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EGEB: Innovative battery storage tech in California grid, wind farm optimization, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • New battery storage tech has been introduced to the California electrical grid.
  • A new partnership hopes to optimize wind energy through automation.
  • Walmart makes 46 Power Purchase Agreements for solar power.
  • The Onion envisions a special mech suit for Jay Inslee.

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

California is now using innovative battery storage technology in its state power grid as part of a four-year pilot project, the California Independent System Operator announced last week.

San Diego Gas & Electric installed a special flow battery system in Bonita, Calif. that will provide 2 megawatts and 8 megawatt-hours of energy, which is enough to power about 1,000 homes for up to four hours.

SDG&E and Japan’s Sumitomo Electric are coordinating on the project, also described as a “vanadium redox” battery system. It’s believed this flow system will suffer less degradation and last longer than lithium-ion batteries, and the system may also be less expensive and easier to scale. The California ISO explained the tech:

A flow battery is an electrical storage device that is a cross between a conventional battery and a fuel cell, using liquid electrolytes of metallic salts pumped through a core with positive and negative electrodes, separated by a membrane. As the liquid flows through the membrane, the ion exchange allows for charge and discharge capability.

Peter Klauer, a power systems development adviser for the California Independent System Operator, wasn’t shy about the possibilities of the tech:

“After years of preparation and testing, the flow battery is now in our market. With this technology, we are navigating the future of electrical storage.”

Increased storage on the grid will help California get more from renewable energy, as it aims for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045.

Wind Optimization

Emerson and Vayu have announced a partnership that aims to optimize wind energy through automation. The three-year collaboration will combine Emerson’s automation platform with Vayu’s cloud-computing wind energy optimization tech.

Vayu claims it has “identified more than $500 million in revenue opportunities from just a fraction of the approximately 450 wind farms in the United States.” The companies plan on bringing their solutions to wind farms in the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe. Vayu CEO Jim Kiles said,

“Instead of embarking on full-scale repowering projects that can cost millions, wind farm owners can make a small investment in this integrated solution to boost power production and qualify for the tax credit.”

The companies’ solution will enable turbines to “work cooperatively, adjusting the side-to-side movement of each turbine based on wind speed, wind direction and other parameters to extract the optimum energy from wind.”

This isn’t the only machine learning-based wind optimization program in the news recently — Google is now using its DeepMind system to predict wind power output up to 36 hours in advance.

Walmart Solar

C2 Energy Capital announced 46 Power Purchase Agreements and leases with Walmart:

C2 Energy Capital, LLC announced today that it executed 46 Power Purchase Agreements and leases with Walmart Inc. to provide solar power at the retailer’s operations in five states. These agreements represent a tangible commitment by Walmart to achieve the retailer’s goal to have 50 percent of its operations powered by renewable energy by 2025. The solar installations will produce more than 65,000,000 kWh of renewable energy annually, enough energy to power nearly 5,500 homes, and are expected to supply approximately 10-60 percent of each stores’ overall electricity use.

Inslee’s Solar Mech Suit

A wonderful headline from The Onion: “Jay Inslee Smashes Through Wall Of Town Hall In Solar-Powered Mech Suit To Announce Climate Change Plan.”

(In actual news, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who is basically running for president as “the climate change candidate,” introduced his 100% Clean Energy for America plan last week.)

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