Energy Storage: The Future of Clean Energy

Ilana Maccia

Energy storage systems (ESSs) are quickly becoming a viable solution for modernizing today’s electric grid by providing improved reliability, resiliency, and customer choice, all while shifting our electricity supply from fossil fuel to carbon-free sources.  The driving factor in the recent growth and forecasted potential of energy storage within the C&I segment is tied directly to the operational flexibility and control these systems provide; and as the storage markets & applications become more sophisticated, the opportunities to save money and generate revenue (driven by energy storage enabled operational flexibility) will expand far beyond demand charge reduction, time-of-use management, and Back-up power.

Commercial & Industrial Applications

Commercial & Industrial businesses can reap significant benefits from installing energy storage technologies, regardless of building type or load profile. Furthermore, the available financing options and potential tax break incentives can make the use of ESSs economical, with no significant upfront costs. From a traditional transactional sale (i.e. direct purchase) to a range of agreements between vendors and customers, there are a variety of business models available for C&I customers depending on their specific needs and capital investment appetites.

C&I Energy Storage Value Streams

1. Power Resiliency
Energy Storage Systems have the ability to respond nearly instantaneously to ensure systems remain online.  Hospitals, Data Centers, Schools, etc. would have needs to ensure their critical/life support systems don’t fail during power outages.

2. Power Quality
Offering accurate and rapid response, energy storage systems improve the quality and consistency of power being delivered from the grid; and as a result, help protect sensitive electronic equipment from things like spikes in power, surges in voltage, sags in voltage, etc.

3. Demand Cost Control
Demand charges are often based on the highest 15-minute average usage recorded on a demand meter within a given month. Intelligently discharged energy storage systems have the ability to shave down those peak demand spikes and reduce/eliminate those avoidable, and potentially significant, charges on your monthly bill.

4. Grid Response
As storage applications increase in number and the market matures, both utilities and grid operators will begin to look toward distributed energy storage to help address deliver consistent, reliable, and cost-effective services. Energy storage system owners will likely have opportunities to generate new revenue streams from through frequency response, voltage response, etc.

5. Sustainability Strategy
Enhancing sustainability efforts by combining energy storage with renewable systems (i.e. Solar and Wind) in order to eliminate or reduce the variability and uncertainty of output from those power sources (i.e. the wind doesn’t always blow).

Regardless of your building’s energy usage profile, energy storage offers cost savings and operational flexibility to stretch profit margins in the face of volatile energy costs and intermittent/uncertain supply from the grid.

Co-authored by Ilana Maccia and Adam Maier

Comments:

  • Jake Fromer

    What a well written and informative piece. Thank you Ecova! Please keep more entries like this coming!

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