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Energy storage reduces greenhouse gases (GHGs) by increasing efficiency of existing gas generation utilization as well as by supporting increased renewables integration.
For example, when combined with gas generation: CESA’s analysis of the 40% RPS LTPP model showed that 2,650 MW of energy storage reduced GHG emissions by nearly 1.5 million tonnes, or the equivalent of removing 3-4 peaker plants. When combined with renewables, UCS showed that GHG emissions are reduced by an additional 10% under a 50% RPS by 2024 scenario by deploying 4.325 GW of energy storage vs. deploying only 1.325 GW.
Renewable energy such as wind and solar faces challenges such as intermittancy (not always operating, or operating at full capacity, such as on a day with no wind or at night).
To achieve 100% clean electricity by 2045, California will need to rely significantly on renewable power created from solar and wind energy. Renewable resources such as wind and solar operate intermittently and sometimes unpredictably. Because of this, renewables require solutions to store the clean energy produced so that it can be dispatched to users when electric demand is high. Storage can absorb or ‘firm’ the delivery of wind and solar, and can operate as a stand-alone resource or ‘paired’ with the renewables. Additionally, energy storage reduces curtailments by allowing the grid to dispatch renewable over-generation when electricity demand is high.
Resilience and Portfolio Diversity Benefits
The electric power grid delivers huge benefits to society and electricity is an essential service in the modern world.
Energy storage improves the grid reliability and can be sited and operated to provide multiple essential reliability functions, including micro-gridding and ‘islanding’. Islanding is the condition in which a distributed generator continues to power a location even though electrical grid power is no longer present.
Storage also adds diversity to the electric system so the grid is less exposure to single points of failure, such as reliance on a single fuel source. This diversity showed its value in how California reduced reliance on a single gas facility, Aliso Canyon, through energy storage deployments. Additionally, with increased wild-fire risks and high-winds, energy storage can maintain power even while transmission lines through high-fire zones are de-energized.
There are many ways to use energy storage to save money.
“behind-the-meter” energy storage applications allow customers to save on time-of-use rates and peak demand charges by load-shifting. On-site energy storage systems also prevent expenses associated with power interruptions by providing back-up reliability in case of grid interruptions.
Larger-scale “front-of-meter” grid-connected storage allows the grid to operate more efficiently and dispatch intermittent zero-emission renewable electricity when it is needed, resulting in significant savings for all ratepayers.
Customer Benefits and Choice
Customers want choices in their electricity usage. Energy storage enables more customer choice while providing local reliability benefits, back-up service, power quality assurance, on-site solar integration, and more. Adding energy storage to the ‘toolkit’ of the customer is a core benefit of CESA. CESA members include a large array of customer-focused residential, commercial, and industrial energy storage solution providers, including companies that also install solar.
Power for the Grid
Anytime energy usage is increased, a power-plant adjusts to meet the increased energy needs. Energy storage solutions can act just like traditional power plants to ‘turn on’ and provide energy to the grid. This capability is especially valuable during ‘peak’ usage periods on the grid. Energy storage resources can also increase or decrease output quickly, addressing times of high ‘ramping’ on the grid.