The UK's National Grid gas deficit warning has been withdrawn
The UK energy network operator, the National Grid, issued a warning on 1 March referring to gas supplies running out due to high demand.
This was due to uncommon sub-zero temperatures in the UK recently, driving up consumption and impacting the National Grid’s demand – hitting the highest for six years.
The National Grid warned of reducing supplies to power generation and big industry in order to control the situation, but the first deficit warning issued in eight years has been retracted following an increase in gas supplies.
“The market has continued to respond over the last 24 hours and we have seen an increase of supplies into the network,” stated a National Grid spokesperson, the BBC reported.
“As the extremely cold weather continues we expect to see high demand on the gas network, so we are continuing to monitor developments closely.”
“Protecting customer supplies is always our first priority and we would like to reassure them that this high demand has not affected their domestic gas supplies”.
During the warning, Peter Bance, the CEO of Origami Energy reported: “We need to protect consumers in their homes first, so you start by turning down gas fired power stations and ensuring that large users of gas turn down their use.”
“The UK needs to look at this from both regulatory and economic viewpoints, to make sure the consumer doesn’t get hit.”
“There will be an impact on business but there are a number of tools to fix this in the long term. You can price consumption in a way which encourages people to change the way they use energy, without impacting business operations when these supply shocks come. That means being proactive not reactive.
“What National Grid is seeing is a system impact. We are going green as a country, using cleaner fuels and renewables. Our move away from traditional power stations means that we have less flexibility to control our energy systems. The long-term direction of travel is to use cleaner fossil fuel and more renewables, but to enable this, you need flexibility.
Form Energy receives funding power for iron-air batteries
Form Energy believes it has cracked the conundrum of commercialising grid storage through iron-air batteries - and some of the biggest names in industry are backing its potential.
The startup recently announced the battery chemistry of its first commercial product and a $200 million Series D financing round led by ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund. Founded in 2017, Form Energy is backed by investors Eni Next LLC, MIT’s The Engine, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group and Macquarie Capital.
While solar and wind resources are the lowest marginal cost sources of electricity, the grid faces a challenge: how to manage the multi-day variability of renewable energy, even in periods of multi-day weather events, without sacrificing energy reliability or affordability.
Moreover, while Lithium-ion batteries are well suited to fast bursts of energy production, they run out of energy after just a few hours. Iron-air batteries, however, are predicted to have theoretical energy densities of more than 1,200 Wh/kg according to Renaissance of the iron-air battery (phys.org)
The active components of Form Energy's iron-air battery system are some of the cheapest, and most abundant materials: iron, water, and air. Iron-air batteries are the best solution to balance the multi-day variability of renewable energy due to their extremely low cost, safety, durability, and global scalability.
It claims its first commercial product is a rechargeable iron-air battery capable of delivering electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants and at less than 1/10th the cost of lithium-ion and can be optimised to store electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with legacy power plants.
"This product is our first step to tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonisation: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather, grid outages, or periods of low renewable generation," it states.
Mateo Jaramillo, CEO and Co-founder of Form Energy, said it conducted a broad review of available technologies and has reinvented the iron-air battery to optimise it for multi-day energy storage for the electric grid. "With this technology, we are tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonization: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather or grid outages," he said.
Form Energy and ArcelorMittal are working jointly on the development of iron materials which ArcelorMittal would non-exclusively supply for Form’s battery systems. Form Energy intends to source the iron domestically and manufacture the battery systems near where they will be sited. Form Energy’s first project is with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy, located near the heart of the American Iron Range.
Greg Ludkovsky, Global Head of Research and Development at ArcelorMittal, believes Form Energy is at the leading edge of developments in the long-duration, grid-scale battery storage space. "The multi-day energy storage technology they have developed holds exciting potential to overcome the issue of intermittent supply of renewable energy."
Investors in Form Energy's November 2020 round included Energy Impact Partners, NGP Energy Technology Partners III, and Temasek.
In May 2020, it signed a contract with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy to jointly deploy a 1MW / 150MWh pilot project to be located in Cambridge, MN. Great River Energy is Minnesota's second-largest electric utility and the fifth largest generation and transmission cooperative in the US.
Last week Helena and Energy Vault announced a strategic partnership to identify additional opportunities for Energy Vault’s waste remediation technologies as the company begins deployment of its energy storage system worldwide. It received new investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) in June.
Maoneng has revealed more details of its proposed 240MWp / 480MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in Australia (click here).
The BESS represents hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that will improve electricity grid reliability and network stability by drawing energy from the grid during off-peak periods for battery storage, and dispatching energy to the grid during peak periods.