Distributed Energy

Shared Storage

Forecasting the feasibility of community energy storage

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It takes a village to power the globe. We’ve discussed a patchwork quilt approach to energy distribution previously in the context of microgrid clusters and community solar projects. However, community energy storage is another emerging concept that shows great promise for helping grid operators integrate renewables into energy systems and effectively balance loads.

Community energy storage uses modular batteries deployed near end users to support multiple parties. A new study published recently by DNV GL finds that this “multi-stakeholder” approach, in which different consumers benefit from batteries at different times, can offer revenue streams that enable communities to deploy more grid-connected energy systems. Furthermore, the flexibility provided by these batteries can assist with the incorporation of decentralized energy generation resources.

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Distributed energy resources can, at times, cause power fluctuations and stress distribution infrastructure. The study indicates that batteries shared among consumers can absorb surplus and help moderate distribution. The study also outlines a decision-making framework to help utilities and stakeholders determine whether a community battery solution will effectively support their business models.

“This is an important finding for the energy transition, showing that there is a fast and affordable solution for handling the intermittency of renewable energy sources that is also economically viable for everyone in the value chain,” Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL’s Energy business, explained in a press release. The DNV GL study is based on research performed by an industry consortium that includes energy storage firm Alfen and flexibility aggregator Peeeks.

What are your impressions? Do you think that community energy storage could provide a viable way to support the evolution of energy distribution architectures? DE_bug_web

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  1. Great ideas, but we need better batteries for all the storage loads demand. Great to make all this solar power in the daytime only to rely on gas fired plants at night

  2. Lithium is definitely superior to lead-acid or nickel based in performance & weight. Currently, prices are very high for lithium. However, that might change with improvements in extraction technology and economy of scale for production. Unfortunately, as with any resource, there is a finite supply, and EVs are likely to consume a great deal of that resource. It might be a more sustainable idea to look to less traditional storage such as fuel cells that use hydrogen separated from oxygen to generate electricity during sunless, windless periods. The electrolysis can be accomplished with excess solar or wind power when they’re abundant.

  3. As a follow up, the surplus oxygen can be converted to O3 (ozone) and used to purify reclaimed water for higher use.

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