Calif. market grows with Shell purchase, national lab agreementsĀ 

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, June 26, 2015

The California energy storage market got a boost this week with two new developments.

The San Francisco Bay Area startup Advanced Microgrid Solutions announced Monday that it has signed a deal with Shell Energy North America to install up to 20 megawatts of batteries at Shell sites throughout California.

The deal will see AMS systems installed at Shell’s commercial and industrial sites, as well as at Shell’s utility customers’ buildings. AMS will design, finance, build and operate the projects, while Shell and the utility customers will be able to claim the projects’ energy-saving benefits. The batteries allow buildings to operate on reserve power during times of peak demand, reducing the need to buy electricity at high prices and allowing utilities to postpone upgrading distribution systems to handle higher peak loads.

The company announced earlier this month that it would use Tesla’s new industrial battery system in a project for Southern California Edison. AMS will be supplying SCE with 50 MW, as part of the utility’s mandate to contribute to 1.3 gigawatts of storage statewide by 2022 (EnergyWire, June 5). The Shell projects will likely use Tesla’s batteries, as well, according to Vice President of Policy and Markets Manal Yamout.

AMS was founded in 2013 by two longtime California energy industry veterans: Susan Kennedy, a top adviser to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and former member of the California Public Utilities Commission, and Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, a former chairwoman of the California Energy Commission and former assistant secretary of the Navy under President Obama overseeing energy and environment.

Lawrence Livermore joins CalCharge

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced yesterday that it would offer its expertise to California energy storage companies, joining the Bay Area’s other two national laboratories that have already committed to the region’s storage industry.

As the newest member of the public-private consortium CalCharge, LLNL will help companies with their battery technology research.

CalCharge began in 2013 as a partnership between the U.S. Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the California Clean Energy Fund, a nonprofit investment fund created after the 1999-2000 California energy crisis. It’s aimed at helping California’s energy storage companies network, develop their technologies and hone their business strategies. Its members include manufacturers and potential customers like Duracell, Hitachi and Volkswagen, as well as younger companies like EnerVault, Primus Power and Farasis Energy.

LLNL and CalCharge are working on a research agreement to allow CalCharge members access to the lab’s facilities and scientists, similar to those already in place with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

“The addition of Livermore Lab as a partner and CalCharge’s continued growth reflect the economic opportunity inherent in the energy storage sector in California,” said Julie Blunden, chairwoman of the CalCharge board. “We’re excited about the innovative work our members are undertaking to usher in a new era of advanced energy storage.”