Fast growing distributed resources create technical challenges for utilities. Advanced DMS technology promises to help keep local grids balanced.
The intelligent grid cannot be achieved without energy storage.
Electric Power and Pacific Gas & Electric, among other utilities, also are considering the technology as a wind-smoothing tool.)
Storage technologies such as the NaS battery system could be crucial to achieving ambitious renewable portfolio standard mandates in some states— for example, Minnesota’s target is 25 percent by 2025, with Xcel required to supply 30 percent of its energy from renewables. Studies to date of integrating variable wind onto the grid find that many control areas easily can handle 10 to 20 percent of wind penetration, but costs are likely to escalate as percentages grow higher. The Xcel project and others like it will be watched closely by stakeholders to gauge the costs and benefits of using storage to better integrate wind energy.
Storage Goes Mainstream
It will be difficult to attain the widely held vision of the intelligent grid without the simultaneous development of efficient, cost-effective electricity storage solutions. Innovators are, today, discovering previously unexplored, yet beneficial, applications for energy-storage technologies both at the transmission and distribution levels. Early utility and industry adopters are leveraging recent or planned storage implementations to defer T&D asset investments; supply frequency regulation, spinning reserve, and off-peak wind-energy storage; and also provide load leveling for energy arbitrage opportunities. With greater awareness, storage technologies and their associated applications will proliferate, helping to transform the transmission and distribution system into a dynamic and intelligent grid.