The switch to renewable energy will help cut CO2 emissions, but it will put a significant burden on the grid. New grid-scale storage initiatives may be the best viable solution to this problem.
Unlike fossil-fuel-fired power plants, the most common types of renewable energy cannot dynamically change production to meet demand. Even in areas with strong renewable energy generation, supply is insufficient to meet demand. As renewables grow more common, the appearance of “duck curves” may become an issue in the majority of the country.
The widespread use of clean energy, for example, has resulted in the establishment of an unconventional net load curve.
At certain seasons of the year, this load curve drops down dramatically between midmorning and midafternoon before sharply cranking up till around peak demand hours in the evening. Volatility in net load can place a strain on grid infrastructure.
Grid management may be able to address these concerns with renewables by adopting long-duration ESS. Grid operators can increase grid capacity by combining massive batteries or CAES technology. Different energy storage systems will probably be necessary as the world transitions away from fossil fuel energy.
Many large producers are also on the cutting edge of emerging technologies that have the potential to improve long-duration ESS or enable new approaches. Honeywell disclosed the development of a new flow power pack for long-duration ESS last year. It has the capability of storing and releasing electricity for up to 12 hours.
Government measures may also aid in the long-term development of ESS. The Department of Energy has won $1.16 billion in funding for its Long Duration Storage Shot initiative. Within the next decade, this project aims to reduce the cost of energy storage systems by 90% for installations lasting 10 hours or more.
In addition to enormous, centralized energy storage systems, grid operators are experimenting with decentralized energy storage. However, the infrastructure is insufficient and can only support a limited number of power facilities.