Energy storage is the missing piece in the renewables jigsaw. When solved, it will enable truly distributed solar energy as well as accelerate the electrification of the transport industry - and this is widely expected to dominate the industry within the next two years.
Our investment in energy storage evolves with our grid, creating long-term benefit and reliability for years to come. It’s a critical hub for the entire grid, augmenting resources from wind, solar and hydro, to nuclear and fossil fuels. By demanding side resources and system efficiency assets, it can act as a generation, transmission or distribution asset – sometimes in a single asset.
Ultimately, storage is an enabling technology. It can save consumers money, improve reliability and resilience, integrate generation sources, and help reduce environmental impacts. So, what are the benefits of energy storage? And in particular, what advantages are industrial and commercial facilities likely to see?
Demand charge management
Strategic energy storage can provide significant cost savings in demand charges - many facilities are required to pay demand charges based on their peak electricity usage. Often, the demand charge represents from 30-70% of overall energy expenditures included on a commercial electric bill, therefore energy storage can discharge energy during the highest periods of usage reduces load during those peak periods, resulting in reduced charges.
Renewable energy integration
Energy storage devices maximise the utility of renewable assets by allowing for efficient, accessible storage of excess energy or power generated during off-hours. For many, finding the right storage solution is the tipping point at which renewable energy becomes profitable.
Improved reliability and resilience
Energy storage can provide backup power during disruptions. The same concept that applies to backup power for an individual device (e.g., a smoke alarm that plugs into a home but also has battery backup), can be scaled up to an entire building or even the grid at large.
Storage provides flexibility for the grid, to ensure uninterrupted power to consumers, whenever and wherever they need it. This flexibility is critical to both reliability and resilience. As the cost of outages continues to rise, the value of enhanced reliability and improvements in resilience also increases.
Reduced environmental impacts
Simply put, energy storage enables electricity to be saved for a later, when and where it is most needed, creating efficiencies and capabilities for the electric grid—including the ability to reduce GHG emissions.
By introducing more flexibility into the grid, energy storage can help integrate more solar, wind and distributed energy resources. It can also improve the efficiency of the grid – increasing the capacity factor of existing resources – and offset the need for building new pollution-emitting peak power plants.
The energy world is changing fast and we are moving towards a decentralised energy system. Businesses have the potential to embrace this move and the new technologies so they are ready to take advantage of a changing energy environment and the opportunities this will bring.