5 Reasons to Invest in Energy Storage

Portland General Electric Storage System

What is intelligent energy storage?

Intelligent energy storage takes advantage of new and growing energy storage technologies to manage electrical demand efficiently, especially at peak hours.  Every method of energy storage has advantages and disadvantages, and making use of the right kind of energy storage method for the right job can introduce cost-savings for businesses and consumers as well as lessen the strain on the environment.

What are some key examples of types of intelligent energy storage?

Alternative battery solutions: Flow batteries and compressed air batteries

    • Flow batteries bring the benefits of much greater longevity and scalability, in addition to the potential to replace the fluid within the batteries at the end of their lifespan, preventing waste.
    • Compressed air batteries similarly bring the benefit of much greater longevity before replacement as well as significant room for scaling. 
    • Flow and compressed air batteries both currently have the drawback of being bulky and expensive, which may be fixed as more research and investment is committed towards them.

    Lithium-ion batteries

    Lithium-ion batteries are light and compact, but have the drawback of having a shorter life-span than other potential energy storage methods. 

    Thermal energy storage

    Thermal energy from the sun can be stored in liquids such as water and then released later in the day to generate electricity.  Thermal energy storage can also be used in other applications such as air conditioning if electricity is used to freeze water at off-peak times such as during the night, and then released later as cold energy during the daytime.

    Pumped hydropower storage

    Pumped hydropower storage has the potential to store massive amounts of energy, but requires suitable elevated locations to be found for the water to be stored.

    Flywheels

    Flywheels store kinetic energy in a spinning rotor and have the benefit of being very portable, efficient, and long-lasting, which makes them particularly suitable for placement close to consumers.

    Why invest in and make use of intelligent energy storage?

    1. Storing energy can be cheaper than getting energy on-demand from the grid since energy can be stored during the less-expensive non-peak hours of the day.
    2. Energy storage is well-suited to take advantage of renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar to cut costs.       
    3. Energy storage solves the renewable energy problem of having energy flow available only at certain times of the day.
    4. More use of energy storage in homes will reduce the amount of electricity required at peak times, thus requiring less facilities for energy generation.
    5. The costs of various means of energy storage go down as production and research increase as industries take steps towards fully utilizing the potential of energy storage for applications such as electric cars.