BP and Google set to embrace battery boon

Major oil firm BP will work with Tesla to run a battery storage pilot at one of its windfarm projects in South Dakota, while Google has revealed it is "investigating" battery projects for later this year.

BP will use Tesla battery technology on the 25MW Titan 1 Windfarm in South Dakota in the second half of 2018. Renewable energy will be stored in a Tesla battery with an 840kwh energy capacity that is capable of providing up to 212kw of power.

“The battery pilot project at our Titan 1 Wind Farm will provide BP Wind Energy valuable insights as we seek opportunities to use energy storage more effectively across our diverse portfolio,” BP’s chief executive of wind energy Laura Fosle said.

“It’s another way that we’re working to create a wind energy business that is sustainable for the long-term and supporting the broader transition to a low-carbon future.”

BP currently operates 13 windfarms across the US, with a gross generating capacity of 2,259MW, enough electricity to power all the homes in a city the size of Philadelphia. Earlier this year, the company pledged to invest $500m into low-carbon solutions.

Google’s investigation

In related news, Google’s parent company Alphabet revealed to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) that is was hoping to trail battery storage solutions at some point in 2018.

Speaking at the BNEF Future of Energy summit in New York earlier this week, Alphabet’s head of energy strategy Neha Palmer revealed that the company was “investigating projects”.

It is believed that Alphabet are examining the business practicalities of standalone battery farms, behind-the-meter installations or a system similar to the one being rolled out by BP, whereby energy storage is directly linked to a wind or solar installation.

In 2016, Google announced that it had utilised an artificial intelligence (AI) system that has reduced energy consumption at its data centres by 40%. Over the past 10 years, Google has developed the AI system using the ‘DeepMind’ research company to live test a system of neural networks – computer systems modelled on the human brain – that have led to a more efficient and adaptive framework for data centre management.

BNEF predicts that the global energy storage market will double six times by 2030, while the global energy storage and renewables integration (ESRI) market will be worth more than $23bn by 2026, according to researchers.

Matt Mace

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