The Coming Wave of Transmission Innovations: Energy Storage Systems

The Coming Wave of Transmission Innovations: Energy Storage Systems

This is the first in a series of articles on the coming wave of transmission-related innovations and its implications for the electricity sector.

NEMA President & CEO Kevin J. Cosgriff

When I think of someone turning up the air conditioning or powering a blow dryer, I envision a distant power plant ramping up incrementally to meet the increased demand. Energy storage is changing that, and it is coming on fast.

The application and use of energy storage systems has grown dramatically in both grid-scale and building-based systems. These systems help store power when there’s less demand, and they have a number of other applications beyond smoothing out supply-and-demand challenges.

The rapid pace of utility-scale energy storage deployment is largely due to cost decreases in battery storage. More than 221 megawatts of storage were installed in 2015—almost four times the amount installed in 2014, which was in turn a significant increase over 2013. In 2017, 478 megawatts of energy storage are expected to be installed; by 2021, more than 2 gigawatts should be installed on an annual basis.

Prices of stationary energy storage systems (like lithium-ion batteries) are expected to fall by 50% by 2020, which will only increase the adoption rate.

Some states are setting mandatory targets for energy storage deployment. When you consider all of the benefits that storage offers, that makes sense. Energy storage can reduce system peaks, shifting loads from peak times—on a July afternoon, when many people turn up their air conditioning—to off-peak times—for example, the middle of the night. Peak shaving can help improve overall system load factor—that is, the percentage of peak load used on an average basis.

NEMA, through its Energy Storage Systems Section, will ensure that common terminology and standards are applied across markets, advocate for regulatory and legislative policies that are favorable to energy storage adoption, and continue to serve as a leading source of information in the industry.

For more information, contact NEMA Industry Director Steve Griffith.

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