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    1. Top 3 Energy Storage Advances from the White House Summit

      Top 3 Energy Storage Advances from the White House Summit

      At Thursday's White House Summit on renewables and energy storage, dozens of grid operators, power companies, federal and community organizations, developers, manufacturers and investors announced commitments to support the U.S. in moves toward a more reliable energy grid. Here are the top three most impactful and interesting items we found:

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      Mentions: California DoE U.S.
    2. U.S. Regulatory Climate: Time for an Intervention

      U.S. Regulatory Climate: Time for an Intervention

      Traditionally, assessing the regulatory climate has been a state-by-state affair and measured based on the degree that utilities and capital markets see a predictable, clear path to cost recovery and utility earnings. The ratings agencies are known for their sort of thumbs up or down assessments of utility commissions. Some jurisdictions have introduced broad suites of recovery mechanisms that are centered on capital investment programs or account for lost sales due to energy efficiency that seems to bolster capital market confidence. Other jurisdictions have offered few recovery enhancements and have been particularly tough on the utilities in terms of scrutiny of revenue requirements leading to unfavorable ratings. 

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      Mentions: U.S.
    3. Energy Storage Could Get Its Own Tax Credit

      Energy Storage Could Get Its Own Tax Credit

      As the electrical grid is modernized and more renewable energy sources come online, the next wave is energy storage, which will allow residential and commercial consumers to stabilize utility costs, while providing consistent power, even during outages or brownouts. With that in mind, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Silicon Valley, CA) recently introduced HR 5350, the bipartisan Energy Storage for Grid Resilience and Modernization Act. The legislation will provide the same tax credit that renewable energy installations get, for those companies and homes that install energy storage facilities.

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      Mentions: U.S. Duke Energy ESA
    4. Duke Energy Looking for (and Found) Better Way to Integrate Renewable Energy

      Duke Energy Looking for (and Found) Better Way to Integrate Renewable Energy

      Duke Energy, a leader in energy storage among utilities, has started testing a first-of-its-kind battery technology at its Rankin Substation in Gaston County, N.C. The hybrid ultracapacitor-battery energy storage system (HESS) will demonstrate multiple service applications: extended operational life, rapid response, real-time solar smoothing, and load shifting. "This approach will allow our energy storage systems to do a variety of tasks," said Thomas Golden, technology development manager for Duke Energy. "With so many solar installations in North Carolina, we must look for innovative ways to better incorporate renewable energy into our system -- and still provide reliable service at a competitive price for our customers."

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    5. Transforming Tech: PNNL on Cutting Edge of ARPA-E Research

      Transforming Tech: PNNL on Cutting Edge of ARPA-E Research

      The 41 projects selected under OPEN 2015 will pursue novel approaches to energy innovation across the full spectrum of energy applications, with approximately 36 percent of the projects led by universities, 39 percent by small businesses, 10 percent by large businesses, 10 percent by national labs, and 5 percent by non-profits. For example, three technologies -- a computational tool to improve power grid planning, a process to create biofuel from kelp, and a hybrid device that makes hydrogen and stores energy -- are being developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and its partners.

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      Mentions: DoE U.S. GE
    6. In the Running: Avista Utilities Up for CleanTech Achievement Award

      In the Running: Avista Utilities Up for CleanTech Achievement Award

      CleanTech Alliance Washington, the nation's largest state-level clean technology industry association, has named Avista Utilities, Washington State University (WSU) and Cleantech Open as finalists for the 2015 CleanTech Achievement Award. Avista Utilities was chosen as a finalist for its work with a consortium of partners (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, UniEnergy Technologies, Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Commerce) to deploy the largest vanadium flow redox energy storage system in North America.

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      Mentions: DoE U.S. Ireland
    7. The Next Next Thing for Distribution Grids? Distributed Energy Storage

      The Next Next Thing for Distribution Grids? Distributed Energy Storage

      One of the first major smart grid systems that many utilities deployed was advanced meters. Unsurprisingly, utilities are trying to find new uses for their AMI systems to maximize return on these investments. AMI systems are well-suited for certain tasks—like supporting time-of-use rates and facilitating meter reading and customer billing. But AMI systems can’t solve the problem of providing advanced grid functionality. Indeed, it’s questionable how well AMI communication systems can even support sophisticated grid control applications like distribution automation. Taking an existing application and re-crafting it to be a grid-control enabler—ignoring the practicalities—is not the “next, next” thing, nor will it solve the biggest grid control problem that utilities face: rapidly growing use of distributed solar PV.

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      Mentions: Australia U.S. UK
    8. Quinone-Based Batteries Could Reduce Need for Metals

      Quinone-Based Batteries Could Reduce Need for Metals

      The stationary energy storage market needs lower battery costs to reach a market of $6.5 billion in 2020. Developers have been pursuing flow batteries as one possible way to lower these costs. This type of battery pumps two liquid electrolytes of different oxidation states across the sides of a proton exchange membrane, and chemistries vary – they include vanadium-redox flow batteries, zinc-bromine, iron-chromium, and zinc-chloride. Harvard University researchers are now pursuing a metal-free flow battery chemistry, based on small organic molecules called quinones.

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    9. What Utilities Forget When They Analyze Storage (Hint: It Has to Do with Benefits)

      What Utilities Forget When They Analyze Storage (Hint: It Has to Do with Benefits)

      A lot of press lately has been devoted to the costs of different energy storage system technologies, as competitors race to out-innovate each other on this critical dimension. For instance, EOS generated coverage when it came out earlier this year and claimed it would eventually be able to deliver systems for as little as $160/kwh of DC power. And Tesla’s announcement of its Gigafactory plans generated another wave of forecasting and speculation.

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    10. Will New York be Next to Mandate Energy Storage?

      Will New York be Next to Mandate Energy Storage?

      New York may be next as a "hot, receptive market for energy storage in North America," reports the Huffington Post. Last summer, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a $23 million battery storage test and commercialization center. Shortly thereafter, he revealed that NOHMs Technologies would its pilot nanoscale battery materials manufacturing facility and receive $1.5 million in government funding.

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    11. South Korea considers mandatory energy storage and electricity rate restructuring

      South Korea considers mandatory energy storage and electricity rate restructuring

      The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy recently announced plans to consider energy storage, energy management, and a revision of its electricity rate structure. The current plan would mandate energy storage systems and provide financial support up to 50% of the system cost for small and medium-sized firms affected by the ruling.

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      Mentions: South Korea
    12. What's to like about California's "all of the above" energy storage approach

      What's to like about California's "all of the above" energy storage approach

      Many national and state energy policy makers argue for a balanced portfolio of aggregate energy supply – commonly referred to as an "all of the above" strategy ... The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) takes an “all of the above” approach in 1) the types of storage technology considered to fulfill the mandates and 2) their application throughout the energy value chain.

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    13. Contrarian alert: Another round of smart grid growth?

      Contrarian alert: Another round of smart grid growth?

      Yes, the smart grid is only growing at about 10% these days – terrific for most industries but lackluster after the 25% year-over-year we had in the go-go days ... it's equally likely we'll see an upsurge ... because we have a much wider base of support as more and more people realize that future prosperity can only be built on top of a fully modern grid.

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      Mentions: California Japan U.S.
    14. Private back-up grids: Could backup power go the way of the cloud?

      Private back-up grids: Could backup power go the way of the cloud?

      A third-party backup service operator could supplant this disaggregate, customer-owned backup model by operating a private, centralized backup facility offering backup-as-a-service. Essentially, the third party would be providing a privately owned microgrid, redundant to the centralized utility distribution grid.

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      Mentions: India
    15. S&C Electric: Smart grid as a smart city foundation

      S&C Electric: Smart grid as a smart city foundation

      (As I spoke to Michael Edmonds, VP Strategic Solutions, S&C Electric) I was particularly interested to hear that: Cities like Chattanooga, Tennessee are successfully using their smart grids as a recruiting tool to attract new businesses to town ... He thinks the North American market is near the tipping point. Now we just need to gather up the success stories and make them available to other cities ... S&C Electric has gone far beyond its roots in equipment to become a services and solutions company too. You can read more below.

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      Mentions: Tennessee Siemens UK
    16. Contrary View of the Report: "Finding the Perfect Partner in the Global Grid Storage Market"

      Contrary View of the Report: "Finding the Perfect Partner in the Global Grid Storage Market"

      ... I think grid-scale storage is on a growth path. It may even get a nice bump from a pending German storage subsidies. But I having a hard time believing that it will grow nearly 4,000% in just four years, as predicted by the report ("Finding the Perfect Partner in the Global Grid Storage Market").  I'd approach this one with caution.

      [Editor: That report was described in this article below.]

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      Mentions: PNNL
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