Energy Storage Systems: Everything You Need to Know
Today, our contemporary lifestyle completely relies on energy. We require electricity, and grids have to supply that electricity. When everything goes smoothly and supply and demand match up, grids can supply the required power to meet the needs of households and businesses. But what happens when supply surpasses demand? How do we get ready for situations when demand exceeds supply? Both situations are miserable for grid operators and consumers alike; the former could see exploded transformers, while the latter could suffer blackouts and power outages. Fortunately, there’s one solution to both of these challenges: energy storage. Energy storage systems help grid operators match supply and demand. In this article, let’s see the importance of energy storage and how it is important for our future.
How does energy storage work?
At its most basic level, energy storage works by taking the energy generated by a power plant and storing it so that it can be consumed at a later time. The energy can be stored on both a small scale and a large scale. For instance, the AA batteries in your TV remote are a form of energy storage on a small scale. This same concept can be enhanced drastically, to the point where large-scale energy storage systems are competent in helping power grids transmit reliable power to consumers nonstop and without interruption.
Why is energy storage vital?
Energy storage is vital because it helps grid operators meet their foremost requirement: ensuring persistent and dependable access to electricity.
This is not always an ordinary or easy task. Power plants can have breakdowns, harsh weather can take down suppliers, hackers can interrupt power production, or grids might encounter a sudden surge in demand that exceeds the available supply.
Besides all of these possibilities, the rise of clean energy has made energy storage systems (ESS) more important than ever. Wind and solar energy are deemed intermittent sources of energy, which implies their power production increases and decreases depending on the weather, climate, or season. Especially on sunny or windy days, solar and wind energy can produce more electricity than the grid is capable of handling. In the circumstances like this, utilities must be capable of redirecting that surplus energy into energy storage systems.
On the contrary, on cloudy or windless days, solar and wind energy can produce little or no electricity for the grid. To help meet demand in these conditions, grid operators must be able to call on electricity storage.
Is energy storage vital for the future?
The fact is that we require more energy storage today than we did yesterday, and we’ll require it more tomorrow than we do today. Energy storage systems are becoming more vital each year, in large part due to the shift towards clean energy. As mentioned before, the irregularity of clean energy sources like solar and wind power can pose a big problem to the stability of our power grids. Energy storage can effectively resolve this irregularities problem. While there’s still an enormous amount of work to be done, companies are building energy storage systems to be more cost-effective and commercially expandable.
How much energy storage do we require?
It’s evident that we need energy storage to help keep our grids operating smoothly. It’s also evident that using more irregular renewables means we must have dependable energy storage. So the quantity of storage we require is going to depend on how much renewable power we construct. According to recent research, our energy storage capacity could grow five-fold by 2050. To achieve this, we need to support a grid made up of mostly wind and solar power. Eventually, our energy storage needs are going to depend on how quickly we shift away from fossil fuels and move towards clean energy like wind and solar power. Fossil fuels have contributed to global climate change and environmental pollution; however, they have a very vital feature, i.e., they are reliable. In general, when a fossil fuel power plant is constructed, power grids can depend on that plant for stable electricity. That uniformity makes it pretty easy to match supply with demand. As we use fewer fossil fuels and more renewable energy sources, the process of balancing supply with demand will become increasingly important, especially as the use of sustainable energy resources increases.
Energy storage is one of the unknown heroes of our power grids. Not only are energy storage technologies an important part of retaining the firmness of our power grids, but they’re also an essential component of our collective transition to clean energy. This version of the technology is going to help transform our energy world in the 21st century.