Batteries perform many opposite functions on a energy grid

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Driven mostly by installations over a past 3 years, a electric appetite attention has commissioned about 700 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale batteries on a U.S. electric grid. As of Oct 2017, these batteries done adult about 0.06% of U.S. utility-scale generating capacity. Another 22 MW of batteries are designed for a final dual months of 2017, with 69 MW some-more designed for 2018.

New appetite storage information accessible in a 2016 book of EIA’s Annual Electric Generator Report provides some-more fact on battery capacity, assign and liberate rates, storage record types, reactive appetite ratings, storage enclosing types, and approaching use applications.

Illustration by U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Batteries, like other appetite storage technologies, can offer as both appetite suppliers and consumers during opposite times, formulating an surprising multiple of cost and income streams and creation approach comparisons to other era technologies challenging.

The decision to build a new appetite plant depends in partial on a initial construction costs and ongoing handling costs. Although battery projects have a relatively low normal construction cost, they are not stand-alone era sources and contingency buy electricity granted by other generators to assign and cover the round-trip efficiency losses gifted during cycles of charging and discharging.

Battery costs also count on technical characteristics such as generating capability, that for appetite storage systems can be described in dual ways:

  • Power ability or rating. Measured in megawatts, this is a limit immediate volume of appetite that can be constructed on a continual basement and is a common form of generator ability discussed
  • Energy capacity. Measured in megawatthours (MWh), this is a sum volume of appetite that can be stored or liberated by a battery

A battery’s era is a ratio of a appetite ability to a appetite capacity. For instance, a battery with a 2 MWh appetite ability and 1 MW appetite ability can furnish during a limit appetite ability for 2 hours. Actual operation of batteries can change widely from these specifications. Batteries liberated during lower-than-maximum rates will produce longer era times and presumably some-more appetite capacity.

Short-duration batteries are designed to yield appetite for a really brief time, customarily on a sequence of mins to an hour, and are generally reduction costly per MW to build. Long-duration batteries can yield appetite for several hours and are some-more costly per MW.

Illustration by U.S. Energy Information Administration.

On a income side, batteries have comparatively low capacity factors because of charging durations and cycling stipulations for optimal performance. Nevertheless, they can singly constraint a operation of value streams, that can infrequently be total to urge plan economics. Some of a uses for batteries include:

  • Balancing grid supply and demand.  Batteries can help balance electricity supply and direct on multiple time scales (by a second, minute, or hour).  Fast-ramping batteries are quite good matched to provide ancillary grid services such as magnitude regulation, that helps say a grid’s electric magnitude on a second-to-second basis.
  • Peak shred and cost arbitrage opportunities. By shopping appetite and charging during lower-price (or negative-price) durations and offered appetite and discharging during higher-price periods, batteries can squash daily load or net load shapes.  Shifting portions of electricity direct from rise hours to other times of day also reduces a volume of higher-cost, seldom-used era capacity needed to be online, that can outcome in altogether revoke indiscriminate electricity prices.
  • Storing and smoothing renewable generation. Storing additional solar- and wind-generated electricity and provision it behind to a grid or to internal loads when indispensable can revoke renewable curtailments, negative indiscriminate appetite prices coincident with wind and solar over-generation, and price spikes related to evening rise ramping needs.  Co-locating batteries with solar and breeze generators allows complement owners to some-more predictably conduct a appetite granted to a grid by total renewable-generator-and-battery systems.
  • Deferring vast infrastructure investments.  Local pockets of flourishing electricity direct infrequently need electric utilities to build costly new grid infrastructure such as upgraded substations or additional placement lines to hoop a aloft demand, that can cost upwards of tens of millions of dollars.  Installing batteries during vital locations, during a most revoke cost, enables utilities to conduct flourishing direct while deferring vast grid investments.
  • Reducing end-use consumer direct charges. Large appetite consumers such as blurb and industrial comforts can reduce their electricity direct charges, that are generally formed on a facilities’ top celebrated rates of electricity expenditure during rise periods, by regulating on-site appetite storage during rise direct times.
  • Back-up power. Batteries can yield fill-in appetite to households, businesses, and placement grids during outages or to support electric reliability.  As partial of an advanced microgrid setup, batteries can assistance keep appetite issuing when a microgrid is islanded, or temporarily electrically separated, from a rest of a grid.

Source: EIA

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