Why do you need energy storage monitoring?

Energy Efficiency

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03 July 2018

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Jürgen Ritzek

From Davion Hill,

Joint Industry Program: IMPRESS

In July 2016, DNV GL proudly announced acquisition of Green Power Monitor, which monitors 2300 facilities in over 51 countries, totaling over 14 gigawatts of monitored projects. In the wind and solar business, Resource Panorama is an online data analytics service that can screen wind and solar performance, compare against industry benchmarks, and look for anomalies in performance.

Just this year, DNV GL launched and introduced Integrated Monitoring and Performance Reporting of Energy Storage Systems (IMPRESS), an online monitoring platform for energy storage with the intent to create a recommended practice for energy storage monitoring. For some time, DNV GL has been working with Voltaiq, a company that provides prognostics and data management for battery data and offers monitoring solutions to insurers and project owners. Voltaiq’s offering provides early warning of degradation issues and can be used to support insurance products that provide backstop against technical project risk. Voltaiq and DNV GL approach mutual customers with a means to verify and monitor critical project metrics. IMPRESS is designed to create best practices for energy storage monitoring, continuing with DNV GL’s tradition of using recommended practices (RP’s) to fill gaps in industry standards or knowledge where standards may not exist. We did this with GRIDSTOR (RP-0043) and will do it again with IMPRESS.

Why is monitoring good for you?

Presently, the industry self-monitors and reports through various software controls dashboards. More often than not, there are as many as four different entities involved in the design, build, installation, and operation of energy storage system. The battery cell manufacturer is often also the battery module manufacturer which includes a battery management system (BMS) that reports data up to the system level. The system data and controls are designed by the system integrator and make decisions based on available energy within the system along with temperature controls, fire suppression, and other system level activity. The system controls respond to commands from the energy management system (EMS) which may be yet another company that provides software and system controls based on market signals. A fourth party may be the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor which provides ongoing operations and maintenance and may also be the first in line to support performance guarantees. Therefore, the EPC may be dependent on monitoring from the EMS, which is dependent on data from the system, which is dependent on data from the BMS.  Because the EPC is usually the entity offering performance guarantees, there is an assumption that the EPC has responsibly estimated their own risk and will manage the supply chain to ensure that the project owner is made whole if a technical fault arises.  However, there are challenges with this approach:

  • What if another party (such as the off-taker) desires to have a record of monitoring data? For example, in California, it is a requirement for the resource adequacy agreement that four hours of duration be verified with monitoring. Presently, the software (EMS) dashboard is the source of this monitoring.
  • What if the provider of the performance guarantees and warranties is also the provider of data?
  • How can the integrity and accuracy of the data be assured to avoid conflict of interest?
  • What if the project requires monitoring for tax or financial reasons? In the US, the project may be built with the intent of including storage in the investment tax credit (ITC) and, therefore, the amount of renewable energy input into the battery is critical.

IMPRESS offers:

  • Independent platform that provides performance reporting and predictive analysis
  • Direct, simple insight into and graphical presentation of system performance
  • Monitoring of interaction between renewables and storage
  • Reliable independent data acquisition essential for resolving conflict on the performance with a vendor

Monitoring would include contractually important items such as verification of efficiency (which directly impacts revenue), availability, energy capacity and/or duration, power, response time, and other contractually important obligations.

There is one last benefit of monitoring. If, at any time during the project, the project may transition ownership (such as at the expiration of a solar-leaseback agreement), monitoring can be used to verify that the project performed as every stated it would, and thus, the data can be useful for renegotiation of the sale price.

First published here.

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About the author

Davion Hill is an energy storage subject matter expert in energy storage project development, testing, due diligence, and R&D. Known for building multi-company teams and finding mutual benefit for all parties. Well networked, having served on the Executive Boards of both NYBEST and NAATBatt, and served as former President and Chairman of NAATBatt. Demonstrated intrapreneur, having created several new service areas in energy storage and materials testing for DNV GL.

About the Author

Juergen Ritzek is co-founder and Business Director of EEIP