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Dr. Alan Gotcher

September 21, 2013 in Battery Energy Storage, Environment, EV News, EV Star of the Week, Ford, Greentech

Xtreme Power / Duke Energy, Notrees Energy Storage Project Photo courtesy of Messe Dusseldorf North America

Xtreme Power / Duke Energy, Notrees Energy Storage Project
Photo courtesy of Messe Dusseldorf North America

Dr. Alan Gotcher is the star of the week.  He is the CEO of Xtreme Power (power management and energy storage solutions).  Xtreme Power and partner, Duke Energy, were recently honored as the winners of the Energy Storage North America Innovation Award for the Notrees Wind Energy Storage Project in Texas.  Notrees is the largest wind energy storage system in North America with 36 MW of battery storage.

Xtreme Power / Duke Energy, Notrees Energy Storage Project Photo courtesy of Messe Dusseldorf North America

Xtreme Power / Duke Energy, Notrees Energy Storage Project
Photo courtesy of Messe Dusseldorf North America

The Xtreme press release stated: “Xtreme Power and Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the U.S., completed the Notrees project in December 2012 – providing environmentally friendly and flexible capacity to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the electrical grid in Texas and manages 75% of the deregulated market in the state.  The Notrees project represented Xtreme Power’s eighth successful project installation in one year.  To date, Xtreme Power has installed 77 MW in the field and counted 25,239 MWh charged/discharged.”

Ford Motor has a Xtreme battery storage system with solar power (Detroit Edison) at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan.  According to Ford, the solar battery storage system saves the company approximately $160,000 a year.  At this plant, Ford manufactures the Focus Electric, C-Max energi and Fusion energi.

Dr. Gotcher has successfully developed several storage working models in the field and has attracted great attention with the significant 36 MW storage system at Notrees.  Xtreme is a private company which has been funded since in its founding with over 90 million from some very notable investors, such as Dow Chemical, BP and Fluor.  Xtreme Power is obviously one to watch.

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Smoothing Renewable Wind Energy in Texas, Source: DOE

April 9, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Large Energy Storage, Wind

Dr. Imre Gyuk - Energy Storage Program Manager, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Photo courtesy of DOE

Dr. Imre Gyuk – Energy Storage Program Manager, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
Photo courtesy of DOE

Last month, a small west Texas town was the site of an important first: The commissioning of North America’s largest battery storage project at a wind farm. The Notrees Wind Storage Demonstration Project has implications that may eventually ripple across America, from moving us closer to realizing the potential of renewable energy to improving the reliability and efficiency of the electric grid and increasing our energy independence.

The Notrees Project is one of 16 energy storage demonstration projects supported by the Department under its Recovery Act-funded Smart Grid Energy Storage Demonstration Program. The project received $22 million from DOE, which was matched by $22 million from Duke Energy, for a total of $44 million. The system integration was performed by Xtreme Power.

The 36-megawatt energy storage and power management system, which completed testing and became fully operational in December, shows how energy storage can moderate the intermittent nature of wind by storing excess energy when the wind is blowing and making it available later to the electric grid to meet customer demand.

In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama described the progress we have made — such as doubling the amount of energy generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar – and urged us to generate more electricity with wind and drive the cost of solar power down even further. Demonstrating the benefits of advanced energy storage technologies such as those used at Notrees can help accelerate the further deployment of renewables.

The Nortrees project is an important pilot project using storage to help stabilize the frequency of electricity provided to the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages approximately 85 percent of the state’s electric load. The Notrees project is expected to help facilitate broader adoption of energy solutions by providing a model for industry to follow. Widespread adoption, in turn, should provide alternatives to fossil-fueled energy — further reducing our dependence on foreign oil — and additional resources to the grid, ultimately leading to a more stable electricity delivery system and lower cost.

An example of another Smart Grid Energy Storage Demonstration Program recipient capturing the attention of industry is Aquion Energy which announced last week that it has received $35 million in venture capital funding to support the commercialization and launch of novel energy storage systems.

Finally, one last important element not to be lost in the conversation: last month’s ribbon-cutting event, where I had the pleasure of representing the Department, marked the successful culmination of collaborative efforts between Duke, the Department, national laboratories, private companies and electricity delivery system operators. Partnerships such as these are vital to continue moving the nation closer to a cleaner, stronger and more secure energy future.

This article is a repost, credit: Department of Energy, Dr. Imre Gyuk, Energy Storage Program Manager, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability,

EV and Solar Industries Chase the Dream

December 25, 2012 in Environment, EV News, Ford, Greentech, Solar

Bill Ford charging Focus Electric
Photo courtesy of Ford

Every auto manufacturer selling EVs should be offering a package home solar deal.  The EV industry and the solar industry are often chasing the same customer.  A package deal sells the dream of clean American energy that many of these prospective customers desire.   Ford and SunPower figured this out early, and I suspect that other auto and solar companies will do the same.  Home solar installer, Solar City, states on its website that it is the preferred installer for Tesla.

Also, major municipalities should be developing EV, solar, and battery storage projects on a wider scale.  There are numerous municipal lots across the United States that could be converted.  The San Diego Zoo recently completed one such project, which showcases this technology.  This is a snippet from Smart City San Diego:  “Mayor Jerry Sanders and the San Diego Zoo unveiled a solar photovoltaic canopy that will charge electric vehicles (EVs) in the Zoo parking lot.  One of the first of its kind in the country, the project uses solar energy to directly charge plug-in EVs, store solar power for future use, and provide renewable energy to the surrounding community.  The Solar-to-EV project serves as a new energy infrastructure blueprint that can be replicated throughout the region and beyond.”

This is the long-term direction of the country, and it is a revolutionary change.  I believe 2013 will prove to be the breakout year for electric vehicles.  There are going to be a number of excellent EV models on the market that will generate a lot of buzz.  These are high quality products that offer a taste of the future that many Americans cannot ignore.  EVs are a building block to the restoration of American energy independence.  We can achieve this.

China Solar Trade Dispute is China Green Opportunity

December 24, 2012 in BYD, China, Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar

The Chinese government should use policy and government investment to put all the excess Chinese solar capacity to work in China.  The US and EU have obviously had enough of Chinese solar dumping.  Instead of wasting time on a trade spat, China should get serious about clean solar projects in China.  There is a dire need for solar installations and solar electric power projects in China.  In recent years, the Chinese have been spending billions importing coal, and taking billions of losses exporting solar.  This solar trade dispute with the west is an opportunity for the Chinese government to change the way China derives energy.

Build Your Dreams Image courtesy of BYD

To start, solar and electric vehicle projects could be developed together to spur the demand of both industries.  To date, the government has been making big electric vehicle plans on faulty premises.  The Chinese populace has not been excited about electric vehicles, because the electric grid power mix is about 80% coal.  It is difficult to think green EV when the electric power is gray.

One year ago, BYD (Build Your Dreams) helped construct State Grid’s largest battery storage, wind, and solar facility in Zhangbei China.  The project was estimated to produce 100MW of wind, 40MW of solar and 36MWh of battery storage.  This is the type of project that should be fast-tracked throughout China.

BYD K9 electric bus Photo courtesy of BYD

On a more positive note, China is leading the world in high-speed electric train technology.  According to the China Railway Engineering Corporation, China now has the largest electric railway with 48,000 kilometers of rail.  In addition, China’s BYD has recently announced plans to manufacture and sell electric buses in Europe and the United States.  BYD currently has over 200 electric buses in operation in Shenzhen China, which have been very successful.  Together, high-speed electric rail and electric buses are two world changing technologies.  As gasoline prices climb in future years, electric mass transportation is going to be a huge beneficiary.

GE Solar EV Charging and Durathon Battery Storage

December 22, 2012 in Battery Energy Storage, Environment, EV charging, EV News, Greentech, Solar

GE EV Solar Carport – Plainville, CT
Photo courtesy of GE

General Electric has the ingredients to transform the EV charging market.  GE can produce solar powered EV charging stations with energy dense battery support systems.  The potential here is enormous for GE and for the world.  The future EV solar charging stations could be designed around large and small parking infrastructures, such as municipal lots, airports, stadiums, shopping centers, universities, and corporate campuses.

The differentiator for GE is the Durathon battery, which is an energy dense, long-lasting battery that GE is now mass producing in a state of the art facility in Schenectady, New York.  The battery has a sodium and nickel composition.  Durathon batteries can be used as an energy storage system to support EV solar charging stations.  By utilizing efficient solar panels and Durathon battery storage, GE can maximize the energy of the sun to produce clean energy for electric vehicles.

GE Durastation
Photo courtesy of GE

General Electric sells EV chargers called DuraStations and WattStations that can be powered by solar panels.  According to the GE product website, the DuraStations can provide Level II charging in 4 to 8 hours, or the DuraStations can be designed for a fast charge in 1 to 2 hours with 400Vac at 32A service.  These statistics are approximations for an electric vehicle with a 24kWh battery.  The WattStations are sleek designed level II chargers and basic wall mounted level II home chargers.

General Electric stated this summation on its website: “For owners looking to integrate renewable sources into their building’s power supply or roll out electric vehicle charges, the Durathon Battery Energy Storage System is the ideal choice.  Durathon Batteries have an extremely small footprint and require minimal maintenance, ensuring that the system is cost effective to install and operate.  With the capability to be fully integrated into an existing building energy management system, Durathon Battery technology’s superior storage capability helps ensure renewable power supply is balanced with building loads, and congestion and peak demands caused by excess EV charging are decreased.”