Energy Storage Delivers Financial, Environmental Benefits for Power Entities

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James Holler, Founder, Abidance Consulting

Advanced energy storage has proven that it delivers significant environmental and economic benefits as well as superior Bulk Electric System (BES) reliability. Let’s look at some of its key benefits:

Reduces the Need for Reserve Power Plants: Electricity storage technologies provide effective methods of responding to daily fluctuations in demand. Electricity produced at off-peak hours is now capable of being stored and used later to meet demand spikes, thereby reducing the need for expensive, aging, and carbon emitting fossil-fired reserve generation plants.

Cuts the Cost of Power Failures: As a result of the aging U.S. electricity grid, the DOE estimates that electricity outages and interruptions cost the U.S. approximately $150 billion annually.  Electricity storage technologies can provide power to the grid to “bridge” gaps and smooth out short-term fluctuations until backup generation sources can be brought online.

Boosts Renewable Energy Integration: Wind and solar power are the two largest sustainable sources of carbon-free natural resources. But both are intermittent, varying widely in the energy that they can provide at any one time during the day due to fluctuation in the wind patterns and intermittent cloud cover for solar panels. Power storage technologies can smooth out this variability and allow unused electricity to be dispatched at a later time when it is needed at peak times. In addition, paired with renewables, energy storage can provide regulation services such as ramp control, curtailment mitigation, firming/shaping of power and other grid reliability services.

Currently there are about six energy storage technologies available in the market today: pumped hydropower, batteries, compressed air energy storage, flywheels, superconducting magnetic energy storage, and electrochemical capacitors.  Solid state battery technologies are suited to quick, modular, scalable deployments with few environmental risks. We’ll survey each in our next blog tomorrow.

James Holler is founder of Abidance Consulting.

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