Batteries key to modernizing US grid infrastructure: white paper informs US adoption of energy storage

Published on: August 10, 2017 9:20 amBy: ESJ


Recommendations on how batteries can modernize the US grid system have been set out in a white paper published on July 18 by Gridwise Alliance, a company representing stakeholders that design, build and operate the electric grid.

Clarification in policy, services and asset classification are needed to ensure energy storage systems are fully utilized in North America’s transition to a de-carbonized future, the white paper, titled ‘Advancing Batteries to Enhance the Electric Grid Chapter One: Front-of-Meter Applications’ found.

The paper concluded that batteries were uniquely versatile grid modernization assets, which could help advance a reliable, resilient, affordable, and sustainable electric system as increasing amounts of renewables, whether wind or solar, come on stream.

Steve Hauser, CEO of the alliance, said: “Our organization has always been at the forefront of key conversations related to grid modernization. Today, one of those key conversations centres on batteries. This whitepaper enables our uniquely diverse membership to inform that conversation in the states and at the national level.”

Yet despite declining costs and technological advances, numerous obstacles remain to wide-scale implementation of economic battery projects.

The white paper stated: “As often happens with rapidly evolving new technologies, existing cost mechanisms, regulations, market rules and policies have not kept pace with recent technological advances in batteries and do not reflect the multiple potential benefits highly flexible and versatile assets can offer to maximize the benefits batteries can provide to the grid and to society, policy makers should re-examine existing policies and modify or create new ones as needed.”

Among the various battery technologies, lithium-ion is seen as offering the greatest value for the foreseeable future, according to a recent report by GTM. This is in part because of the technology’s wide range of services, ease of deployment, permit and finance.

Economies of scale make lithium-ion adoption more cost effective, its use set to increase from its 2016 standing, which saw around 97% of the US’s 280MW of utility-side ESS deployment using the chemistry, lead-acid, in comparison, took just 2.7% of the market, said the report.

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