The intelligent grid cannot be achieved without energy storage.
Rick Nicholoson is vice president of research, and Nadav Enbar is research manager with Energy Insights.
The intelligent grid has gone from a relatively arcane topic of interest, primarily for a small number of industry insiders, to holding a high profile place in the Obama administration’s plans for economic recovery. It was even featured in a television commercial during the Super Bowl. Yet, while much has been written about the intelligent grid of late, little attention has been focused on the role of energy storage in achieving its expected benefits. Energy storage is an essential component of the intelligent grid. Indeed, a recent report released by the U.S. Department of Energy titled, The Smart Grid: An Introduction, lists energy storage as one of five fundamental technologies that will enable the intelligent grid’s realization. Energy storage provides greater grid integration of variable renewable energy resource output (e.g., wind, solar); improved system reliability via the provision of grid regulation services; and peak demand reductions and, in turn, deferred capital spending on new and upgraded transmission and distribution assets.