Renewable Energy: Storage is more valuable than adding surplus capacity in the grid
There is already a well laid out case in favor of renewable technologies across the world. Kyoto Protocol of 1992 of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) paved the way for all major governments to adopt carbon neutral policies and practices.
With Paris Convention of 2015 of UNFCCC, governments of the world have renewed their commitment to further boost renewables on their energy grids.
The world has likewise grown from less than few GWs of Renewable capacity (mostly in wind, Bioenergies & very few in Solar) to around 921 GWs in 2017, as reported by Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century(REN21) in its global status report.
Wind & Solar put together already represents over 20% of the global capacity; however, this green energy club may not continue this fast stride as it has made over last several decades if Energy Storage is not looked into sooner.
REN21 report highlighted the fact that global energy storage capacity has finally received the much needed attention; however with meager 6.4 GW the number is simply no match for the overall renewable capacity.
How Energy Storage Works?
Storage comes in various formats be it electrical storage like batteries (one of the most popular with wireless technology) or capacitor to chemical storage in brine or salt solution to mechanical like compressed air storage or flywheel. Each format has its own characteristic like capacity, losses, promptness etc. Based on the characteristic of these storage, technology can be deployed for primary (very instantaneous grid support, lasting less than few seconds), secondary (few seconds to few minutes) to tertiary and quaternary (longer grid support).
Why Energy Storage is So Important?
As more solar and wind plug-in to the grid, its reliability is subjected to a high degree of uncertainty, we will need a grid scale back up to accommodate more such renewables.
Grid scale energy storage systems represent a mutually beneficial relationship for grid, investors and consumer. Energy storage will facilitate smooth grid operations and high level of system reliability with moderate investments.
Our effort to continuously search for newer energy devices and sources may not be enough unless we are able to integrate various such supplies.
Investors and innovators of this time should be aware of the challenges that grid will face to accommodate such diverse energy generators.
We rather need to focus our energy in reducing the gap between demand and supply instead of concentrating on adding surplus capacity in the grid.