This Morning in Metals: Battery energy storage systems on the rise in US power grid

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battery energy storage

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This morning in metals news: the Energy Information Administration forecasts a “significant number” of battery energy storage systems will come onto the US electricity grid; meanwhile, miner Rio Tinto announced a partnership with renewable energy technology company Heliogen; and, lastly, global copper mine production levels came in about flat compared with 2020.

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EIA forecasts increase in battery energy storage

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) today projected an increase in battery energy storage systems on the US power grid.

In its Annual Energy Outlook 2021, the EIA projected 59 GW of battery storage will serve the US power grid in 2050.

“Battery storage systems store electricity produced by generators or pulled directly from the grid, and they redistribute that electricity later,” the EIA noted. “They typically charge, or store, electricity during hours of the day with relatively high energy supply, low energy demand, and low power prices. The batteries are then available to discharge electricity during hours with low supply, high demand, high power prices, or when the grid needs backup capacity for reliability.”

Rio Tinto reaches agreement with Heliogen

Miner Rio Tinto announced it had reached an agreement with renewable energy technology company Heliogen.

Through the agreement, the parties will explore the use of Heliogen’s solar technology at Rio Tinto’s borates mine in Boron, California.

“The two companies will begin detailed planning and securing government permits for the project, with the aim of starting operations from 2022,” Rio Tinto said in a release today. “The companies will also use the Boron installation to begin exploring the potential for deployments of Heliogen’s technology at Rio Tinto’s other operations around the world to supply process heat, which accounted for 14 per cent of Scope 1 & 2 emissions from the Group’s managed operations in 2020.”

Copper mine production flat in 2020

Despite impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, global copper mine production levels in 2020 were unchanged compared to the previous year, according to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG).

Peru, the second-largest copper producer, saw its output decline by 12.5% in 2020. Top producer Chile’s output declined by 1%.

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