numerous territories in the US and UK in particular, battery energy storage system (BESS) is sometimes perceived by local communities as a potential fire and even explosion hazard.
In this series, we look at some of the things that companies in the industries are doing to mitigate fire and explosion risk, starting with manufacturing and product design.
Energy storage industry eyes US cell capacity and incentives, domestic content ITC still unclear
The BESS industry is looking at ways to leverage the 45X tax credit for domestic cell manufacturing in the US, with the domestic content investment tax credit (ITC) bonus still unclear.
That was according to delegates interviewed at Solar Media’s Energy Storage Summit (ESS) USA 2024 last month when discussing the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) numerous incentives relevant to energy storage, a booming market in the US.
Just as we reported from the event last year, exactly how to qualify for the 10% domestic content adder to the 48E ITC for using domestically-produced BESS is still unclear, and further guidance is expected soon.

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VPPs could cover 15% of peak California demand by 2035 using home batteries, demand response

Commissioned by non-profit organisation Gridlab, it examined five commercially available technologies: smart thermostat-based air-conditioning control, behind-the-meter batteries, residential electric vehicle charging, grid-interactive water heating, and automated demand response systems for large commercial buildings and industrial facilities.
The five together could represent over 7.5GW of capacity, approximately a fivefold increase from the current demand response (DR) in California used in Resource Adequacy, by 2035.
Not only could the deployment of VPPs in California generate over half a billion dollars in savings for consumers, but it could also avoid over US$750 million per year in system costs. This would translate to fewer new power plants needed and fewer necessary upgrades in transmission lines, and reduce risks linked to interconnection delays. This is an ever-growing issue in the US, with nearly 1TW of solar PV capacity in interconnection queues by the end of 2022.
A previous report from the Brattle Group estimated that VPPs could save US utilities up to US$35 billion in the next decade with the deployment of 60GW of VPP.
“In the face of rapidly rising utility bills across the state, this report shows the tremendous potential of VPPs to provide affordable, clean generating capacity as well as critical support for grid reliability,” said Ric O’Connell, executive director of Gridlab.
To see the full original version of this article go to PV Tech.

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IPP Lydian launches with 1.7GW US solar and BESS portfolio, backed by infrastructure fund Excelsior

The IPP is backed by capital from renewables energy investor Excelsior Energy Capital, while its pipeline of projects will cater to commercial, industrial and utility customers.
Two of the solar projects – AC Ranch I and AC Ranch II – are in the pre-construction phase and have a commercial operation date (COD) of 2026-2027. Both projects will be built in the city of Hobbs, New Mexico, and have a capacity of 100MW (AC Ranch I) and 300MW (AC Ranch II).
Currently three of the BESS projects have been unveiled and are located in Texas. All three have a COD of 2025 and are in the pre-construction phase. They have a cumulative capacity of 550MW/1.1GWh and 2-hour duration.
The technology used for either the solar PV or BESS projects has not been unveiled yet.
This story first appeared on PV Tech.

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Engie to build first standalone BESS in Chile at decommissioned coal plant

It is the company’s fifth BESS project in Chile, its largest, and also its first standalone project, Engie said.
Its previous four – Coya, Arica, Tamaya and Capricornio – are co-located with solar PV and are designed to charge from the PV and discharge to the grid, while Tocopilla will operate independently with its own grid connection to the National Electric System (NES).
The 139MW/638MWh Coya project came online last month while Tamaya (68MW/418MWh) and Capricornio 48MW/264MWh are also under construction, with Arica is a 2MW/2MWh pilot project operational since 2019.
Standalone projects operating in the electricity market are possible in Chile after a law was passed in late 2022. There are big opportunities in wholesale energy trading, with Chile having the biggest intra-day price spreads in the world along with Texas (according to a developer we interviewed last year for a Premium article).
BESS are being added to solar PV projects in order to reduce huge curtailment because of over-production, with most large-scale projects in the country being built in this way.
The government is also set to run a tender for opex and capex support for energy storage projects for delivery in 2026-2028, although further details still need to be released.
Although Tocopilla is a standalone BESS unit, there is a substantial solar PV array located at the same site, as shown in the satellite image below, which is next to an ammonia plant.

A satellite image of the site from 2024. Image: Airbus, CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data 2024.

Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 3rd annual Energy Storage Summit Latin America in Santiago, Chile, 15-16 October 2023. This year’s events bring together Latin America’s leading investors, policymakers, developers, utilities, network operators, EPCs and more all in one place to discuss the landscape of energy storage in the region. Visit the official site for more info.

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Utility ESB gets nod for wind-plus-BESS project in Scotland

The project will combine around 96MW of wind power with a 20MW battery energy storage system (BESS), for which the storage capacity in megawatt-hours (MWh) has not been disclosed.
Environmental, engineering and technical services provider RSK worked on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) and other development approval studies and said this week that construction will start in 2026 for a commercial operation date (COD) in 2027.
ESB said the co-location with the BESS will ensure the maximum use of the grid connection, implying the two technologies will share one connection, while RSK project manager Joe Somerville said: “The on-site battery storage means it will also contribute to a reduction in energy curtailment and providing grid stability.”
The plentiful wind power capacity in and around Scotland, particularly offshore, is often more than the existing grid infrastructure can handle, leading to curtailment, whereby operators pay generators to turn down production.
The cost of this was over US$1 billion in 2023, according to analysis from BESS developer-operator Field released this past week and covered by our sister site Current, which said energy storage could reduce spending on curtailment by 80%.
Co-locating a BESS with wind – much less common than co-locating with solar PV – will allow the plant to smooth out its generation peaks and troughs and provide a much more predictable and less varied stream of power to the grid.
However, challenges with co-located BESS with wind include potentially much heavier and less predictable cycling of the BESS, which could have negative implications for the battery cells’ degradation.
The size of the BESS relative to the wind plant opted for by ESB is in line with other large independent power producers (IPPs) like Vatenfall, which usually aims for about 10% of the wind plant’s size, according to Quinbrook’s senior VP, speaking at Solar Media’s Solar Finance and Investment Europe (SFIE) event in January (Premium access).
In February, ESB inaugurated a 75MW/150MWh BESS project in Ireland, the country’s largest.

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