The companies are using energy storage to store the excess power produced by renewable energy.
FREMONT, CA: Lithium-ion batteries account for the bulk of energy storage currently deployed on the electric grid. Technology for batteries has been around for decades. Companies are used to providing electricity without a grid connection or cables, starting from the AA alkaline batteries in the television remote controls to lead-acid batteries in the vehicles.
Why is energy storage expanding?
Solar and wind power now account for approximately 10 percent of the entire electricity grid. When renewable energy contributes more to the grid, utilities become more concerned about its "intermittency." In other words, due to weather fluctuations, their availability is not always predictable.
Energy storage helps solve this problem by collecting excess power produced by renewable energy sources and storing it for future use. Furthermore, when charged with renewable fuels, energy storage is much better for the environment compared to fossil fuel generation because batteries have no emissions.
What benefits does energy storage provide?
PEAK POWER SUPPLY
To offer the highest value to consumers, utilities want to produce and purchase the cheapest electricity possible. Seasonal and frequent increase in electricity usage, such as on hot summer days, increases utilities' demand to spin up additional power supply for a limited period. During such times, energy storage can be used to meet the increased demand more cost-effectively and sustainably.
Some electricity consumers have critical loads that require a constant supply of electricity. In the event of a grid outage, these customers will control their loads with an on-site generator. Now that energy storage is more accessible, facility managers opt for battery storage instead of fossil fuel alternatives like a diesel generator to provide backup power.
Most electricity consumers pay different rates based on the time of day they consumed it. It is described as the "time-of-use." Customers can pay more for every kilowatt-hour of electricity when the electricity rate is "on-peak" than when the rate is "off-peak." The energy storage enables customers can play "energy arbitrage" by purchasing (charging) power at low prices and selling (discharging) it at higher rates.