New White Paper Finds Energy Storage Can Be “‘Swiss army knife’ of the power grid”

Yesterday, Greentech Media reported reported on some exciting cleantech news: namely, that U.S. energy storage installations grew by 100% in 2016.

Led by a record-breaking fourth quarter, energy storage deployments in the United States totaled 336 megawatt-hours in 2016, doubling the megawatt-hours deployed in 2015. According to GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association’s U.S Energy Storage Monitor 2016 Year in Review report, 230 megawatt-hours came on-line in the fourth quarter of the year, more than the sum of the previous 12 quarters combined…

…According to GTM Research, the United States’ energy storage market will grow from 336 megawatt-hours in 2016 to 7.3 gigawatt-hours in 2022 when it will be a $3.3 billion market.

Cost-effective energy storage has many positive benefits, including making the power grid more resistant to disruptions, and also helping to spur the growth of economically beneficial, environmentally friendly clean energy. In addition, as a recent white paper by leading energy storage company Younicos (along with co-authors Panasonic and Xcel Energy) explained, energy storage technologies “have shown great promise as the ‘Swiss army knife’ of the power grid, capable of doing many things for many stakeholders.” That includes “[t]railblazing utilities and project developers…now discovering how revenue stacking with multiple value streams can greatly enhance storage system value.”

Thus, “battery energy storage systems have the potential to deliver a suite of services, while deploying storage for single-use cases underutilizes these assets and leaves value on the table.” The white paper specifically examines a case of “revenue stacking” – “a new transit-oriented development called Peña Station NEXT, in Denver, Colorado,” and finds that:

  • Peña Station NEXT “will feature a variety of smart and sustainable solutions,” including “smart street lighting, ultra-fast community Wi-Fi, smart parking, electric vehicle charging stations, autonomous electric, a smart bus shelter, environmental sensing, interactive digital signage, and the solar-plus-storage microgrid that is the focus of this paper.”
  • Peña Station NEXT will serve “as a proving ground for these and other smart and sustainable technologies prior to their deployment more broadly throughout either Xcel Energy’s service territory in Colorado and/or by the City and County of Denver.”
  • This project demonstrates how a public-private partnership arrangement “has resulted in a different model we think of as a ‘portfolio microgrid’ on three levels: a) a portfolio of stakeholders, b) a portfolio of assets, and c) a portfolio of benefits/services.”
  • Benefits and services stemming from this project will include “[b]etter grid integration of high-penetration solar PV,” “Grid Peak Demand Reduction,” “Energy Arbitrage,” “Frequency Regulation” and “Resilience Through Backup Power.”
  • In sum, “[m]ulti-use battery systems—including the lithium ion battery energy storage system at Peña—are an exciting, promise-filled technology and solution.

All in all, there’s a lot going on in energy storage these days, which is great news for a wide variety of reasons. We’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on this fascinating, dynamic cleantech sector and reporting back on what we hear.




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