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Energy storage is reaching out to the 'edge of the grid'

There is an alternative to large central energy storage—especially for battery-based systems. Located at the “edge of the grid,” where electric distribution meets the customer, community energy storage is a building block for ‘distributed bulk’ storage. 

Central energy storage does still make sense for technologies such as pumped hydro and CAES type units. These remain the lowest-cost storage devices and the best option for over 100 MW (1,000 MWh). Large central storage does not make sense for electrochemical batteries though. Battery cells are small and stacking poses many challenges.

A bit of an oxymoron, ‘distributed bulk’ storage enables distributed benefits AND centralized control. ‘Distributed bulk’ storage essentially is an aggregation of distributed storage units, with community energy storage (CES) becoming an accepted format within the energy industry. Quiet momentum is building for ‘distributed bulk’ storage as a utility can quickly deploy CES and use it to buffer electric vehicle charging impacts on distribution circuits. The application also avoids geological and permitting challenges, offers speed and ease of ‘plug-and-play’ deployment, and provides improved service reliability as a backup power source closer to the customer.  

KEMA’s Dr. Ali Nourai will present the paper “Breakthrough Technologies in DR and Energy Storage: Deployment Status of Community Energy Storage” during the DistribuTECH 2011 Demand Response and Energy Efficiency track on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. Nourai will discuss how energy storage is reaching out to the “edge of the grid,” the drivers for this trend, popular storage formats, and deployment of community energy storage.

Learn more about KEMA’s participation at DistribuTECH 2011.

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