Comparing apples and oranges and energy storage

Comparing apples and oranges and energy storage

As more and more grid energy storage projects are planned, how do you select the best technology for the need, or even begin to report and compare performance?  Comparing pumped hydro, compressed air, sodium sulfur batteries, flow batteries, lead acid batteries, lithium ion batteries, flywheels, and capacitors is akin to comparing apples to oranges to pears to kumquats to….you get the point.

Ambiguity in measuring performance in energy storage could result in slowing down adoption of all competing technologies. Thankfully, the DOE, through Pacific Northwest National Lab and Sandia National Labs, is reaching out to interested parties to develop an initial protocol for measuring and reporting the performance of energy storage systems.  A finalized document is expected to be completed in September 2012 – an aggressive, but appropriate goal given that of the 40+ (and growing) participating organizations, 30 rated this effort highly important to their operations.  Following completion, DOE hopes that the effort will form a basis for more and more consensus standards on energy storage and foster uniform reporting on the performance of projects and technologies.

As the scope, technologies, and applications to be considered come together over the coming weeks, the participating organizations will be meeting at NEMA in early May to discuss the key issues. 

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