Enabling Smart Grids: Energy Storage Technologies, Opportunities and Challenges

Dr. Lucía Gauchía, Assistant Prof. of Energy Storage Systems atMichigan Tech University presented a webinar titled Enabling Smart Grids: Energy Storage Technologies, Opportunities and Challenges, where she gave an overview of energy storage technologies and applications for the smart grid.

Energy storage technologies fall into five categories: mechanical, electrochemical, chemical, electrical, and thermal. Dr. Gauchía briefly gives technology examples for each of these categories, but focuses her presentation on electrochemical, which represents secondary (rechargeable) batteries and flow batteries. After covering battery basics, she presents specific battery technologies emerging as contenders to meet the demand of energy storage for the smart grid such as Lithium batteries and Na-based batteries.

The opportunities for energy storage are growing as a result of renewable penetration, maturity of technologies and commercial availability at competitive prices, awareness of benefits and value, and increasing support from regulators. Dr. Gauchía shows there are opportunities both from the customer side of the meter and the grid side of the meter. For example, on the customer side, consumers want to increase energy efficiency to reduce electricity and good energy storage technology achieves this. On the grid side, Dr. Gauchía identifies bulk energy services and ancillary services as opportunities.

The opportunities for energy storage are abundant, but with variables such as application and location, a plethora of good battery choices, and the need for synergy between technical, social, economic, policy and environmental factors, picking the right solution is a complex problem. A holistic integration addressing all these factors is needed for successful adoption.

Energy storage plays a critical role in the smart grid. This webinar gives an overview of the current technologies available and the opportunities and challenges the industry faces for successful implementation.


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