Energy storage is more than just batteries, and is coming soon by a utility near you.
This was one of the main takeaways from last week’s Energy Storage Summit, put on by the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab. Panelists from across the country shared insights into the evolving storage market, detailing storage technologies ranging from pumped hydro and compressed air to thermal storage. The event’s keynote speaker, Janice Lin of Strategen Consulting and the California Energy Storage Alliance (CESA), emphasized not only the increasing affordability of battery storage, but also the ability of energy storage to complement all types of energy services and technologies, not only renewables. In her words, storage is like bacon: it goes with everything.
This message was reinforced by the panelists themselves, representing utilities, governments, universities, and businesses who are capitalizing on the increasing benefits and declining costs of energy storage systems. From decreasing power plant generation and transmission line congestion to reducing customer peak demand charges and increasing community resilience, energy storage systems can benefit both utilities and consumers.
Storing inexpensive energy and using it when prices and demand are highest is the most cost-effective, common sense approach to using stored energy. As technology improvements continue, clean energy can be stockpiled and used when it’s needed most, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and offering grid stability at a low cost. Simply put, energy storage allows for the better management of today’s supply and tomorrow’s electricity demand.
Charging forward, it is important for utilities and regulators to understand the value of storage, and the benefits that energy storage brings to its users. Putting a price on all these benefits can be tricky, but it is crucial to move energy storage forward. With decreasing prices, energy storage technologies are poised to reach new levels of market penetration that will ultimately save money and clean the energy economy.
(Photo credit: thamesgate)
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