Last January I listed the five areas that I thought would bear watching in 2014, and I reported to you on them in July and December. This year I will add one more area to watch. Initially, it may strike you as outside the scope of the smart grid, but let me explain my thinking. First of all, if you’ve followed this newsletter at all, you should know that the “smart grid” is far more than just smart meters; the smart grid involves a vast amount of technology, both hardware and software, that provide the “smarts” for the smart grid.
Here’s the hot topic to watch in 2015: grid-scale battery storage systems. The driver for these systems: the huge increase in installed solar and wind generation. Why? Because these sources are intermittent. Grid scale battery storage is a good way to handle intermittent generation and protect the grid. What are the other choices? Pumped storage (hydroelectric) and compressed gases (in underground caverns) are impractical in most regions, for obvious reasons.
But, like many other technologies that have been introduced into the grid, battery storage systems are going to have to be controlled -- controlled in the sense that a grid operator will want to maximize that resource for the overall good of the grid. And that means: battery storage systems need to be part of the “smarts”.
The news is light this time of year, so you will find only eight news items in this issue. Check out how many of them have to do with grid scale battery storage systems!