Integrating intermittent sources of energy gives new momentum to electricity storage solutions

Volante de inercia de la subestación Mácher 66 kV (Lanzarote, España). Foto cortesía de REE | Flywheel at the Mácher 66 kV substation (Lanzarote, Spain). Photo courtesy of REE

A.T. Kearney Energy Transition Institute has published a report entitled “Electricity Storage,” that captures the status of storage technologies and future developments in electricity storage. The main finding of the report is that electricity storage is an essential technology of the energy transition. The report also points out that considering the electrification trend in many sectors and the growth of decentralised energy solutions, the demand for electricity storage will only grow, at least over the next decade. Nevertheless, electricity storage solutions still need to demonstrate commercial viability in various segments, scales and applications. And ongoing innovations promise interesting solutions ahead.

Power systems are challenging to operate, since supply and demand must be precisely balanced at all times. By storing primary energy sources, such as coal and gas, or water in hydro dams, system operators have avoided the need to store electricity. But wind and solar PV systems make demand–supply matching more difficult since they increase the need for flexibility within the system, but do not themselves contribute significantly to this requirement.

Flexibility management can be optimised by perfecting models for forecasting output from wind and solar plants, fine-tuning market regulations and refining the design of power systems. But additional flexibility will be needed in the form of demand-side participation, better connections between markets, greater flexibility in base-load power supply and electricity storage. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY April 2018