By: Kevin Williams
Categories: Cool Tech
Energy storage is a game-changer for utilities for many reasons. For starters, it can increase energy efficiency to reduce waste and pollution, and it can lead to lower operational costs. It can also reduce the need to construct expensive peaker plants by using stored energy during times of greater energy demand. In addition, Utility Dive reports that energy storage can result in the following benefits as well:
Reduced grid congestion – Transmission lines haven't always kept up with increasing customer demand. To compensate, energy storage can be placed strategically throughout distribution systems to improve performance and prevent costly delays.
Greater benefits than merely replacing peaker plants – Besides being another way to provide extra energy during peak demand, energy storage systems also provide energy more quickly than peaker plants. They also run without dumping pollutants into the air, thus lowering the utility's overall carbon footprint.
Speedy installation – Peaker plants can take years to build, whereas energy storage systems can be up and running in a matter of months.
Using the market to everyone's benefit, including customers – Energy storage provides many options for electricity rate pricing that benefits both utilities and their customers. In addition, behind-the-meter energy storage allows customers to redistribute unused energy back into the grid, saving everyone money in the long run.
Enhanced flexibility – Energy storage makes the grid more flexible by adding increased capacity, variable demand response, and renewable energy enablement as well as many other added options. Simply put, energy storage allows utilities to do more with the grid than they can without it.
Here's a roundup of some of the latest developments in how utilities are using and benefiting from energy storage technology in the U.S.:
Arizona Public Service is using energy storage to defer transmission and distribution investments as well as to forestall other capital expenditures.
New York State released an Energy Storage Roadmap detailing how it plans to reach 1.5 gigawatts of energy storage by 2025 including more than $350 million in funding for market accelerating initiatives.
JEA, a municipal utility in Jacksonville, Florida, is introducing a new rebate program and net metering structure to facilitate residential sola- plus-storage applications. The desired result is to minimize residential energy consumption during summer peaks.
California investor utilities are closing in on achieving mandated 1.9-gigawatt energy storage targets. They're also planning for an additional 2-gigawatt energy storage capacity. This includes approval from the California Public Utilities Commission for a proposal by San Diego Gas & Electric for five new energy storage projects totaling nearly 83.5 megawatts.
Vista Energy has revealed plans to develop a 10-megawatt, 42 megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery at a Texas solar plant. It would be the largest energy storage project in the state's history thus far.
The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative in Hawaii initiated large energy storage projects to reach its goal of 70 percent renewable energy for the state by the end of this year. This includes a 19.3-megawatt solar facility and 70-megawatt hour energy storage system.
WISE technology enables behind-the-meter energy storage for utility customers. It also allows utilities to track customer energy usage to the grid's edge for the purposes of load balancing, forecasting, and numerous other business processes. WISE is actively seeking partnerships with utilities to help them achieve the benefits of energy storage.