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At the Tipping Point: Utilities Prepare Energy Storage Strategies for a Renewables Grid (VIDEO)

At the Tipping Point: Utilities Prepare Energy Storage Strategies for a Renewables Grid (VIDEO)

| Maxwell Technologies

ultracapacitor energy storage bank A Maxwell Technologies-designed ultracapacitor energy storage bank for a Southern California microgrid monitors and reacts to dips in solar power, significantly smoothing power quality.

Utilities are in the midst of making the necessary preparations for stabilizing the power grid so that a decade from now, consumers can rely on their energy supply.

Those preparations include a deep education on energy storage options and the beginning stages of decision-making around how to implement energy storage for grid stabilization, especially as more renewables are added to the grid.

And the addition of renewables is the way of the future—policymakers in the U.S. and abroad continue to press for higher amounts of renewable energy sources as a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One example of an ambitious effort is the California mandate that by 2030, half of the state’s electricity will be derived from renewable energy.

For a closer look at the grid energy storage technologies available, the San Diego Union Tribune interviewed Dr. Kim McGrath, senior director of marketing and business development at Maxwell Technologies. In a video, Dr. McGrath discusses ultracapacitors, also called supercapacitors or electric double-layer capacitors, and their ability to improve grid power quality and firm renewable energy.

ultracapacitors in the grid

A summary of points from the article Energy storage gets ready for its close-up:

  • A variety of energy storage options are available, including ultracapacitors, large-scale batteries, compressed air, flywheels and pumped hydroelectric storage.
  • An ultracapacitor is an energy storage device that’s capable of rapidly charging and discharging to deliver high power for a number of different applications, including grid and microgrid, transportation (automotive, bus and rail) and renewable energy.
  • Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, are intermittent. The challenge is creating a plan to be able to support renewables on a grid that was designed for traditional energy sources such as coal-fired electric generating plants.
  • Current energy challenges such as the global need to decrease emissions, increase the amount of renewables on the grid, and improve power quality and reliability are driving an immense opportunity for ultracapacitor energy storage and storage in general.
  • The market is moving rapidly and the need to reduce emissions becomes more pressing. To add more renewables to the grid, utilities require a flexible and affordable energy storage solution. The industry is at a significant tipping point, and ultracapacitors are finding their place as a key technology.
  • Consumers desire benefits in terms of clean energy and reliability of energy and also demand affordable pricing. Grid energy storage is an enabling technology that will reduce the need to complete complex, time-consuming and costly upgrades to grid infrastructure.

To explore more on the discussion around grid energy storage, view How Do We Stabilize the Grid with Higher Penetration Of Renewables?

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