Story at a glance
- KORE Power makes large-scale lithium-ion batteries for a variety of applications, including supporting renewable energy.
- The company is planning to open a new manufacturing facility.
- “Energy storage is the key enabler for decarbonization of our electric power grid,” says one expert.
The surge in renewable energy such as wind and solar power is a reason why energy storage solutions developer KORE Power has announced it intends to open a U.S. plant with a tentative 2021 start construction timeline and goal of creating approximately 2,000 jobs when fully operational. The plant — in a location yet to be determined — will produce lithium-ion batteries for wind and solar operations, microgrids and other large-scale uses.
“Energy storage is the core component of the nation’s evolving power grid,” says KORE Power CEO Lindsay Gorrill in an interview with Changing America.
“Using energy storage to create a reserve of energy when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining allows the grid to deliver power when intermittent resources are not producing. Simply put, energy storage enables electricity to be saved for later; this flexibility is crucial for grid reliability and resiliency as it enables consistent delivery of variable resources such as wind and solar,” says Gorrill.
Idaho-based KORE Power, which made its debut to the industry in 2019, emphasizes that safety is at the forefront of its battery designs. “We’ve added seven unique safety features to our modules for the Mark 1 Energy Storage System. These features support maintenance and installation activities, in order to establish safeguards for technicians as well as protect stakeholders’ assets,” says Gorrill.
He also adds that KORE Power batteries have been designed to consider the long-term impact on the environment. “From a chemistry standpoint, we utilize Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) batteries, which are three materials that are easier to recycle compared to alternative options. To make the process even easier for our customers, we have entered into a recycling partnership with Renewance, a leading provider of software solutions, consultancy and project management services to manage your battery end-of-life liabilities.”
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Speaking in general about the importance of energy storage, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor of Materials Chemistry Donald R. Sadoway tells Changing America, “Energy storage is the key enabler for decarbonization of our electric power grid. The attractive new carbon-free modes of generation (wind and solar) are both intermittent and so cannot befall integrated into caseload generation. With storage we would be able to draw electricity from the sun even when the sun doesn’t shine. Plus storage would allow us to make more efficient use of today’s grid — assets used in generation, transmission, and distribution.”
“Storage would do for our grid what refrigeration did for our food supply. The electric grid is the world’s largest supply chain with zero inventory,” Sadoway says.
Gorrill believes one of the current limitations in the energy storage sector is the lack of flexibility in developing solutions for specific applications. “By contrast, KORE Power offers energy storage systems for a wide array of project sizes,” he says. “We are currently working with customers for projects that range in size from 500 kWh to 1 GWh. Our Mark 1 Energy Storage System is highly scalable, which makes it an ideal solution for a variety of projects, ranging from solar plus storage to wind plus storage, microgrids and more. Our customers are battery storage developers, independent power producers, integrators, wind, solar and microgrid developers, behind the meter commercial and industrial facilities, mining operations, the military, E-mobility manufacturers and utilities.”
With the renewable energy sectors predicted to be nearly 40 percent of the U.S. energy market within the next three decades in the growing movement to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, Gorrill says energy storage systems will impact the everyday lives of the average person by providing a more efficient grid that is capable of incorporating new (renewable) energy sources, all while being more resistant to disruptions like blackouts and power outages, “ensuring consumers receive uninterrupted power whenever and wherever they need it.”
A forecast by MarketsandMarkets indicates the battery energy storage system market could grow from $2 billion in 2018 to an estimated $8.5 billion by 2023.
The assembly lines and processes for battery manufacturing at KORE Power’s planned lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in North America will be based on those already being used for the Mark 1 Energy Storage System production at a plant in Jiaozuo, China, which is owned by KORE Power’s manufacturing partner, Do-Fluoride Chemicals (DFD). KORE Power plans to continue production with DFD, its manufacturing partner in China, once the U.S. plant is completed, to better serve the global market.
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