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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Energy Storage Powering Ahead

Wall Street recognizes the opportunities for prosumers and consumers as well as the challenges to electric utilities. Wall Street's Utility Bond Warnings illustrates that the message of solar plus storage is finally getting through.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has a new report on Energy Storage which says, in part:

Energy storage promises to change the electricity system during the next decade, as fundamentally as distributed renewable energy has in the last decade. A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Energy Storage: The Next Charge for Distributed Energy, forecasts where the battleground is shaping up. The report also details promising examples of local renewable energy utilizing energy storage — from Laurel, MD to San Diego, CA to Kaua’i Island, Hawaii — illustrating how the powerful combination can allow for more thorough adoption of renewable energy, support greater local control, and increase reliability of the energy system.

Download the full report here.

The new report reviews the many ways energy storage systems enhance distributed renewable energy including innovative uses for electric vehicles (EVs), community solar, island power grids, and microgrids. The report also looks at ways in which communities utilized energy storage to help managed supply and demand and ancillary electricity services, while reinforcing infrastructure, and supporting renewables.

Energy storage stands to change the political dynamic of local renewable energy development, while also impacting economics and policy prescriptions. The new ILSR report can provoke conversation and new thinking around the coming technologies.

An interesting effect of allowing prosumers to add storage will be a transfer of power from the utilities to the prosumer:
Energy storage will also change the political dynamic of local renewable energy development. Utilities that have tried erecting barriers to on-site power generation may find that cost-effective energy storage enables their customers to leave the grid. Although most will not leave, the option to defect (described in a recent Rocky Mountain Institute Report) will give electricity customers unprecedented leverage and control over their energy future.
Energy storage stands at the cusp of major growth. Its adoption will accelerate the transformation toward a democratic energy system.