Big Batteries Booming

April 3, 2019

Renewable Energy World:

Florida Power & Light is vowing to go global-scale on a new solar and energy storage combination.

The unit of NextEra Energy announced plans to build a 409-MW energy storage facility in Manatee County. FPL says the Manatee Energy Storage Center will be the world’s largest solar-power battery system by four-fold.

Manatee, once it’s completed in late 2021, will be charged by a nearby FPL solar power plant. The company says the plan to discharge batteries during times of higher demand will offset the need to run other power plants, thus reducing emissions and saving customers as much as $100 million through avoided fuel costs.

“This is a monumental milestone in realizing the full benefits of solar power and yet another example of how FPL is working hard to position Florida as the global gold standard for clean energy,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “Even as we aggressively execute on our plan to install 30 million solar panels by 2030, we never lose sight of finding innovative ways to bring our customers the benefits of solar energy, even when the sun’s not shining. Replacing a large, aging fossil fuel plant with a mega battery that’s adjacent to a large solar plant is another world-first accomplishment and while I’m very pleased of that fact, what I’m most proud of is that our team remained committed to developing this clean energy breakthrough while saving customers money and keeping their bills among the lowest in the nation.”

Florida Power & Light’s plan is to accelerate the retirements of two nearby 1970s-era gas-fired generation units, while planning to install smaller battery systems across the state. At peak efficiency, the Manatee energy storage system could power 390,000 homes for up to two hours.

Last year, FPL added a 10 MW/40-MWh battery storage project into operations at its 74.5-MW Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center in Charlotte County. Babcock Ranch was built in 2016.

51 Responses to “Big Batteries Booming”

  1. redskylite Says:

    Research into nuclear fusion power has been ongoing for nearly 100 years now, and it seems that the European Union will invest at least €100m over the next two years in the future of the world’s largest nuclear fusion research facility in the U.K despite the BREXIT saga.

    “The Joint European Torus (JET) in Culham, operated by the UK Atomic Energy Authority, will receive at least €100 million (£85.7m) in additional investment from the EU over the next two years.”

    “A carbon-free future is looking brighter as funding was secured this week for the nuclear fusion experimental reactor, JET, which is at the forefront of research into the low-waste alternative to fission.”

    • redskylite Says:

      The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced that its SPARC reactor could begin producing energy from nuclear fusion by 2025, but it is a small reactor and likely to produce between just 50MW and 100MW of power. While this is much smaller than the long-predicted perfect fusion reactors, could it be an appealing source of energy?

      • Sir Charles Says:

        I will believe it when I see it.

        “This device will, if all goes according to plan, demonstrate key technical milestones needed to ultimately achieve a full-scale prototype of a fusion power plant that could set the world on a path to low-carbon energy.”

      • First; find a fusion reactor in which fusion lasts for more than about 6 minutes

        Second; find a fusion reactor that is “overpositive” for that period, quite a few fusion reactors are already overpositive for seconds.

        Third; find out how to extend these by a factor of 90,000 without significant damage being done to the reaction vessel

        Fourth; identify how to extract energy from that plasma without destablising it (heat extraction relies on circulating fluids)

        When you have all of those you will have a reactor test bed from which you can develop a commercial fusion reactor.

        Now you are into construction lead time. Lead time for nuclear installations is at least 10 years because:
        you must develop your design and identify where you can build it;
        obtain financing;
        remember that it must be in a geologically stable area, not liable to flooding or storm surge and with sufficient access to water;
        modify the design as appropriate.

        Hence the earliest possible date for commercial fusion generation will be between 2035 and 2045 – assuming that SPARC is accurate in its assessment

        In those 15 years it is entirely possible to build 800 GW and more of supply using renewables of various sorts – and at a lower cost than this, so far fictional, fusion reactor.

        Get financing and permissions for the construction. Build the

        Start construction

    • Sir Charles Says:

      Well, and for 70 years we’re being told that it will take another 30 years till we can see fusion power working. I’m tired of that. The power that keeps the fusion going on in the sun is an awful lot of gravity. We don’t have that here on earth.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      It’s not often that Chucky and I agree, but fusion power experiments have been in progress for 60 years now, and little progress has been made. These new efforts are not likely to be any more successful. The $$$ would be better spent on RE research (or fission power plants). Time is too short.

      • redskylite Says:

        DOG – As a retired Physics Teacher I’m sure you have a better idea of the complexities of mimicking the Sun’s intricate workings and nuclear fusion vs. fission than me. Some people are even excited about quark fusion, over nuclear fusion. The practical application of manipulating tiny particles seems too far off to help us now, when we need it. The idea of relying on geoengineering to save us from the effects of the blanket we have wrapped around earth is even worse.

        I guess the pressure and competition to be the first group to breakthrough (and find the holy grail) is too difficult to resist. thus big money is still invested.

        • Sir Charles Says:

          WordPress moved my comment to the wrong place. Please see below.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Bob, I’ve said it before, but I will repeat that you should not put yourself down with these “humble”-type comments. Atomic power—both fission and fusion—are simple enough to understand at the basic level—-you have worked hard to learn the science you needed to be a valued contributor on Crock, and as an educated layman, I’m sure you DO have a good idea of the “complexities” (and there are many).

          I spent a day at the PPPL (Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory) back around 1960—-a college field trip meant to supplement my Atomic and Nuclear Physics class. We were given a tour of the place, saw the Stellarator up close, and learned a lot about fusion power from the physicists who were our tour guides—-they were all enthusiastic and called it the “wave of the future” That was SIXTY years ago, and fusion is still in the future, unfortunately—-the holy grail it is, because it could solve our fossil fuel problem overnight, but it doesn’t look like we are really getting any closer to success. The “big money” knows how BIG a breakthrough would be, so they keep after it.

          You nailed it with: “The practical application of manipulating tiny particles seems too far off to help us now, when we need it. The idea of relying on geoengineering to save us from the effects of the blanket we have wrapped around earth is even worse”. Couldn’t have said it better.

          Read about the PPPL and the history of fusion research in the US here:

  2. redskylite Says:

    Natural gas pipeline in Germany holds “green” methane; Austria has similar plans

    Natural gas substitutes are still expensive, but proving the technology is a good step.

    “The methanation plant receives renewable hydrogen (H2) from a nearby plant that has harnessed excess wind and solar power for electrolysis-based hydrogen synthesis since 2013. The renewable-hydrogen project is run with help from Store & Go, a European Union-funded research program that recently partnered with CO2-capturing startup Climeworks to build a synthetic methane plant in Troia, Italy.”

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Chucky makes a REAL contribution for once. I subscribed to The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as a physics undergraduate back around 1960, and maintained the subscription for many years, using it as a resource when I taught physics and later just to keep up with developments in the Atomic Energy field. These are two good articles, written in the typical Bulletin style—“sciencey” but not beyond what a reasonably intelligent and educated layman can understand.

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