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Look Before You Leap: The Role of Energy Storage in the Grid

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3 Author(s)
Manz, D. ; GE Energy Consulting, Schenectady, NY, USA ; Piwko, R. ; Miller, N.

A fundamental truth of the grid has been that electricity must be generated at the precise moment it is demanded. It is the ultimate “just in time” system, where the laws of physics prevent carrying inventory. This characterization is under challenge, as the development of large-scale energy storage technologies is accelerating. A growing group of engineers, grid operators, and regulatory agencies believe that energy storage will be a critical component of the “grid of the future.” Over the past several decades, large-scale hydro and pumped hydro storage facilities dominated the energy storage landscape. Today, new and evolving battery chemistries, primarily for electric vehicle and backup power applications, are emerging as potential solutions for some of the challenges that face the grid today. Both batteries and high-speed mechanical flywheels-connected to the grid through power electronics-are enabling smaller and more modular energy storage systems. These storage systems are being considered for a variety of applications, from time-shifting wind.

Published in:

Power and Energy Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 4 )