Morning Brief: MIT spinoff developing next-gen CSP, The fate of the storage ITC in a split congress


247Solar, an MIT-spinoff, and microturbine maker Capstone Turbine tested a commercial turbine that can generate electricity using hot air at atmospheric pressure, without combustion. This is made possible by a heat exchanger using a nickel-chromium-aluminum-iron alloy engineered for operation at very high temperatures. The plant is driven by a CSP system that heats air to a high-enough temperature to drive the turbine to produce electricity. According to the company, the hot-air-driven Brayton Cycle system “operates at atmospheric pressure and requires no steam, molten salts, or heat transfer oils.” The system stores up to 20 hours of energy as heat, using ceramic pellets instead of molten salts.  Source: 247Solar

A storage Investment Tax Credit remains a possibility even in a split congress: According to a Bank of America analysis, a discussion with DC stakeholders expressed high likelihood of a stand-alone storage ITC irrespective of a split congress, driven by a bipartisan focus on resiliency — and accompanied by a lack of support from the administration. Under a potential split congress, the U.S. Energy Storage Association expects that a stand-alone storage ITC could be implemented by carving out storage as a qualifying technology under the existing ITC. It will likely be included in the next stimulus bill early next year, if not a tax extenders bill. Source: Bank of America

Last week, we reported on the Trump administration’s demotion of Neil Chatterjee from his FERC chairman position. According to Chatterjee, in an interview last week with The Washington Post, it is unclear whether the White House actually took the necessary steps to remove him from his post. The president must sign a legal designation for a new FERC chair, said Chatterjee, and typically the White House makes a public announcement. Instead, Chatterjee learned about his ouster when his replacement called him the evening of Nov. 5. Chaterjee helped usher through FERC Order 841, allowing energy storage to play in wholesale regional markets. FERC Order 2222, which lets DERs participate in wholesale energy markets, happened on Chaterjee’s watch. Chatterjee recently accepted a petition for a technical conference on carbon pricing. Source: Washington Post

Washington state’s first utility-scale solar and battery project is now online. The 4-MW Horn Rapids Solar, Storage & Training Project uses more than 11,400 solar panels in tandem with a 1 MW/4MWh battery storage system. Source: Energy Northwest

Going solar — my year-long quest to get off the grid: I installed a solar power system in my home in an attempt at “energy resilience.” The constraints — and the headaches — were greater than I anticipated. Source: Wired

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