Energy Exchange

New report highlights potential for energy storage in North Carolina

North Carolina recently took another key step in its push for a clean energy future with the publication of a long-awaited study on the opportunities, challenges and value of energy storage for the state. The report, which was mandated under the 2017 Competitive Energy Solutions Act (House Bill 589), is the culmination of a year-long research effort led by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from North Carolina State University in partnership with the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory.

The report finds that North Carolina is at a critical juncture in its clean energy future, with energy storage poised to play a key role. However, in order to develop market opportunities for storage and ensure its full benefits are realized, policymakers must take key steps to wisely accelerate the adoption of energy storage in North Carolina.

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Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Storage, North Carolina / Tagged | Comments are closed

Without the right policies, energy storage could increase emissions

In December, the six major Independent Systems Operators (ISO’s) across the country filed their plans for creating new market rules and opportunities for energy storage. While the rules will take at least a year to go into effect and the plans are just an initial step, a recent study suggests that this effort may add up to 50,000 megawatts (MW) of storage nationwide in the next decade.

At the same time, many states – like California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – are recognizing the potential value of energy storage and are starting to integrate it as a key component of their plans to meet climate and renewable energy goals.

Combined with falling capital costs, these trends suggest a lot of new energy storage in the pipeline. This presents both opportunities and challenges for states looking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

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Energy storage, wind, and solar companies are recruiting coal miners for their work ethics and high-tech skills

When a California battery company officially moved its headquarters and manufacturing to Kentucky coal country last week, generous state tax subsidies certainly played a role – but so did something often lost in the debate about coal.

Struggling coal mining towns offer an abundance of highly trained workers, many of whom are eager for new opportunities and stable jobs. Mine work today requires mechanical and technical skills that are transferable to new industries, a fact that companies inside and outside the energy sector are beginning to discover in America’s tightening labor market. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Storage, Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Wyoming / Read 2 Responses

How One of Chicago’s Most Iconic Landmarks is Saving Money through Energy Storage

real batteryWhen you think about something that is 85 years old, you might think of history and tradition but not necessarily innovation. However, when the 85-year-old in question is a Chicago landmark committed to finding new ways to tackle energy management, cutting-edge solutions are par for the course.

The Merchandise Mart is a massive commercial space, spanning two city blocks along the Chicago River and offering some 4.2 million square feet of floor space. As expected, its energy consumption is also enormous, but the building has long been a leader in efficiency. And recently, the Mart took an even bigger step forward by unveiling an innovative battery storage unit that will help balance the electric grid – and earn money while doing it.

How the Mart came to be a clean energy leader

Built in 1930 for Marshall Field & Co., the Kennedy family owned the art deco structure for more than half a century, before selling it in 1998 to Vornado Realty Trust. Efficiency efforts began in the 1980s with the installation of an ice-storage cooling system that freezes tons of water overnight when cooling needs are minimal, allowing the building to shift power consumption to off-peak periods, save money, and reduce pollution. Read More »

Posted in Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Illinois / Comments are closed

The Future of Energy Storage is BYOB

batteryBy: Michelle Zheng, Clean Energy Intern

Before the U.S. electric grid became centralized under utilities and independent system operators, it consisted of unorganized and unconnected generators. As distributed energy resources (DERs) – such as rooftop solar, energy storage, and other generation sources beyond large power plants – find their way into (and onto) more homes and businesses, it’s clear the grid’s future has a lot in common with its roots. This time, however, an array of new technologies will help us take advantage of a more decentralized approach.

But are utilities ready to handle this change? Although some are eager to try, the answer under most current utility business models is a resounding “no.” This is because current business models promise utilities profit for putting more steel into the ground and selling as much energy as possible – the exact things DERs help avoid.

Despite all this, can we find ways for utilities and DERs to be friends? We think so. Meet the “Bring Your Own Battery” (BYOB) model. Developed by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and collaborators at Rocky Mountain Institute’s eLab Accelerator, it capitalizes on the emerging movement of customers bringing their own batteries to the grid. What’s more, it creates a role for the utility to facilitate rather than fight the expansion of DERs.

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Posted in Energy Storage, General / Comments are closed

Orange is the New Black, 40 is the New 30…and Energy Storage Could be the New California Power Plant

Moss_Landing_Power_Plant_p1270026If you follow pop culture, you’ve likely heard that Orange is the New Black, and 40 is the new 30. A perhaps lesser known – but equally important – new comparison that is turning heads in California is that energy storage might just be the new power plant.

This probably warrants a bit of explanation. On a power grid without storage, solar energy is generated during the day when the sun is shining its brightest, providing clean, renewable energy to homes and businesses – thus lessening the hold on the grid of dirty power plants. But what happens when this energy source goes offline? As people come home after work and turn on TVs, run dishwashers, and fire up other hungry appliances (also referred to as “peak” energy hours), the grid must rely on fossil fuel-powered electricity to ramp up production quickly.

However, when energy storage is added into this mix, a shift occurs. If there is enough renewable energy stockpiled during the sun’s most productive hours, between 11 AM and 3 PM, then the use of fossil fuels at peak times can be reduced.  In this way, new fossil fuel power plants that might be necessary to meet increased population and demand can be avoided.  And voila: energy storage is the new power plant. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Storage, State / Comments are closed