ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 21

PETRMALINAK/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

By Jason Abiecunas, Director of Distributed Energy Resources, Black & Veatch and
Frank Jakob, Technology Manager for Energy Storage, Black & Veatch

HAT WE'RE WITNESSING TODAY
is a tale as old as time. New
technology begets uncertainty,
uncertainty begets education and
testing, then education and testing
begets standardization and mass adoption. The
same principles that aided the propagation of
coal, combustion turbines and renewable energy
technologies are now at work with battery energy
storage system (BESS) technologies.
Renewable energy markets are shifting from
legislatively mandate markets to pull markets (or
a solution favored by customers and investors
alike as a green, sustainable solution), but we've
only scratched the surface on how the energy
industry can leverage sustainable technology
to build a cleaner, more efficient, more reliable
grid. The most pivotal technology to realize mass
adoption of sustainable power may very well be
energy storage, and we've seen firsthand that
significant uncertainty remains.
It's easy to see the value of energy storage.
We have used it for over 100 years in the form
of pumped hydroelectric storage (PHS). In fact,
over 95% of all energy storage on the grid
today is PHS, which is designed to allow large,
gigawatt central generation systems to run at
optimal capacity factors with high efficiency
and low emissions.
As power generation becomes more distributed, however, a more distributed technology to store electricity is needed; hence, BESS.
Lithium-ion battery cells that resemble AA batteries are used by the thousands in electric vehicles
(EVs) to provide the tens of kilowatt hours (kWh)
of energy needed to drive them. For the grid,
millions of such cells will be used to provide the
megawatt hours (MWh) needed to balance the
grid against the variability (intermittency and
periodicity) of renewable energy resources. (Note:
1 MWh would power 1,000 homes for 1 hour).

MAKING CENTS FROM A
NEW TECHNOLOGY
The physics behind a battery is electrochemistry: the release of electrons as a chemical reaction
takes place. We are all familiar with the lead-acid
battery that we use for starting our cars, and for
reference, such a battery contains about 1 kWh

(100 Ah at 12V). A lithium ion battery of the same
size would contain 10 kWh. That is the wonder of
lithium-ion. It is significantly more energy dense
than its battery predecessors, while physically
both lighter and smaller.
Another attribute of batteries is the wear and
tear they endure at the expense of charging and
discharging cycles. They possess slightly less
capacity with each cycle, which accumulates
over time. Where the lead-acid battery in your
car may last 3-5 years, a lithium-ion counterpart
can last over 10 years, cycling once per day for
over 3,650 cycles.
The light weight, small size and long life are
characteristics that have catapulted lithium-ion
batteries into the EV market. With the increased
adoption of EVs, there are economies of scale in
the manufacturing of lithium ion battery cells that
have reduced the cost of production by a factor
of four since 2010 and is projected to be halved
yet again by 2025.
The power industry has embraced lithium-ion
cells as the lowest capital cost means of storing
electricity on a distributed scale. Thus, the frequent press about more and more BESS systems
being installed: leveraging solar, wind and even
with gas-turbines, all to balance this "new era"
grid faced with both changing loads and variable generation.

WHICH CHEMISTRY WILL
LEAD THE CHARGE?
With lithium-ion batteries being used for so
many types of applications and so many different sizes, it shouldn't be surprising that there are
several different "flavors" of lithium-ion chemistry. Some are better for power, some are better
for energy, some are best for balancing power
and energy, some are better for cycling, and yet
others are better for safety.
First, let us understand that less than 5% of a
lithium ion battery is lithium. The "secret sauce"
of the different chemistries is what determines
the performance characteristic of the battery.
The different elements typically used in these
batteries are: nickel, manganese, cobalt, iron,
aluminum, titanium and oxygen. A subset of
the constituents has evolved to show up in the
common name.
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ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019

RMEL Board of Directors
Former NFL Star and Cancer Survivor Merril Hoge’s “Find A Way” Journey Sparks Intention at RMEL’s Spring Conference
Austin’s Experience Instituting a 5G Wireless Program
APS’ Fossil Unit Monitoring Tool Improves Efficiency, Generates Savings
Charging a Path Towards Battery Storage
Xcel Energy’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Future
28 Steam Turbine Cycling—Operator Considerations, Best Practices and Options for Optimization
Maximize on the New Energy Paradigm at RMEL’s 116th Fall Convention
2019 Calendar of Events
Member Listings
Foundation Board of Directors
Advertiser’s Index
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Intro
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - cover1
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - cover2
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 3
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 4
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 5
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - RMEL Board of Directors
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 7
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Former NFL Star and Cancer Survivor Merril Hoge’s “Find A Way” Journey Sparks Intention at RMEL’s Spring Conference
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 9
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 10
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 11
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Austin’s Experience Instituting a 5G Wireless Program
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 13
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 14
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 15
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 16
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 17
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - APS’ Fossil Unit Monitoring Tool Improves Efficiency, Generates Savings
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 19
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Charging a Path Towards Battery Storage
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 21
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 22
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 23
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Xcel Energy’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Future
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 25
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 26
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 27
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 28 Steam Turbine Cycling—Operator Considerations, Best Practices and Options for Optimization
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 29
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 30
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 31
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Maximize on the New Energy Paradigm at RMEL’s 116th Fall Convention
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 33
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 34
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 2019 Calendar of Events
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Member Listings
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - 37
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - Advertiser’s Index
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - cover3
ELECTRIC ENERGY | SUMMER 2019 - cover4
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