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Energy Storage Using Batteries & Its Role in Increasing Grid's Resiliency


Electricity is the driving force of the modern world. Any power outage these days can be a big nuisance and can disrupt the normal flow of life. At residences, though it causes inconvenience, it is not much of a danger to anyone.


But, in critical areas like a hospital or an emergency response unit, power failure even for the smallest duration can be life-threatening. 


Therefore, utility companies and the government are working to find ways to increase grid resiliency so as to provide an uninterrupted power supply.


The battery storage system is one such solution. The batteries can store electrical energy and make it available in case of a power failure or a blackout.


What is a Battery Storage System?


As the name suggests, the battery storage system comprises of batteries to store electrical energy from the grid or other sources of energy like renewable sources, etc


The stored energy is then made available for use when the main grid is not available. 


These batteries can also be integrated with renewable sources like solar, wind, etc. The batteries are charged via solar or wind power and the stored power is then utilized in the hour of need.


Thus, the battery storage system provides a reliable backup power source that enhances the grid’s resiliency and reliability.


Why Do We Need an Energy Storage System?


Puerto Rico was badly destroyed by hurricane Maria in 2017. The power grid was completely destroyed and the whole island went under a blackout. 


The situation was horrifying as there was no power for the emergency response units to operate. The situation was even worse in the hospitals as the patients could not be treated because of a lack of power to operate the medical equipment.


Such a bad scenario could have been avoided if there were a proper backup energy plan.


Another factor that calls out for the need for energy storage systems is the increasing share of renewable sources. These renewable sources help in fighting the adverse effects of fossil fuel plants on climate. Thus, the focus of the energy market on renewable sources is growing day by day.


The problem with these sources is that they produce energy intermittently e.g. a solar panel produces more electricity when the sun is bright, and no electricity when the sun is absent–at night. This decreases the reliability of the power system.


With the battery storage system, the energy from the solar panels is stored and can be utilized later as per the requirements. The batteries provide a consistent supply of electricity and thus, increase the system reliability.

How the Use of Batteries to Store Energy Enhances the Resiliency of Power Grid?

With the growing emphasis on the reduction of carbon emissions, the role of renewable energy sources gains prime importance. These renewable sources can be integrated with the battery storage system to provide reliable power.


As discussed, renewable sources e.g. solar, wind, etc. generate electricity intermittently which reduces the overall reliability of the system. But, with the use of batteries, the energy from these sources can be stored.


This stored energy can then be used as a backup source of electricity in case of a power failure or a blackout. Since batteries provide a consistent supply of power, they increase the overall system reliability.


Most of the time, the stored energy is used when there is no sunshine or wind. It may also be used during the high cost, peak time period. The batteries can be then recharged during the low cost, low demand period.


Moreover, the stored energy, if surplus, can be exported to the main grid at times. This has two advantages. First, it helps the grid to keep supporting the peak loads. Secondly, it may earn the owner either a compensation in utility bills or an additional income.


The battery storage system also provides an alternative to the traditional backup fossil fuel generators at homes, shops, etc. For critical areas like emergency response units, fire department, hospitals, etc. battery storage adds as an additional layer of backup power along with traditional generators.


Conclusion

Energy storage is not a concept of the future, it is the need of today. With the growing energy demand, depleting fossil fuel sources, and increasing renewable sources, a system for energy storage is inevitable.


The use of batteries to store electrical energy can resolve many problems relating to the reliability of the current grid network. It ensures that the power keeps running even during grid failures.


Also, the integration of renewable sources can be made possible through battery storage systems. Thus, providing a cleaner, greener, and reliable electricity.

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© 2019 by Interconnection System Inc.

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