Energy storage is on everyone’s mind and for good reason. Current power delivery networks are facing a critical inflection point. New and evolving regulations paired with increased scrutiny of greenhouse gas emissions and the ever-increasing demand for power, has the energy industry focusing on ways to leverage renewable energy at scale while maintaining power reliability.
In its current state, the grid is unable to effectively incorporate renewable energy as a significant power source. Modernizing the grid and introducing new technologies to accommodate increased use of renewable energy means transforming the entire electricity ecosystem from utilities to consumers. A major component of this modernization is integrating power storage capabilities into power delivery networks.
Following in the footsteps of the electronic industry, lithium battery technology has been the most widely used as a renewable energy storage solution. As a relatively new technology that has evolved over the last 40 years, batteries are becoming more widely adopted by utilities as a method to store energy. While the implementation of large-scale battery storage does require utilities to change their operating models, the benefits of tapping into energy storage solutions are worth the effort.
Effective energy storage has the potential to reduce environmental impact, improve power reliability, and generate long-term return on investment.
Reduce Environmental Impact
Renewable energy is an environmentally sustainable way to generate power, but its intermittent nature makes it an unreliable source compared to fossil fuels. Incorporating an energy storage system would allow the opportunity to store excess power generated during ideal weather conditions and create the flexibility to use it later.
By incorporating more wind, solar, and distributed energy sources into the power mix with integrated power storage solutions, it would reduce the reliance on fossil fuels to meet the demanding and fluctuating power needs. As a result, less coal and oil power plants would need to be used and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced.
Improve Power Reliability
Due to lacking centralized renewable energy storage capabilities, power is created as it is needed. This makes it difficult for utilities to manage peak energy demands, provide consistent and reliable power, and eliminate grid fluctuations. When the demand for electricity is high, small failures can interrupt power creation and efficiency, prompting anything from inconsistent power flow to widespread power loss. Energy storage reduces the constant ebb and flow of power generation by allowing electricity to be stored and released when needed to meet consumers’ demand.
The long-term benefits of energy storage will be felt by both utilities and consumers alike. For utilities, energy storage has the ability to: improve the performance of facilities while avoiding the need to make costly updates, store low-cost energy that is generated during off-peak hours to use when demand is high, and improve electrical sustainability to ultimately eliminate power quality disturbances. Consumers will benefit from consistent and predictable power that will remove the threat of costly outages while also providing the opportunity to install energy storage in their own home or business to reduce energy costs and meet sustainability goals.
Power storage systems are a significant financial investment, but as technology continues to evolve and the cost-benefit of incorporating energy storage is further understood, cost-effective options will become available.
Energy storage is a major component to increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In order to effectively deploy power storage systems, leaders in the energy industry need to fully understand the opportunity power storage creates and be willing to invest in the performance of their facility.