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South Australia swamped by 90 battery storage proposals

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The South Australian government’s ground breaking battery storage tender has generated a huge response from interested parties, with more than 90 proposals submitted in the first fact-finding round, indicating the massive possibilities with the technology.

The first stage of the tender closed last Friday, with several significant projects already outlined – mostly by Australia-based developers in tandem with international battery storage manufacturers, but there were also numerous other proposals that remain under the radar.

GreensmithOntario

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis told RenewEconomy that the government has received 90 Expressions of Interest from more than ten countries for the battery storage proposal.

“Evaluation of the EOI is already underway which will lead to a shortlist being asked to participate in a Request for Proposal process,” he said in an emailed statement.

“As was outlined in the EOI documentation, we are looking to have a battery in place by December 2017, so the intention is to keep this procurement process moving as quickly as possible.

“The strong international interest in our battery storage proposal is proof that our plan to secure South Australia’s energy future is already working.”

One major battery storage manufacturer, which asked to remain anonymous, said it had been contacted by more than 20 interested parties seeking information on costs and installation timetables. It expected many of those queries would have led to submissions.

The storage tender, along with the one being held in Victoria, is expected to be the first in a wave of battery technology investments in Australia, in the same way that ARENA and CEFC programs have kicked off the current spree in large-scale solar.

Along with the closure of the Hazelwood brown coal generator last week, it also underpins the speed of the energy transition that is being witnessed, a fact underlined by the new head of the Australian Energy Market Operator, Audrey Zibelman who has spoken of the shift to a grid focused on distributed generation, storage and smart technologies, rather than building more fossil fuel generators.

This transition is expected to be accelerated by imminent changes in a number of energy market rules that will “level the playing field”, including a change from the 30 minute settlement rule to a 5 minute period.

The impact of these changes is already being witnessed in the energy market. AGL Energy, the biggest player in the South Australian market, confirmed on Monday that it would need to change its investment strategy as a result of the government’s new energy plan.

“As we said to our investors last week, it’s true that our proposed investment blueprint now needs to change, given recent South Australian policy announcements,” chief executive Andrew Vesey said in a statement.

Those changes are expected to include the canning of an idea to build a new gas plant – considering that the state government intends to build an emergency back-up itself.

AGL is the only major utility to confirm it is putting forward a proposal to the South Australian tender, which has mostly attracted new players to the market – a critical component of any push to encourage new technologies because new players are essential to the emerging market.

Battery majors such as Tesla and LG Chem refused to comment on the record, but are understood to have been involved in multiple proposals, as has another South Korean battery storage manufacturer, Kokam.

Here is a list of project proposals as we know it – we will add to it as we learn more:

AGL Energy: Says only that it will be “participating” in the tender process but has provided no further details.

Applied Nano Technologies: Four 25MW hydrogen battery farms to be located near wind farms and other renewable energy facilities in east, west, Adelaide and Yorke Peninsular, at cost of $300 million

Carnegie Clean Energy (with Samsung and Lend lease): Proposing 100MW/100MWh lithium-ion battery storage and major R&D centre in Adelaide.

Lyon Group (with AES): Says it is proposing to build one 330MW solar farm with 100MW/400MWh battery storage in Riverland area, and another 120MW solar farm with 100MW/200MWh battery storage near Roxby Downs. Insists projects will go ahead regardless of outcome of tender.

Zen Energy (Greensmith): Ross Garnaut’s Adelaide-based company has teamed up with US-based Greensmith to propose a “big battery”.

1414: The Adelaide-based silicon storage outfit is believed to have submitted a “non-conforming” bid for storage.  

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  • howardpatr

    Where can one get a list of the proposals?

    • chrgordon27

      you need to ask Tom Koutsantonis.

  • Miles Harding

    They all know they’re up against Tesla, right?
    It will be interseting to see how many are within a light-year of being competitive.

    • Andrew Roydhouse

      As this has world attention – most will be competitive with Tesla or else they would not participate.

    • Colin

      Tesla are partnered with Panasonic for battery technology but there are genuine competitors out there to Panasonic.

      Tesla and Panasonic to start solar energy factory in New York
      Updated Dec 29 2016 at 7:49 AM

      Source: http://www.afr.com/technology/tesla-and-panasonic-to-start-solar-energy-factory-in-new-york-20161228-gtj311

      The last thing we want is to lock ourselves into a monopoly or duopoly.

      Viva la competition!

      • howardpatr

        Alevo Energy claims extremely long life for its batteries might be one of the competitors.

        http://alevo.com/

    • Bristolboy

      Tesla indicated they were interested in the UK’s “Enhanced Frequency Response” and “Capacity Market” tenders run in 2016. Battery storage was awarded long term contracts amounting to 200MW under the former and 500MW under the latter – of the many projects none have so far been linked in any way to Tesla. Some successful bidders may ultimately use Tesla equipment, but that will likely be the extent of Tesla’s involvement.

      • neroden

        Well, that was before the Gigafactory. Tesla cut its production costs so they can bid lower now…

        • Bristolboy

          I agree, but it is worth pointing out those tenders were for delivery starting in 2017-2020, so it was always envisaged the Gigafactory would be operational by then.

        • humanitarian solar

          Have you noticed there’s a meme of people concerned with demand management. I’ve tried describing how it’s not necessary and tried to reassure people. If you happen to see concerns, could you please help reassure Tesla and others have it all taken care of? I think it’s a potential human rights issue in the making, with DR companies beginning with voluntary market signals, than wanting to write programming to take over peoples inverters from some centralised location. I reckon they won’t be able to resist the temptation once they’ve started on their program.

        • humanitarian solar

          neroden here’s an example of this political push for “demand management” and looks to me bordering on absconding inverters towards grid management, rather than primarily for onsite management. I think to combat this, Tesla could think about including “load management” software into its inverters. Another option is a dedicated AC output for “load shedding” (usually for air con or heating hot water) in grid outages, which I’ve also seen on other inverter/charger models. It creates that assurance, that renewable energy is going to work. I know Tesla is just trying to mass market their equipment, though in a sparsely populated country like Australia, I think some of these features increasing reliability and system security are important and could lead to Tesla capturing additional market share by genuinely siding with consumers.

          The group says demand peaks can be reduced by “changing market rules to allow very large consumers such as smelters to profit from demand management, such as via the proposed five-minute settlement rule.”
          “It says the government should adopt software systems to aggregate large numbers of commercial and industrial consumers into virtual peak plants that will provide safe and scheduled reductions in load, on commercially competitive terms.”
          https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/apr/05/open-letter-urges-malcolm-turnbull-to-deliver-energy-market-reforms

        • humanitarian solar

          neroden in case it’s not your field, here is two links of examples of competing technologies. The first link is for an inverter/charger with “relay control outputs” an Australian brand.
          http://download.selectronic.com.au/brochure/BR0007_09%20SP%20PRO%20Series%20II%20Data%20Sheet%20Web.pdf

          This link is for another brand, which has a product that can control 2x external AC inputs e.g. grid + diesel generator (unreliable grids), grid + wind (co-gen as solar often goes directly into the battery) and wind + diesel generator (off grid). Both these brands can wire equipment in parallel to double or more the power output or provide system redundancy and both can be wired in three phase for three phase pumps on farms etc and both brands have been operating about 40 years so they are reputable competition. The second brand also has “load shedding”.
          https://www.victronenergy.com/inverters-chargers/quattro

        • humanitarian solar

          Here’s examples of cost of these other inverter/chargers, so you can see cost versus features:
          The first controls 2x external AC inputs and has load shedding:
          http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Victron-Energy-Quattro-48V-5000VA-70-100-100A-Pure-Sine-Wave-Inverter-Charger-/302004707770?hash=item4650e221ba:g:Qz8AAOSwzLlXgQgT

          Here’s the other brand with its 4x relay control outputs:
          http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Selectronic-SPMC-481-AU-Inverter-Charger-48-V-5000-Watt-12000-Watt-Peak-Aus-Made-/261211268223?hash=item3cd167a47f:g:400AAOSw7FRWUr13

          I know these are more highly engineered products and potentially more costly, though I think its worth knowing the market.

        • humanitarian solar

          So the way the cards are falling on the table, is the demand management crew are trying to combat “gentailers” by suggesting they are acting upon emergency considerations and therefore have a mandate to take control of onsite inverters, or definitely begin moving in that direction. It’s a bit like a “wartime PM or POTUS” leveraging off emergency concerns, to gain increasing “powers” they would not normally be able to gain public support for in a regular democracy. In my view, these people are out to make money and their strategy is potentially more harming to humanity than beneficial, when we weigh the benefit versus the danger to begin absconding citizens inverters for primarily grid purposes. Those with technical understanding know it’s a short term issue and not worth going there. The bottom line is society needs both grid level storage and onsite storage, and one form of storage should not attempt to derail the primary purposes of the other. It is a strength Tesla has products in both domains, and can support the public interests, by reassuring citizens that adequate “load management” and “load shedding” features can be included in onsite inverters, as well as grids paying for their own network storage.

        • humanitarian solar

          I think one gentailer began by wanting to rent out peoples rooftops and put their systems in our houses on like a lease, then it went to people buying the system themselves with the gentailers installing and configuring the equipment for their aggregated storage purposes. Somehow they have packaged “demand management” as part of a “smart grid” and sold it to people like the authors of this site as a good development, like these gentailers are on our side and evolving with the times. Really, these companies are still out of line, and need to buy their own network storage, instead of attempting to use ours to fix their bodgy dinosaur network, to extend the life of their mechanical clunkers with our batteries. What a scam!

    • Colin

      Although we shouldn’t forget…

      Tesla Plans To Build Entire City, Possibly Hundreds Of #TeslaCities
      April 1st, 2017 by Zachary Shahan

      “Elon Musk can’t stop. Tesla can’t stop. The cleantech revolution can’t stop.

      As if electric robotaxis, solar roofs, insane battery price reductions and gigafactories, reusable rockets, record-shattering acceleration, electric semi trucks and minibuses, and hyperloops + tunnel-boring companies weren’t enough, Elon Musk has decided to build entire cleantech cities. Well, he’s starting with one, but if all goes well, that could leads to hundreds more…”

      Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2017/04/01/tesla-plans-build-entire-city-possibly-hundreds-teslacities/

      • Craig Allen

        That was an April Fools Day article 🙂

        • Colin

          Yes.

  • Cooma Doug

    Eventually this kind of news will appear in the Australian paper. On page 49 bottom left under the Adani 5 page promotional article.
    2GB might mention it also.

  • humanitarian solar

    In my view, tenders from companies providing “integrated solutions” are by far more valuable to our evolving community knowledge base. Disaster proofing regional areas on grids will inevitably require integrated RE/storage, to provide emergency crews with breathing space when the distribution system inevitably fails in storms and fires. Even though future regional projects may be smaller compared to the tenders happening now, it’s potentially the same family of inverters and other technologies used in smaller integrated solutions. Storage only tenders are therefore to be considered less evolved than those companies offering integrated solutions. This is especially true of a state like SA with its “stringy” distribution infrastructure.

    • Colin

      Can we see a kind of “template” emerging for other Aussie states and territories to guide their decision making on?

    • Ian

      When you tender for something, you need to have a clear idea of what you want, give a good set of criteria for those making offers to work from and then make a decision based on those criteria. Don’t be swayed by sweeteners, bells and whistles, the little innovation hub here or a solar farm there. Anyone offering those little extras must do so as a separate tender or as a flourish or decoration on the basic design and not to expect any payment for that. If its battery storage you want then that’s what you should expect, no more no less.

      Those offering ‘integrated solutions’ may be disguising their inadequacy in the basic product that is being called for. In a previous article on Carnegie’s offer, people have made comments about this company’s track record and it does not look good.

      It’s very reasonable to build a 100MWH/100MW battery storage in one location and then see how it performs, plenty of scope to do all the other things as part of a more integrated energy plan. The problem is that this is all on a learning curve, and the best set of criteria for a project of this size may not be clear, but don’t expect the prospective seller to give unbiased advise as to how you should frame your tender ! All the more reason to keep this project simple an unadorned.

      • humanitarian solar

        I’m referring to systems thinking and less so to “bells and whistles”.

      • Mike Shackleton

        Extremely prescriptive tenders lead to extremely limited solutions. If a tenderer wants to state that they wish to co-establish a research centre with their battery solution, then that should be considered. This is ground breaking stuff and South Australia should be able to capitalise on the advantages that being an early mover in this space provides. As long as the storage/output requirements are met by the system on an ongoing basis, and there are mechanisms in the contract that ensure this.

        Likewise, if a tenderer believes the best solution is to construct a network of distributed batteries all over the state, then why not allow them to highlight this? The people who design these systems are far more knowledgeable than the government representatives that are requesting the system will ever be. As an engineer who has had many a client expect you to give them exactly what they want, regardless of whether it suits their needs, you have to let the experts run with their knowledge to a degree. You have to let them work the problem.

  • Colin

    Giles,

    There is a series of articles here in evaluating some of the major contenders. Any chances of this eventuating?

  • Hermann
    • humanitarian solar

      It’s not reasonable to post a link, without giving us a personal perspective on why you think it is important. If you don’t care enough to take the time, then I’m not clicking the link.

      • Colin

        Well said.

      • Peter Campbell

        It was enough to see that one was ‘stopthesethings.com’, the rabid anti-wind site, and another was Fox News, that well-known paragon of insightful and unbiased journalism.

    • humanitarian solar

      Thanks Hermann for editing and adding an intro for each link. Much appreciated.

    • brucelee

      Pretty unimpressed with the stop these things analysis, garbage in garbage out. In an environment where solar is very nearly cost competitive with wind, they totally ignore it.
      The analysis clearly states says the largest wind production gap is in the summer months when solar production would significantly compensate. Solar/Wind are well known symbiotic technologies and this would slash the storage ‘requirement findings’.

      • WR

        Monthly wind production on the NEM is fairly consistent throughout the year. There isn’t a large difference between summer and winter. The approximate capacity factors for the wind farms on the NEM over the last 36 months were:

        2014
        Apr – 23%
        May – 26%
        Jun – 36%
        Jul – 42%
        Aug – 23%
        Sep – 31%
        Oct – 31%
        Nov – 31%
        Dec – 28%

        2015
        Jan – 34%
        Feb – 29%
        Mar – 27%
        Apr – 27%
        May – 38%
        Jun – 27%
        Jul – 40%
        Aug – 36%
        Sep – 29%
        Oct – 31%
        Nov – 30%
        Dec – 32%

        2016
        Jan – 31%
        Feb – 27%
        Mar – 23%
        Apr – 26%
        May – 48%
        Jun – 38%
        Jul – 45%
        Aug – 36%
        Sep – 31%
        Oct – 46%
        Nov – 34%
        Dec – 32%

        2017
        Jan – 31%
        Feb – 32%
        Mar – 31%

        The values given were calculated from the generation figures for each wind farm from the AEMO and Aneroid Energy websites.

        • Stewart Rogers

          Averages don’t matter, the grid needs consistency and when productions falls to just a few MW instead of over a GW it’s a catastrophe.

          • WR

            I believe that that is the point of the batteries.

            You can get some idea of how a 100% renewable energy system would work for southern Australia by visiting my Youtube channel and downloading the Excel model from the link on the page. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axxcYcumJjg

          • Nice work Wade. As you say, it’s a simple model but it illustrates your point well – 100% renewable energy plus storage can work.

            Cheers.

            Dave P.

          • humanitarian solar

            Think of a house. The inverter accurately matches the load with it’s power output, as long as the battery has power to draw from. So in a renewable grid with storage, the renewable inputs are never directly seen by the load. Not only that, the inverter is so fast in matching the load, it will make up for the slow acting fossil fuel generators, so they can run more consistently in the background.

        • JonathanMaddox

          Varying from the low twenties to the mid forties would seem to be a considerable seasonal difference. We do get more wind energy in certain months than others. Not strictly a winter/summer dichotomy though, with peak months being July and October, and the nadir being March.

    • Ian

      A project worth 100Million, if it goes belly up, is not such a costly failure, besides, how much taxpayer money is being put in the pot to fund this project?

      • Durham 52

        Very true, as opposed to the Federal Governments, billion dollar gift planned for Adani which gets us nothing more than a few jobs in the construction years and a deep of environmental damages for ever after…

        • Colin

          Also well said.

      • Darren

        I would hazard it (taxpayer funds) would be rather minimal giving that a large amount of solar proposals are 100% privately funded in most cases.

      • humanitarian solar

        Did you see WR’s youtube video below, it explains why demand management isn’t needed. RE takes care of the load and fills storage when there’s excess, the battery takes care of shortfalls and gas is fired up when the storage goes low.

    • Miles Harding

      If nothing else, astroturfers, such as ‘StopTheseThings’ have had their shorts pulled down by Elon Musk and Jay Wetherill. (one leg each?).

      This serves to expose their true purpose; that of keeping Australia fossil fuel bound, specifically bound to coal.

      • howardpatr

        What, are you saying Federal Minister, Angus Taylor, has been exposed?

  • Ron Horgan

    Tha ability of the “carbonistas” to impede progress is being brushed aside as venture capital steps in to build solar plus storage without needing grants or loans.
    Lyons is the future.

    • humanitarian solar

      They’ve got to be in the leading pack. I’d like one for my town.

  • Face the facts

    A stupid government that wants to run batteries to load shed lol they have no idea about the energy markets and how they work. It would be better to invest that money on building a new generator just for South Australia needs. 3600 mWh worth of generation has been taken away to be replaced with 550 mWh trhat is not base load generation . Whilst the country suffers heavy job losses due to increased costs for businesses who will no longer be able to compete on the world market due to operation expenditure and cost of production we are going the correct way about it that for sure. We will be in a recession by 2018 with idiot politicians who will get a pension they dont deserve for stupid mistakes.

    • juxx0r

      I’ve got a spare 18650 if you need 3600mWh. Can let you have the charger too for like a tenner.