Energy Storage

  • Energy Storage

    Effective energy storage solutions can provide the flexibility not only to improve our current electric power system but to completely re-envision how power is produced and delivered in support of achieving national and the international climate goals.

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Apart from its resiliency benefits, by enabling a more efficient path to reducing electric power sector emissions, energy storage can play a crucial role in climate change mitigation. Through advocacy, outreach, and writing, Clean Energy Group is actively engaged in promoting the advancement and deployment of energy storage solutions in support of achieving national and international climate goals. The addition of energy storage to the existing electric power system can make the system more efficient and reliable, reduce grid congestion, facilitate the transition towards more renewable generation, and minimize the need to overbuild traditional sources of generation.

Among the climate mitigation enabling benefits that can be achieved with greater storage penetration are:

  • Increased flexibility: Energy storage provides flexibility to balance the increasing penetration of variable generation assets on the grid. Energy storage can quickly respond to rapid changes in electricity supply and demand by providing power nearly instantaneously when needed, an ability that outperforms and could replace the need for inefficient, slower-response fossil-fuel resources, such as natural gas peaker plants. Storage can also ease concerns over the need to steeply ramp grid resources if large amounts of renewable energy begin to go offline while electricity demand is rising, for example when solar production diminishes as people are returning home from work and the sun is setting – the California “duck curve” issue.
  • Renewable dispatchability: One of the most common arguments against higher penetrations of wind and solar is that they are intermittent resources – the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. With a sufficient amount of energy storage, this argument can be eliminated. Any excess electricity produced by variable resources can be stored and saved for use when demand is higher or generation drops off. This obviates the need for curtailment of renewable resources, which is already occurring in areas of moderate renewable penetration such as Texas, Hawaii, Germany, and Scotland.
  • Renewable value: Energy storage can make renewable resources more valuable by storing energy when electricity prices are low and discharging during peak periods when electricity prices are at their highest—a process known as energy arbitrage. Storage can also significantly decrease the cost of remote renewable generation projects by reducing the size of transmission lines.
  • Improved efficiency: The U.S. electric power system is terribly overbuilt and inefficient. Generation is sized to meet occasional peaks in demand that typically occur only a few dozen hours each year, and transmission and distribution lines are sized to support the highest levels of infrequent congestion. Energy storage can completely reform how the power system is designed. It can shift supply and demand to flatten the power system load profile, and it can charge and discharge to meet peak transmission and distribution line capacity constraints—avoiding the need for costly upgrades.

From a larger energy systems perspective, effective energy storage solutions can provide the flexibility not only to incrementally improve our current electric power system, but to completely re-envision how power is produced and delivered.

Latest Blog Posts

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How Utilities Can Bring Storage to Scale in Massachusetts

In the same way that states have led the policy support for wind and solar technologies, they are now leading the way on energy storage. A model for states to look to when crafting energy storage policy is Massachusetts.
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Energy Storage for Public Health: A Smarter Way to Deploy Resources

It is now time to consider another key benefit of storage—public health, especially the power of energy storage to reduce pollution in marginalized communities.
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Can Storage Rescue Solar?

Recently, solar advocates and industry celebrated the renewal of the federal ITC, which will continue to provide significant economic support for solar. On a state and local level, however, the outlook seems less rosy.

Latest Publications

Additional Resources

Additional publications related to energy storage can be found in the Clean Energy Group Publications Library.

For more information about the way energy storage provides resiliency benefits, visit our Resilient Power Project page.

For more information and resources related to state efforts to promote energy storage, visit the Energy Storage Technology Advancement Partnership (ESTAP) website. ESTAP is managed by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA), a project of Clean Energy Group.

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