What is Energy Storage Technology?
Energy storage is as the name suggests, the storage of energy.
Energy storage works by capturing electricity produced by both renewable and nonrenewable resources and storing it for discharge when required. The solution allows users to come off the grid and switch to stored electricity, at a time most beneficial, giving greater flexibility and control of electrical usage.
The electrical energy grid requires a balance between supply and demand. At times of low demand, when there is excess supply energy it can be stored for use at times of high demand, with low supply, thus adjusting to provide the required balance between supply and demand.
This approach is especially effective with renewable generation, which has a volatile output capacity. Solar and wind, for example, generate little amounts of power in the absence of sunshine or wind. Energy storage is able to smooth out the supply from these sources to provide a more reliable supply that matches demand.
At times of unexpected increases in demand on the grid, energy storage can be used to discharge power back to the electrical supply network very quickly to provide additional supply to help meet demand. By businesses contributing to this process of balancing the demand it alleviates the pressure from the grid and for this assistance contracts are offered.
Driven by advances in technology, the traditional model of electricity provision is being replaced by a smart, flexible energy smart grid powered by energy storage, demand side response (DSR) and inter-connectivity.
This responsive system will provide a balance between supply and demand via responsive power generation from both suppliers and consumers resulting in a clean, secure and reliable electricity supply.
Benefits of Energy Storage
Energy storage is key to achieving overarching low carbon and electrical network efficiency targets by:
- Deferring or avoiding investment in network reinforcement
- Reducing the need for conventional generation, including peaking power plants
- Meeting binding targets with lower renewable capacity
- Maximising the use of low carbon, inflexible generation
- Optimising balancing of the system on a minute by minute basis
At grid level, energy storage reduces stress on the electrical network infrastructure, increases the proportion of renewables on the grid and increases reliability of renewable generation. It also provides efficient demand balancing options for the grid and reduces the need for backup demand generation.
For large electricity consumers, energy storage provides flexibility in electricity supply and opportunities for significant costs savings by enabling a switch to stored electricity at peak-tariff periods. It eliminates the risk of network interruption by providing full UPS capabilities, reducing the likelihood energy related failures which can total as much as 17% of annual revenues and maximises the investment into renewable generation.