Energy storage is a necessary component of community-based power plants/microgrids. As more and more people turn to renewables for their power needs, they’ll need to access this energy throughout the day and night, when the sun, wind, and other resources aren’t available. Through the use of storage technologies, consumers can receive renewable power at any time. This is one of the many benefits that energy storage technologies provide. Read on to find out more about some of the types of energy storage available today and the benefits they provide for both you and the environment.
Types of Local Energy Storage
Several energy storage methods are currently available or being developed. For example, Tesla’s Powerwall is a highly-efficient lithium-ion rechargeable battery platform intended for commercial use, while its Powerpack can be used in the home as a backup power reserve.
The redox flow battery, or fuel cell, uses energy-dense electrolytic compounds instead of solid electrodes. Ion exchange through a membrane separator causes redox, or reduction and oxidation, which allows the battery to store large amounts of energy.
Flywheel systems are designed to store energy by accelerating a rotor and maintaining the power as mechanical (kinetic) energy. They can use magnetic bearings that help to enable a large amount of energy to be stored rapidly. A flywheel and microgrid system in Kodiak, Alaska was recently installed for grid stability and energy expansion.
Other Energy Storage Examples
In pumped hydroelectric energy storage systems, water from a lower reservoir is pumped to a higher one. Then, the system releases the water, which turns a turbine to generate electricity. The released water is typically used during peak electrical demand to produce additional power. The water is then transferred back to the higher reservoir for later use.
Instead of pumping water from a lower area to a higher one, compressed air can be used to store energy. The pressurized air is heated and expanded in a turbine, driving a generator to produce electricity. A compressed air plant is being developed to provide Washington and Oregon areas with additional power.
Thermal energy storage can take several forms, but are commonly connected to solar power plants and use a liquid or solid medium that is heated or cooled to store energy. In Nevada, a thermal energy system using molten sand is able to store more than 1,000 megawatts of power without damaging the environment or emitting gasses and other waste.
Benefits of Energy Storage
Energy storage supports a new era of electricity and power with benefits to both society and the environment. Energy storage improves the efficiency of the power grid while accelerating the adoption of renewable energy. It will not affect air quality, and encourages consumers to switch to renewable energy thanks to its reliability.
Local energy storage can also help save money for larger facilities, which are often charged extra for power used during periods of high demand. With energy storage, these facilities can use battery power instead of grid power to decrease energy strains. This decreases the demand for energy within the market and allows it to be used for other purposes. And this, combined with the user’s ability to shift peak demand periods, helps users to benefit from time-of-use pricing and remain relatively unaffected by tariff changes.
Finally, energy storage systems provide additional resilience in emergency situations. They can provide a reliable source of backup energy when the power goes out as well as in day-to-day use, giving consumers more confidence in relying on renewable energy for their power needs.
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Visit GreenTechTalk.com for more information about how energy storage systems work and the benefits they provide. Green Tech Talk strives to provide consumers with relevant information about the latest updates in renewable energy and environmentally friendly technology to help consumers make educated decisions about their power usage and work to improve the planet through their daily habits. By staying informed, you may be able to encourage others in your community to make similar changes, magnifying your impact.