August 26, 2021
Looking Ahead at Energy Storage: Storage Beyond the 20s
This is a guest blog post from ESA member Ameresco. Connect with Ameresco at #ESACon21 in Phoenix, AZ, December 1-3. Registration is now open!
Ameresco has a long history of developing and operating advanced energy storage solutions for our customers as part of our advanced technology portfolio. These systems provide a variety of benefits including utility billing cost savings, energy security, power quality improvements, expanded deployment of renewables, and revenue generation.
Ameresco’s Jacqueline DeRosa, VP of Battery Energy Storage Systems, describes what characteristics and technologies are expected to drive the energy storage market forward in this decade and beyond. DeRosa is a recognized industry expert and serves as Vice Chair on the Energy Storage Association (ESA)’s Board of Directors.
With recent advances in energy storage technology coupled with the reduction in price, renewable integration, and a more efficient power grid is becoming a reality. Read on for DeRosa’s thoughts on what’s coming next in “Storage beyond the 20s”:
ESA: What are the characteristics of energy storage that will become increasingly important for future decades?
Jacquie DeRosa (JD): Advanced energy storage being included in the resource mix is becoming the new normal in some parts of the country. This trend will continue to more regions as we look to the future.
The rapidly declining prices of battery energy storage coupled with the growing recognition of the value energy storage has enabled wider opportunities for utility, commercial and industrial, and residential customers to benefit from energy storage. A growing number of states have studied the cost effectiveness of energy storage, and there is an acknowledgement of the non-monetizable benefits that energy storage can offer to their citizens. More states are adopting targets and incentives to encourage more energy storage deployment to ensure a more efficient and cleaner electric power infrastructure. Federal policies are also working to create new market designs that can put energy storage on a level playing field with more conventional resources. Ideally, we will see a new federal energy storage Investment Tax Credit (ITC) that will promote the growth of the energy storage industry. A new storage ITC will ensure that the industry truly takes off.
Additionally, energy storage and its contribution to grid resiliency is critically important when we think about the future. Natural disasters have become increasingly commonplace and power outages are an unavoidable part of our lives. But it’s costly for homes and businesses to go without electricity for extended periods. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that power outages are costing American businesses around $150 billion per year. Energy storage is a game changer in the distributed energy arena. With the addition of advanced energy storage and new inverter technology, we can build and operate cost effective microgrids to ensure resiliency. Policy makers must quickly advance new planning and operational approaches that allow for and value the contribution of clean local distributed solutions, including microgrid solutions.
ESA: What technology are you developing or seeing developed that are most promising to address the future needs of storage?
JD: New technologies are on the rise in the energy storage realm – and the innovations are exciting to witness. Long-duration, multi-day energy storage is at the forefront of solutions to address the future needs of the power grid – to ensure reliable renewable integration.
In the wake of increasing natural disasters like the wildfires on the west coast, it is increasingly important to have the ability to remain connected during severe weather and fire events. If utility power is lost, energy storage can play a pivotal role in conjunction with microgrid controls and clean onsite generation to be able to continue to serve the load. Advanced energy storage can ensure a seamless transition from grid power, provide backup energy, and maintain power quality.
New predictive analytic software combined with lower cost clean distributed generation and advanced energy storage make it possible for homes, businesses, and communities to fulfill their energy needs with renewable, low-cost energy while maintaining reliability. Over time, we will see new ways of aggregating and dispatching distributed resources to improve efficiency and reliability.
“Ameresco has a long history of developing and operating energy storage solutions for our customers as part of our advanced technology portfolio. New approaches for planning and operating the distribution system with energy storage will ensure successful renewable integration, more reliability, and greater resiliency in our future.” – Jacqueline DeRosa, VP of Battery Energy Storage Systems – Ameresco, Inc.