Battery Day, an unofficial holiday observed on February 18, is used to pay tribute to the little source of energy that makes our lives much simpler. Batteries have surpassed the times of simply powering our remote controls, cell phones and children’s toys, and are becoming a major resource for how electricity is delivered to homes and businesses, and how we get around every day.
For decades, it has been believed that large centralized generating stations with high voltage transmission systems and lower voltage distribution systems would result in lowest price electricity. Holding true from the mid-seventies through mid-2018, the improvement in battery technology and most importantly the drop in battery prices may soon make the traditional centralized model of electricity distribution obsolete.
As time passes, greater reliance on batteries could also offset traditional ways of meeting increased demand for energy, such as building new power generation stations, transmission lines, and distribution circuits through Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS).
BESS can be used on its own or in combination with other resources, such as gas-fired peaker plants, to help meet peak demand (the highest electrical power demand that has occurred over a specified time period)and support electrical grid operations.
As more and more renewable resources such as solar and wind come online, batteries will help smooth the variability in these resources by storing the energy they produce and then supplying it to the grid when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow through a point of service/ microgrid model.
Additionally, BESS can serve as an emergency backup during energy shortfalls or grid service interruptions among a variety of other use cases as seen in the chart below:
Utilizing similar lithium ion technology, Electric vehicles (EVs) are driving down the cost of the batteries used in advanced storage systems. While EVs and BESS may now look like two completely separate battery technologies, the power grid we use today could benefit enormously if EVs are connected to smart grids or mobile storage systems.
Even though EVs are a strain on power grids when charging at peak electricity demand time, through smart charging, the EV fleet of the future could create vast electricity storage capacity while unleashing the benefits of a clean transportation sector and low-carbon electricity. Smart charging is an umbrella concept describing all intelligent functionalities in EV charging stations that optimize the charging infrastructure by efficiently and flexibly creating and distributing the available power.
In the core forms of advanced EV charging, vehicles may serve as supplementary power suppliers to homes and buildings, or even the smart grid controls vehicle charging and returns energy to the grid.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), if the uptake of smart charging takes off this decade, grid flexibility from EVs could increase dramatically by 2030.
In conclusion, as the development of batteries continues to improve and renewable energy resourcesare becoming more important in the distribution of power, it’s not unexpected that Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) play a key role in today’s and tomorrow’s energy landscape. Additionally, apart from driving a clean transportation revolution over the next three decades, electric vehicles (EVs) could help the power grid’s storage needs as growing shares of renewable energy sources increases.