Apr 30, 2023
Energy storage technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we generate and use energy. By storing energy when it is abundant and cheap, and releasing it when it is needed, energy storage can help to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, improve grid reliability, and make our energy system more efficient. Many technology types enable the delivery of other ancillary services such as frequency response which are essential to the secure and reliable operation of power grids.
In recent years, a growing interest in energy storage is due in part to the falling cost of batteries, making it more affordable. It is also due to the increasing penetration of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, which are intermittent and which storage helps to be fully utilized.
There are a number of different ways to store energy. Some of the most common methods include:
Batteries: Batteries are the most common type of energy storage. They are used in a wide variety of applications, including electric vehicles, homes, and businesses.
Pumped-storage hydroelectricity: Pumped-storage hydroelectricity is a type of energy storage that uses the potential energy of water to store energy. When electricity is abundant and cheap, it is used to pump water uphill. When electricity is needed, the water is released downhill, generating electricity.
Compressed air energy storage: Compressed air energy storage is a type of energy storage that uses the pressure of air to store energy. When electricity is abundant and cheap, it is used to compress air. When electricity is needed, the air is released, generating electricity.
Energy storage has a number of benefits that can be exploited, including:
Reduced reliance on fossil fuels: Energy storage can help to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by storing energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind. This can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.
Improved grid reliability: Energy storage can help to improve grid reliability by providing backup power during outages. It can also help to smooth out the output of renewable energy sources, which can help to reduce the need for expensive peaker plants.
Increased energy efficiency: Energy storage can help to increase energy efficiency by storing energy when it is abundant and cheap, and releasing it when it is needed. This can help to reduce peak demand and save money on energy bills.
While there are a number of benefits to energy storage, there are also some challenges that need to be addressed. These challenges include:
Cost: The cost of energy storage is still relatively high. However, the cost is expected to fall as the technology continues to develop.
Technology readiness: Some energy storage technologies, such as compressed air energy storage, are still in the early stages of development. This means that there is some risk associated with investing in these technologies.
Regulation: There is a lack of clear regulations governing the use of energy storage. This could hinder the development and deployment of energy storage technologies.
Despite these challenges, energy storage has the potential to revolutionize the way we generate and use energy. By exploiting the benefits of energy storage, we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, improve grid reliability, and make our energy system more efficient.
Who is Exploiting the Benefits of Energy Storage?
The benefits of energy storage are being exploited by a wide variety of stakeholders, including:
Utilities: using energy storage to improve grid reliability, reduce peak demand, and integrate renewable energy sources.
Commercial and industrial customers: using energy storage to reduce their energy costs, improve their resilience to outages, and support their sustainability goals.
Residential customers: using energy storage to reduce their energy costs, improve their resilience to outages, and support their sustainability goals.
What Benefits of Energy Storage Have Not Yet Been Exploited?
There are a number of benefits of energy storage that have only as yet been exploited to some extent, including:
Providing ancillary services to the grid: energy storage can provide a variety of ancillary services to the grid, such as frequency regulation, spinning reserve, and voltage support. These services are essential to maintaining a reliable and efficient grid.
Supporting the integration of renewable energy: energy storage can help to integrate renewable energy sources by storing energy when it is abundant and cheap, and releasing it when it is needed. This can help to reduce the cost of renewable energy and make it more reliable. Co-location of renewables and energy storage with shared connections is seen as an effective and efficient way to maximise their benefits.
Ability to provide backup power: energy storage can provide backup power during outages, which can help to protect businesses and homes from the financial and operational impacts of outages.
As the technology continues to develop and the cost of energy storage falls, we can expect to see even more benefits being exploited.