Identifying key applications for cost-effective deployment of energy storage systems in the Southeastern United States

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At Southern Research, we have developed a framework to identify key attributes of operational deployments in the Southeast, evaluate the economic impact of such deployments, and understand how stacked benefits can enable the cost-effective deployment of energy storage in the region. Our initial approach, which focuses on the historical deployments of energy storage, provides us with a retrospective baseline for the characteristics, or attributes, that are important to understand and define the performance and economic valuation of energy storage deployments. As such, it brings to the fore a historic context to provide a better understanding of the early motivations and objectives of energy storage to provide context for the analyses done by our collaborators which focus on future use case scenarios and applications. We have analyzed these existing deployments to monetize the benefits and challenges for different technologies in the region. Although deployment costs [$/kWh] have been decreasing as technologies mature, widespread adoption of energy storage is not yet economical; solar technology offers a precedent for cost decreases associated with technology development and widespread adoption. By combining both backward and forward looking analyses of energy storage technologies currently in use, we have been able to describe the key technical, functional, and safety attributes for energy storage deployed in the Southeast, as well as identify key technological and economical risks for the deployment of energy storage in the region. Energy storage will play a vital role in the future to provide reliable and reasonably priced power to utility consumers, especially as more renewables are integrated into the grid and load growth continues to occur unevenly. In order to provide for its application, it is important to understand and evaluate the function, performance, and cost-effectiveness of technologies prior to their deployment to ensure that systems provide the benefits needed to justify investment in that technology. Energy storage adoption in the Southeast has been thus far limited by the costs of energy storage systems and the utility and regulatory environment found in the region. While a number of utilities have begun to deploy demonstration-scale energy storage systems, widespread adoption of energy storage has not yet occurred. Key use cases in the Southeast are often related to the increasing integration of renewable energy into the grid as a result of both residential, commercial and industrial installations, as well as the installation of a number of utility-scale solar farms. Additionally, a compelling case can be made for a variety of other applications due to the unique climate and extreme weather events that occur in the region. The economics of energy storage are beginning to make sense for many utility and some commercial and industrial consumers, and it will be critical to help utilities and other customers evaluate energy storage technologies in terms of not only their safety, function and performance but also their economic value.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 2, Materials for Energy, Efficiency and Sustainability: TechConnect Briefs 2018
Published: May 13, 2018
Pages: 32 - 35
Industry sector: Energy & Sustainability
Topic: Energy Storage
ISBN: 978-0-9975117-9-6