Electronics & Test

Grid Storage a Key to Success of Renewables

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Beth Stackpole
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Re: Yet another infrastructure problem?
Beth Stackpole   4/25/2012 11:00:39 AM
Thanks for clarifying, Chuck. So we have some time to build out the grid storage and Naperlou talks about how it can be accomplished pretty effectively. I am by no means trying to poke holes in this development. As with all of this alternative fuel and renewable energy technology, it's a process and it's going to take time, money, and innovations in order to pull us over the goal line.

Charles Murray
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Re: Yet another infrastructure problem?
Charles Murray   4/25/2012 10:32:18 AM
Beth, I should have been more emphatic in stating that this is about the demand, not about what will actually happen. Lux's study is looking at plans, such as those in California (which wants to boost its renewables over 30%) and saying, "here's what will be needed." You're correct on all counts: yes, construction of these facilities will take money (public or private) and, yes, these storage centers will be very large. As for whether renewables will hit a brick wall without it: Yes, they will. The question is, when? Today, wind and solar generate about 4-6% of our electrical capacity. Experts at Argonne National Laboratory say that we will need storage when we reach a point between 10% and 20%.  

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Re: Yet another infrastructure problem?
naperlou   4/25/2012 9:36:19 AM
Beth, it's not as bad as all that.  By using grid storage utilities can avoid building or upgrading other generation capacity.  Thus, it may not be a big extra expense in the long run.  In addition, this technology offers a way to make the grid more reliable.  I have seen plans for batteries at the substation level.  We'll have to see how the battery technology pans out.

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Load balancing
GlennA   4/25/2012 9:34:51 AM
The opposite side of this is manipulating the demand side.  Some utilities are now pushing 'smart' meters and appliances that will give the utility the option of reducing your consumption at peak load times.  That may influence some customers to install small at-home back-up systems.  Right now the savings are not enough for me to give the utility control over my appliances.  And I don't think a UPS can be had for the saving offered either.  Plus there would be the difficulty of how to wire / control such a system.

Beth Stackpole
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Yet another infrastructure problem?
Beth Stackpole   4/25/2012 6:26:46 AM
Interesting post, Chuck. But the need for grid storage and the requisite infrastructure to support it seems to me to have the same limitations and issues as the charging infrastructure dilemma you've been writing about lately with EVs. Building out the grid storage will take money and physical space, correct? I'm imaging it like giant data centers all over the place, so please set me straight. Will this be funded by private industry, the government? And without it, what happens to the use of renewable energy--it hits a brick wall.

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