6 reasons to love battery storage now
Despite rapidly dropping costs, the economics of battery storage are often cast in future terms. A new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, however, outlines the ways in which battery storage is already cost-effective and why it should be embraced now.
Utility executive should be at least somewhat familiar with the RMI’s “findings,” so there’s not a lot that’s particular new in the report. But the think tank did go to the trouble of identifying 13 services that batteries can perform to reach their fullest, most cost-effective potential, offering advocates new support for their selling points as they try to spread their gospel about storage.
Report co-author Jesse Morris equated using an energy storage battery for a single, primary use – for example, demand charge bill reductions for utilities – to building a hotel and selling only half of the rooms.
“Delivering a primary service only uses the battery five to 50-percent of the time. . You’re underutilizing the asset and leaving tremendous potential value on the table,” Morris said in the report.
The report, however, acknowledges regulatory roadblocks remain to implementing the diverse services it suggest-among them, allowing batteries to deliver power to stakeholders at varying grid levels. To empower the grid to deliver the most efficient, cleanest and lowest-cost energy to all, the report calls for swift regulatory reform.
In the meantime, here are six reasons RMI thinks everyone should incorporate batteries into their lives now.
1. For customers, the range of benefits includes access to a backup power source, demand charge reduction and increased PV self-consumption.
2. For utilities, battery storage systems can help ease transmission congestion or allow for distribution deferral.
3. For independent system operators and regional transmission organizations, the systems can aid in frequency regulation, voltage support or even energy arbitrage.
4. There are various grid levels at which battery energy storage can be deployed to reach the maximum value to all stakeholders: behind the meter, at the distribution level or at the transmission level. However, the RMI report notes that the best possible value is seen when the system is located downstream in a behind-the-meter, customer-sited application – including electric vehicles. There, the storage system can deliver the widest variety of services to the electricity grid to the greatest mix of stakeholders.