U.S. Doubled Advanced Energy Storage in Five Years

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Advanced energy storage has more than doubled in the United States over the last five years, growing from 160 MW to 350 MW, according a report today by the Energy Information Administration.

The figures do not include conventional pumped hydroelectric storage, which accounts for 98 percent of electric storage in the U.S.  Instead, the report focuses on up-and-comers: compressed air, batteries, and flywheels. Battery storage, in particular, is often included in microgrids.

The EIA noted that U.S. wholesale power markets are beginning to provide a revenue source for advanced storage. Energy storage can sell into certain ancillary services markets. These markets help the electric grid maintain frequency on a second-to-second or minute-to-minute basis or cover sudden and unexpected gaps between supply and demand.

Several Federal Energy Regulatory Commission orders have helped foster these markets.

  • Order No. 755 (2011) improves compensation rates in wholesale electric markets for fast-responding resources
  • Order No. 784 (2013) adds a requirement for utilities to account for the speed and accuracy of regulation resources (which help balance power system load and generation within minutes) when they determine reserve requirements. The order also requires utilities to report financial and operational information on energy storage assets.
  • Order No. 792 (2013) amends an earlier rule to include energy storage technologies and to streamline the time and cost associated with interconnecting new energy resources.

advanced energy storageEIA also highlighted state policy that is promoting energy storage, such as California’s mandate that utilities secure 1.3 GW of energy storage by 2020 and New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision. Some utilities also are pushing energy storage, including Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO), which issued a solicitation last year for 60-200 MW of storage and Oncor Electric Delivery, which has proposed that 5 GW of storage be installed in Texas.

Still, as MicrogridKnowledge.com recently noted here,  government has generally been slow in crafting policy for the fast moving energy storage market.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.