The Need for Energy Storage Today
Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar often face the problem of inadequate grid infrastructure, which energy storage systems can help to address by responding to crests and troughs of power demand faster than conventional methods, at the same time allowing energy to be stored for later use.
A lack of grid infrastructure can lead to project delays, the inability to support power generation from intermittent sources, and project unviability due to wasted generation. Energy storage systems can help to maintain grid stability by eliminating the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources. They can also be used to supply baseload demand, eliminating the need for conventional power generation sources, which can pave the way for a 100% energy mix.
China, which has the world’s largest power industry expansion plans, is facing a tough time matching the speed of its grid development to its rate of capacity expansion. The wind sector in particular has witnessed severe curtailments to ensure grid stability. Wind projects are usually situated far from cities and industrial areas where electricity is required in large quantities. Due to a lack of sufficient infrastructure, several wind farms remain unconnected to the grid and therefore unable to sell their electricity. On the other hand, grid-connected wind farms face difficulties when trying to transmit power to load centers, as grid operators determine 24 hours in advance the thermal plants that are going to be turned on. If wind is significantly stronger than forecast, the difference may be curtailed to ensure grid stability. Solar farms face similar issues.