The US Department of Energy has released their Grid Energy Storage report to the members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, identifying the benefits of grid energy storage, the challenges to be addressed, and the current efforts being made to meet those selfsame challenges.
In response, the Electricity Storage Association has publicly praised the report, “nothing that it affirms that wide-scale deployment of storage technologies in the U.S. and around the world is critical to maintaining a resilient, cost-effective electric grid.”
“The ESA is pleased that the Department of Energy will be providing analysis, tools, and opportunities for public-private partnerships–playing to the strengths of the agency while enhancing the ability of the energy storage industry to move forward with commercialization,” said Darrell Hayslip, Chairman of the Electricity Storage Association. “The report certainly reinforces our view that storage is an essential component to a more resilient, reliable, and balanced energy grid. ESA believes that it is not a matter of whether storage will be deployed; it is a matter of how fast that occurs. Given the focus indicated in this report, DOE is poised to assist in those efforts.”
“Energy storage is a vital component of a more resilient, reliable and efficient electric grid,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We must continue developing innovative energy storage technologies and finding new ways to ensure wider adoption to help move the nation closer to the grid of the future.”
The report highlights four challenges that must be addressed if energy storage is to be widely developed and accepted:
- the development of cost-effective energy storage technologies
- validated reliability and safety
- an equitable regulatory environment
- industry acceptance
The DoE noted that energy storage is ultimately necessary now, more than ever, given the increasing trend towards renewable energies which are inherently unstable in their energy production — solar relying on daylight and cloudless skies, wind on strong winds, etc. Incorporating energy storage into the grid will become more and more necessary, as these energy technologies will at times be producing more than is necessary — energy that will need to be stored — and sometimes producing less than is expected — at which point energy storage can step in to fill the gap.
“Developing and deploying energy storage opens the door to adding more renewable power to the grid, which is essential to the fight against climate change,” Wyden said. “Energy storage will also help lower consumer costs by saving low-cost power for peak times and making renewable energy available when it’s needed the most, not just when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. I’m looking forward to working with Secretary Moniz to find ways to implement the DOE’s recommendations to make energy storage an integral part of our country’s electricity grid.”
The Department of Energy released four key strategies from the report:
- Cost-competitive energy storage technology can be achieved through research, resolving economic and performance barriers, and creating analytical tools for design, manufacturing, innovation and deployment.
- The reliability and safety of energy storage technologies can be validated through research and development, creation of standard testing protocols, independent testing against utility requirements, and documenting the performance of installed systems.
- Establishing an equitable regulatory environment is possible by conducting public-private evaluations of grid benefits, exploring technology-neutral mechanisms for monetizing grid services, and developing industry and regulatory agency-accepted standards for siting, grid integration, procurement and performance evaluation.
- Industry acceptance can be achieved through field trials and demonstrations and use of industry-accepted planning and operational tools to incorporate storage onto the grid.
This report goes a long way to increasing the awareness of the need for energy storage, but comes in the wake of other good news, as late November the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission adopted Order 792.
As FERC explained when issuing Order 792:
…the Commission finds it necessary under section 206 of the Federal Power Act to revise the pro forma SGIP [Small Generator Interconnection Procedures] and pro forma SGIA [Small Generator Interconnection Agreement] to ensure that the rates, terms and conditions under which public utilities provide interconnection service to Small Generating Facilities remain just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory.
As Tina Casey explained in her November article, “Rule 792 adds energy storage as a power source that is eligible to connect to the grid. It effectively puts energy storage in the same category as the existing Small Generator Interconnection Procedures and makes it eligible for the existing Fast Track process.”
With Federal and academic support, not to mention enormous public support among clean energy supporters, energy storage is likely to soon be playing a much larger role in America’s energy future. Without a doubt there will still be stiff resistance from the entrenched energy market, but as solar and wind figures continue to grow, it is only a matter of time before the grid starts to see mass adoption of energy storage as a means to smooth out the intricacies of renewable energy delivery.
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