It is well known that New Jersey is a solar power leader in the United States, and if it applies the same attention to energy storage, it could become a trailblazer in this field too.
Almost $3 million will be awarded to 13 energy storage projects linked to solar and wind power in The Garden State. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will make the grants, which are the first of their kind.
New Jersey has a goal of 22.5% of its electricity coming from renewable energy by 2020. Investing in energy storage will probably help achieve it because storing excess electricity generated by solar and wind means there is some available in the periods when wind dies down and at night or on very cloudy days.
It can also help when there are natural disasters or severe weather that disrupts electricity transmission from the grid, from all power plants. Imagine if there had been ample energy storage during superstorm Sandy. Managing the aftermath would most likely have been much easier.
“Probably in the next five years, you will see battery systems (that store the energy) incorporated with both solar and wind. It’s absolutely vital,’’ explained energy lobbyist Fred DeSanti.
During Sandy, a wastewater treatment plant didn’t have enough electricity to operate, so untreated sewage was dumped into New Jersey waters. Obviously, this kind of activity can be harmful to human health.
We might think of energy storage for solar and wind as being “green,” but these systems can be directly beneficial for human health. Hospitals, medical clinics, fire stations, and police stations all need to function well during natural disasters, and that means they all need reliable, consistent supplies of electricity.
In some cases, they have used diesel generators, but diesel fuel is very costly and it can run out if supplies are not replenished regularly (and it’s very dirty). There is no lack of sunlight and wind, though they are not available 24/7. Energy storage systems can help solve that issue.
It should also be mentioned that when states support new technologies, they are assisting new markets, which can be economically stimulating. In other words, there is a “win-win” effect. Communities get more reliable electricity and local jobs are created when the energy storage systems are installed.
Image Credit: BJT11091, Wiki Commons
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