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New and improved grid-scale energy storage technologies are gaining popularity. Pumped hydro storage is efficient, but installations are expensive and time-consuming to build. Lithium-ion batteries are common in small applications, but building large-scale lithium-ions remains prohibitively expensive. Ultracapacitors and flow batteries have their niche uses. And some cutting-edge solutions aggregate many small amounts of storage, whether from electric vehicle batters, uninterruptible power supplies, or the thermal storage embodied in water heaters. Scroll down for insight into this important sector.

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Smart grid wins: Checking in with the latest projects and developments

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid companies, smart grid companies
This week’s collection of smart grid wins features news from companies large and small, well-known and not so well-known. Read the story for an overview of an array of projects in addition to two new partnerships for Riello UPS and Itron.

Energy storage: Is the time finally right for grid-integrated water heaters?

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, grid-scale energy storage, demos and pilot projects
It’s an old idea, the concept of using a fleet of water heaters for energy storage. But with the help of new technology, demonstration projects are proving that water heaters (and space heaters) can be an effective element in grid-scale energy storage strategies.

Unions see the handwriting -- they are retraining for a net zero energy world

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid job training, electric utilities
We recently reported on Italian utility Enel’s new program to train the skilled workforce needed for a modern, decentralized electric grid. Innovations in training are happening in the U.S. too. Thousands of union electrical workers will be trained every year in smart grid technologies like grid-scale storage, renewable energy and advanced energy efficiency at the new Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute. Click for details.

This week’s smart grid wins... new projects, new partnerships

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid wins, smart grid companies, smart grid vendors, smart grid projects
This week’s smart grid wins roundup includes news from all over the map, from Germany and France to Hawaii and Ontario. Read the story to learn about a variety of new projects from Siemens, Itron, Stem, Schneider Electric and others.

Quinone-based batteries could reduce need for metals, but project costs are high

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, flow batteries, Lux Research
Battery costs must drop if the stationary energy storage market is to grow as hoped over the next few years. New technologies look like promising ways to get around the need for metals like vanadium, but two Lux Research analysts report that project costs remain a concern.

What utilities forget when they analyze storage (Hint: It has to do with benefits)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, utility business case, strategy, electric utilities
Reducing the cost of energy storage technologies is important. It’s good business. But guest author Rogers Weed points out that it is just as valuable to increase the benefits storage systems provide. As he points out, business cases are referred to as cost-benefit analyses for a reason.

Grid-scale storage breakthrough? Flow batteries get new life

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, energy storage R&D, flow batteries, electric utilities
Today’s energy storage technologies aren’t all about lithium-based batteries. Much improved and more cost efficient next-generation flow batteries are attracting a lot of interest and investment. Here are two examples of the new technologies that could very well make it to the grid-scale energy storage market.

Forget lead and lithium. How about grid-scale batteries based on... water?

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, grid-scale energy storage technologies, smart grid research and development
In an attempt to sidestep the disadvantages of today’s grid-scale energy storage technologies, researchers are developing a water-based battery that does not include expensive rare metals or toxic chemicals. The project is in its early phase, but an interesting one to follow.

Smart grid wins: It’s been a busy (and global) week for smart grid projects

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid companies, smart grid projects, energy storage, metering, transmission, communications
You’ll see some familiar and not so familiar names in this week’s roundup of smart projects and developments. It’s a diverse collection including metering, energy storage, outage management and more. And they’re happening in a variety of locations, from the US to Scotland, Saudi Arabia and India.

Storage gets a lift from California’s $415 million for behind-the-meter generation

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, distributed generation, renewable energy, California energy policy, electric utilities
California legislators have approved $415 million in funding for behind-the-meter power generation from wind and fuel cells to be paired with energy storage. Dean Frankel of Lux Research explains how the program will work and lays out the details. For more, read the companion story on DOE’s funding initiative.

Smart grid tech: A bit of what’s new from the technology sector

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid companies, smart grid vendors, distribution automation, communications, energy storage
The quest for better smart grid technologies and enhancements never stops. Read about GE Digital Energy’s new time synchronization solution, ABB’s latest secondary substation, a new analytics offering from C3 Energy and other platforms and devices.

Grid planners -- stop leaving out storage!

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, smart grid markets, electric utilities, grid optimization
Despite progress, the cost of grid-scale energy storage continues to inhibit its growth. But cost isn’t the only reason for slow growth. A new report from the Energy Storage Association says the grid modeling and planning software widely used today is simply not equipped to properly value storage as an integrated grid asset.

More trouble for the fuel cell market: ClearEdge Power files for bankruptcy

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, fuel cells, fuel cell markets, markets and pricing, Lux Research
As Cosmin Laslau of Lux Research makes clear, the fuel cell market is a very rough place for development companies to survive. Citing the bankruptcy filing of developer ClearEdge Power and the missteps that led to it, he warns that more bankruptcies and consolidations are coming and that fuel cell companies and investors should be extremely cautious.

More proof energy storage is turning the corner (commercial buildings are on board)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy storage, demand response, commercial buildings
The tipping point for energy storage seems to be approaching quickly. The cost of storage technologies is falling and incentives are increasing. Read the story to learn more about the current status of energy storage and which buildings are best suited for it.

4 grid breakthroughs utilities need to know about (including one for smartphones)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid innovation, energy storage, renewable energy, electric utilities
Yes, utilities get criticized for failing to move quickly enough on new innovations and technologies. But as guest author Lisa Wood contends, utilities have already adopted what can only be described as breakthrough innovations in several areas.

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