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Canada, USA July 27 2017
To provide some background on where energy storage stands today, GTM Research reported that the U.S. energy storage market alone is expected to increase tenfold to US$3.2 billion from 2016 to 2022, according to a recent report of the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor. One possible reason for the anticipated increase is that the cost to implement storage technologies has dropped significantly, making it more cost-effective. According to a recent McKinsey article, the average battery-pack costs are down from approximately US$1,000 per kilowatt-hour (“KWh”) in 2010 to less than US$230 per KWh in 2016. Another possible reason is the growing understanding that storage can significantly improve the efficient use of renewable energy since it provides a mean for intermittent energy to be stored for use at another time. In this regard, the National Energy Board (“NEB”) of Canada has identified the pairing of grid-scale electricity storage and renewable electricity generating technologies as a strong candidate to transform the energy system. By supporting a larger share of renewables in the electricity grid, the NEB suggested that energy storage could improve grid-stabilization and buffer peak electricity demands. A third possible reason to explain the expected increase in storage deployment is that many governmental authorities are putting in place legislation, regulations, policies, and programs to incent storage developments. Taking these factors together, it is no surprise that energy storage has generated tremendous interest from across the energy sector. We expect this interest to grow.
How Canada is advancing energy storage
As many anticipate the role that energy storage will increasingly play in the grid, we are beginning to see some legislative changes being made in Ontario and Alberta to encourage storage development. For instance, Ontario’s net metering regulation (O Reg 541/05) was amended in July 1, 2017 in order to allow renewable energy generation facilities of any size with an energy storage component to be eligible for net metering whereas this was previously not permitted (as discussed here). In Alberta, the provincial government announced last November the introduction of a “capacity market” for electricity which experts believe will likely spur the development of renewable projects paired with energy storage due to their potential to create capacity value. Alberta’s capacity market is expected to be in place by 2021.
The NEB’s July 2016 Market Snapshot on energy storage in Canada reported that over 50 megawatts (“MW”) of battery capacity is expected to be operational in Canada by 2018, accounting for 81% of the total electricity storage market. Flywheel accounts for another 11% of the total electricity storage market.
There are a number of storage projects that are currently under development in Ontario. For example:
As these examples show, Canada’s energy storage market is beginning to take off. We will next explore how the U.S. has continued to build on its growing market in the past year.
How the U.S. is advancing energy storage on the state level in the regulatory space
According to GTM Research, the U.S. energy storage industry deployed 71 MW and 234 MWh of capacity in Q1 2017, which was the largest quarter ever – a 944% increase compared with Q1 2016 – in terms of energy storage installations. 21 states now have 20 MW of storage projects proposed, in construction, or deployed and 10 states have pipelines of more than 100 MW. Upcoming legislative and regulatory changes may lead to substantial increases in energy storage installations in parts of the U.S. A table showing recently proposed legislation on energy storage can be found here with some highlighted in greater details below.
Given the apparent embrace of energy storage seen in the initiatives described above, it would not be surprising if other U.S. states that have not yet adopted legislation on energy storage do so in the near future.
How the Private Sector is advancing energy storage globally
We are also observing ever-increasing private sector investments in energy storage around the world. Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts the global energy storage market may be valued at $250 billion or more by 2040. In particular, we highlight two recent activities that have received major media coverage in this month alone.
On July 6, 2017, Tesla won a tender to build in 100 days the world’s largest battery, charged by renewable energy, in South Australia. This announcement came in the wake of an increasing number of blackouts experienced in South Australia, including one last year that left many homes in some areas without power for weeks. The 129 MWh project comprises the world’s largest lithium-ion energy storage system ever and will be charged by a 99-turbine wind farm. The South Australian state government hopes that the battery will improve grid reliability, provide enough power for more than 30,000 homes, and provide emergency backup power in the event of a blackout.
On July 11, 2017, AES Corp (an American energy firm) and Siemens AG (a German engineering firm) announced that they will join force to create a 50-50 joint-venture for energy storage. The deal is expected to close in Q4 2017. The joint-venture, dubbed Fluence, will be operated independently of its two owners and will be based in Washington, D.C. AES and Siemens currently account for about 17% of installed energy storage globally. If the collaboration succeeds, it will be the most geographically distributed grid storage development venture. The two companies together claim 463 MW deployed across 48 projects in 13 countries.
It appears that energy storage may in fact be on its way to being a “game changer” in Canada, the U.S. and internationally in the energy space. We will continue to cover developments in this area as they unfold.