CNESA’s Industry Tracking Database reveals four companies that have made significant advancements in energy storage projects and new business activities in the first half of 2018: eTrust, Narada, CLOU, and CATL. Below, we examine some of the highlights of each company’s new progress in energy storage.
eTrust: An Energy Storage “Upstart” Comes Out Ahead
On July 18, China’s largest scale battery energy storage station, the Jiangsu Zhenjiang grid-side 101MW/202MWh project, began operation. Of the 8 energy storage stations constructed as part of the project, eTrust, China Aviation Lithium Battery, CATL, Guoxuan, and ZTT each won bids to provide lithium ion battery systems. Of these, eTrust provided the largest battery, at 40MW/80MWh, nearly 40% of the project’s total capacity.
As a Zhenjiang based company, eTrust possessed a geographic advantage during the bidding process. More importantly, the company also possesses top lithium ion battery technology and a body of experience initiating successful projects. eTrust was established in Zhenjiang in June of 2016 as a holding company of CITICPE. Despite being a relatively young company, eTrust has already established 7 centers for manufacturing and R&D. eTrust’s project experience includes the Yangyi solar-plus-storage project in Tibet, a 52.8MWh grid-side battery project in Ontario, Canada, and a 9MWh grid-side energy storage project in Irvine, California. With the Zhenjiang grid-side battery project now added to its list of successful projects, eTrust has become a major energy storage player in just two years.
Narada Power: Frequent Winner of Behind-the-Meter Storage Projects and Collaborator on New Initiatives
According to CNESA’s Project Tracking Database, of newly operational electrochemical energy storage projects in 2017, Narada Power supplied the largest capacity, the majority of which was concentrated in behind-the-meter applications. In the first half of 2018, Narada’s behind-the-meter storage maintained this momentum, with the company participating in a variety of projects. Most of these projects were distributed across Jiangsu province and utilized the company’s “investment-plus-operations” model. The Zenith Group 400MWh energy storage station is currently Narada’s largest contracted singular project, and has been a great achievement in the use of large-scale energy storage for commercial applications. In addition, the Jiangsu Grid Corportation’s efforts to curb summer electricity peak prices in eastern Zhenjiang has also relied on the use of behind-the-meter energy storage projects powered primarily by Narada Power’s lead-carbon batteries, with over 500MWh being put to use.
In the first half of the year, Narada has also established strategic partnerships with other companies. One example is Narada’s energy storage partnership with China Resources Power. The partnership includes cooperation on power sales and purchases, construction of a microgrid storage system, and development of incremental distribution and storage. Narada has also partnered with State Grid EV Service on a number of projects and initiatives, including promotion of the National Grid Energy Storage Cloud Service, exploration of new business models, demand response dispatch, green energy trading, ancillary services for grid stability, safety, and reliability, and orderly development of the grid system.
CLOU Electronics: A Major Player in the “Thermal Plant Plus Energy Storage” Frequency Regulation Service
According to statistics from the CNESA Project Tracking Database, as of the 2017 year’s end, China had in operation three combined thermal plant and energy storage projects, one of which included CLOU Electronics’s 9MW/4.478MWh project at the Tongda power plant in Shanxi. In the first half of 2018, CLOU continued to develop its combined thermal plant and storage frequency regulation, engaging in a total of 90MW of projects across Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, and Guangdong provinces. These projects include the Guangdong CR Power Haifeng 30MW/14.93MWh frequency regulation project, which surpassed the Inner Mongolia 18MW/9MWh Shangdu power plant project as the largest thermal power plant plus energy storage frequency regulation project.
CLOU has potential to lead the country in the “thermal plant plus energy storage model.” CLOU has already developed components such as energy storage batteries, BMS, PCS, EMS, and other key technologies while also providing systems integration services, allowing the company to provide a full range of storage solutions. With provinces such as Shanxi and Guangdong beginning to release market regulations that allow energy storage to take part in frequency regulation services, CLOU now has more opportunities to put its technological knowledge and project experience to work in new storage markets.
CATL: Working to Solidify the EV Battery Business While Advancing Grid-Side Energy Storage
In the first half of 2018, CATL continued to expand the EV battery business that it is most known for. In March, CATL launched its IPO, with plans to raise 13.12 billion RMB, add 24GWh of production capacity, and invest 4.2 billion RMB in R&D for two projects the Huxi lithium-ion battery production plant project and an EV and energy storage battery research project.
While CATL expands its EV battery business, it has also made new strides in energy storage. The company has recently begun exploring grid-side storage, including the Jinjiang Li-ion energy storage project. The three stage project plans to begin with a system of 100 MWh, expanding to 500 MWh and finally 1000 MWh in the third stage. The project is largely intended to support the Quanzhou city power grid dispatch, providing ancillary services for the local network. CATL also won a bid to provide a grid-side energy storage project to eastern Zhenjiang, providing a 10MW/20MWh Li-ion energy storage system for the Xinbai storage station.
Aside from experimenting with renewable integration and behind-the-meter storage, CATL has also explored other applications. The independent energy storage station in Jinjiang is the first time the company has tried grid-side energy storage. With the continued development of electric vehicles and the energy storage market, CATL’s advanced battery technology is more than likely to continue expanding its energy storage into new and diverse areas.
The projects developed by eTrust, Narada Power, CLOU Electronics, and CATL in the first half of 2018 were largely concentrated in grid-side, behind-the-meter, and ancillary services applications. In terms of technology, lead-carbon batteries and Li-ion batteries were most frequently utilized in the first half of 2018. Geographically, Jiangsu province lead the way in both number of new projects and total new capacity, reflecting how the province’s energy storage industry has benefited from policy support as well as its energy arbitrage system for industrial customers.
The strong market in the first half of 2018 will hopefully carry into the year’s second half, bringing further development to behind-the-meter, grid-side, and ancillary services applications. As electricity reforms continue to advance, energy storage will have more opportunities to participate in the electricity market, helping to build greater confidence among vendors.
Author: Cao ZhengxinTranslation: George Dudley