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CCBJ Vol IV No 09-10: Energy Storage II

Integrating wind and solar power is the key driver for grid energy storage, but storage devices can also be used to arbitrage electricity prices, generate revenues from ancillary services, provide reactive power and other services-if regulatory challenges can be sorted out. This edition explores the policy and market drivers, technologies and business models shaping an industry that CCBJ expects to reach $5 billion in the United States alone by 2014 (including transportation batteries).

These are heady times for the grid electricity storage industry. After years of technology development, commercial-scale projects using advanced batteries are becoming a reality. The FERC queue for pumped storage hydro projects has topped 50 GW. Compressed air energy storage is getting new attention, with one major Midwestern energy company exploring CAES as a transmission asset. But the future of grid electricity storage is by no means assured as incumbent techologies-primarily natural-gas fired generators-and new demand-response resources are competing hard to meet the renewable integration challenge and provide the other grid services that the energy storage industry is targeting.

Inside this edition:

  • Compressed Air and Pumped Storage Hydro are established processes, and PSH is already widely deployed. Significant upfront expense and long development cycles, however, impact their ability to provide solutions in the near term. Some PSH developers are avoiding major environmental challenges with closed-loop configurations. CAES breakthroughs may be on the horizon as SustainX and others pursue combustion-free technologies that will use above-ground storage instead of caverns.
  • Thermal energy storage finds new applications in concentrating solar power and buildings.
  • An open future for electric vehicles means global competition in batteries is heating up. Large manufacturers, well-capitalized technology developers as well as regional and national economic development agencies are out front.


Duke Energy tests grid and commercial storage applications. AES' storage subsidiary markets the multiple benefits of storage in the United States, Latin America and elsewhere. Aquion aims to shave costs of batteries. A123 is an early leader in li-ion batteries for vehicles and utility storage. Beckett Energy Systems shows middlemarket com- panies can play in storage. Wind Energy Institute of Canada develops a test case for frequency regulation on an island. Primus Power advances zinc-halogen batteries.

Additional firms and organizations quoted:

Andrews Kurth, Argonne National Laboratory, AWS Truepower, Black & Veatch, Boston Consulting Group, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Cleantech Group, Distributed Energy Financial Group, DTE Energy, Eagle Crest Energy, eV2G, FERC, First Energy, Halotechnics, Ice Energy, Johnson Controls, Mid-Atlantic Grid Interactive Cars Consortium, Midwest Independent System Operator, Mott MacDonald, MWH, Ohio State University, Pacific Gas & Electric, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Pike Research, PJM Interconnection, S&C Electric, SAIC, Sandia National Laboratory and others.



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