AES Advancion Energy Storage Solutions announced its deployment road map for energy storage development. The company already has 260 MW of energy storage under construction or late stage development on several continents*. One quarter of the battery-based storage projects is scheduled to be operational by 2016.
“The electricity grid is poised for a major transformation and AES is proud to work with leading utilities and power systems to bring advanced storage to a new scale,” explained the President of AES Energy. “Energy storage is lowering costs and improving critical grid infrastructure for customers around the world.”
The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) project in Indiana will improve peak power and frequency regulation. A California project in Long Beach will supply fast-acting power. In Western Europe, projects in Northern Ireland and the Netherlands will improve grid efficiency, support wind integration and reduce consumer costs. This last point is very important. Typically, online articles about energy storage projects don’t mention cost reduction for consumers, but in some cases they do result in savings for consumers. If grid operations are made more efficient, this improvement can translate into reduced end-user costs.
Energy storage reporting tends to lump it together with renewable energy like solar and wind, which is logical. However, energy storage alone can have benefits for grid operators like increasing reliability and efficiency.
In other words, energy storage definitely is effective when coupled with renewables, but it can be on its own as well. Energy storage then can be viewed as more than a sidekick to renewables. Another point about the AES projects is that they are commercial, which means the decision to invest in energy storage is generally more about economics than the choice to “go green.”
Increasingly, it appears that energy storage is based in sound economics rather than wanting to “change the world” or have everyone “go solar.” Battery technology appears to be poised for improvement and continued cost drops, meaning that storage capacity and duration are likely to increase fast. And that will just make costs come down that much faster.
*We asked for the MWh figure to understand total energy storage capacity, but were told that the energy storage projects have different durations for the amount of electricity they can provide, from 15 minutes to 4 hours. We pressed for the info again and were told that they can’t disclose the total MWh at the moment. However, the representative did write, “We can say that the Alamitos project is 400MWh, but we have not announced the duration for the other projects that make up the 260 MWs.”
Image Credit: AES
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