The U.S. is surging ahead in terms of adopting battery storage. In 2013-2014, U.S. companies installed, or were in the process of installing more than 300 MW of energy storage capacity. The largest is Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Energy Storage Project. It is a 8-MW system capable of supplying 32 megawatt-hours of electricity to the grid.
For years, critics of the Energiewende, Germany’s clean-energy transition, have carped that the country’s power system cannot be based on intermittent generation sources — namely onshore wind and solar PV — without advanced storage technology to balance supply and demand. In Germany, battery storage has come a long way fast, and a year ago the German government started the first-ever subsidy program to support storage systems for homes, businesses, and public institutions, like schools. Yet the program has been slow to catch on, and observers maintain that its long-term impact on the Energiewende as such will be minimal.
It is amazing that we get to see things we never thought were possible within our lifetime. The smartphone is a great example — who could imagine that we’d have technology more advanced than what we saw on Star Trek as a kid?
Solar and energy storage are a match made in heaven and a new report from the Solar Electric Power Association, “Electric Utilities, Energy Storage, Solar: Trends in Technologies, Applications and Costs,” takes a deep dive into the energy storage sector. The report uses information from the Department of Energy’s Global Energy Storage Database to analyze 215 distributed generation energy storage projects developed by or in partnership with utilities.
Battery technology has come a long way since the days when your granddad had to periodically peek under the hood to add water to his lead-acid battery.
On a sunny winter day in Nice, France, 40 journalists from all over the world boarded busses to tour what serves as one possible example of a future networked electricity grid. Alstom Energy, the 9th largest electrical equipment supplier in the world, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, had put together a media tour in order to showcase what steps it is doing to understand the grid of the future.
The transmission industry enters 2014 with a lot of work ahead as it continues to recreate the grid and make it more renewable energy-ready.
There's a fundamental dichotomy in U.S. energy infrastructure. Power is mostly produced from resources inland, but most of the consumption is in the major population centers along the east and west coasts. Thus, we have a spiderweb of transmission and distribution (T&D) systems to get power from where it's generated to where it's consumed. As those load centers increasingly demand more energy, significant investments in transmission infrastructure are needed - but building out addition transmission creates congestion at the load centers, according to experts. Creating enough T&D to satisfy peak demand and avoid congestion would be like building a 32-lane highway to combat rush-hour traffic: for two hours a day it would be well used but the other 22 hours it would be overkill. And utilities dislike underutilized investments.
What makes pumped-storage hydro so attractive? Recent development and expansion can primarily be attributed to the fact that pumped-storage hydro is the predominant renewable energy source available to balance intermittent resources, such as wind and solar. Pumped-storage facilities can enable countries to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and build clean renewable energy capacity. In addition, these plants can provide many stabilizing features to the grid, further enhancing their value.
New Hampshire-based SustainX has received US$14.4 million from GE Energy Financial Services and other investors to continue developing its compressed air energy storage technology.