The Electric Grid: Benefits of Advanced Energy Storage

January 9, 2017- To help the United States better manage projected energy needs, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) 2013 “Grid Energy Storage” report suggests the electric system should be adjusted for efficiency. One such change is increasing the use of renewable energy sources and improving non-renewable processes. Another option is updating energy storage to ensure consistent and lasting delivery of electricity.

An advanced energy storage system can provide the following benefits:

  • Lower costs
  • Decreased infrastructure investments
  • Higher dependability
  • Grid stabilization services
  • Enhanced grid operation abilities
  • Backup power capabilities for emergencies

A quality storage plan should include a combination of technologies to meet the needs of different types of applications, such as load leveling, voltage maintenance, energy management, and grid balance. By making use of advanced storage, the electricity system can be expanded at a faster rate, but at similar costs to other technologies. Unfortunately, grid storage doesn’t have mature industrial standards, so to expand installed storage, certain goals should be set:

  1. Storage deployment should increase renewable energy infiltration in the market.
  2. Industry professionals looking to solve problems with reliability and resiliency should have advanced energy storage as an option.
  3. As a contributor to a smarter grid, energy storage should support consistent deployment of electric transportation and application of demand-side assets.

The DOE plays an important part in reaching these goals and getting widespread deployment of energy storage. It is working on uncovering options to improve and promote advanced storage solutions within the next few years. Key components of the strategy include:

  • Making energy storage technology pricing more competitive by examining current processes and researching new, higher-performance solutions.
  • Creating confidence in dependability and safety of installed storage systems by using testing programs and protocols, followed by tracking and reporting of performance.
  • Reducing regulatory and institutional obstacles for grid storage to those of other kinds of grid resources by creating standards for integration, performance evaluation, siting, and procurement.
  • Increasing industry acceptance of energy storage by instituting collaborative field trials and adjusting already accepted industry operational and management tools to support grid storage.

While support for energy storage growth has increased in recent years, it is still an important issue and should continue developing in the near future. With action by the DOE, more grid storage projects will be deployed, renewable sources will be integrated, and projected energy needs will be better managed.