Energy storage provides a myriad of beneficial services and cost savings to our electric grid, and companies are deploying storage technologies for a number of different purposes. Large scale energy storage also allows today’s electrical system to run significantly more efficiently, and that greater efficiency means lower prices, less emissions and more reliable power.
Traditional energy sources – like coal and natural gas power plants – have to be turned on and off as demand fluctuates, and are almost never operating at peak performance. This means that energy not only costs more, but pollutes more, than is necessary to meet our energy needs. And the slow ramp up time of these bulk generation facilities means they cannot respond to spikes in demand in real time, potentially leading to brownouts and poor power quality.
With the widespread adoption of renewable energy resources, energy storage is equally useful. As is often noted, these energy sources are intermittent in nature, producing energy when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. By storing the energy produced and delivering it on demand, these clean technologies can continue to power our grid even when the sun has set and the air is still – leveling out jumps in output to create a continuous, reliable stream of power throughout the day.
But warehousing energy from diverse resources for use at a different time is only one of the many applications of energy storage. Storage technologies also improve the quality of power through frequency regulation, allows companies to produce power when it is cheapest and most efficient, and provide an uninterruptible source of power for critical infrastructure and services