Why Storage

A standalone battery energy storage system (BESS) can provide a range of important benefits to our customers, their ratepayers, and the planet.
Faster, more flexible,
and lower-cost electricity
To ensure there is always enough electricity provided to all customers on a grid, flexible resources must respond quickly to unexpected changes in load or generation. Historically, gas peaker plants have been used in this role, but they can take as long as 5 to 10 minutes to respond. A BESS can respond in milliseconds, thereby making the grid much more reliable. And as costs continue to decline, batteries are increasingly competing with gas peakers to provide this fast-response service at a lower cost.
Locational flexibility
Standalone battery systems do not need to be paired with renewable generation in order to store renewable energy to release when consumers need it. They can be located at key points on the grid to strengthen reliability and provide additional grid services like frequency and voltage regulation at those locations. A study in The Electricity Journal found that while co-located storage has some lower costs, it has far less operational flexibility and cannot be sited at the most optimal locations on the grid.
Cleaner, healthier air
The optimal location for flexible resources has been near large population centers where demand on the electric system is high. Typical gas peaker plants burning diesel or other fossil fuels emit pollutants such as particulate matter and NOx. Batteries, on the other hand, create no emissions or waste products and can be located near large population centers without harming the health of the local community.
Integration with renewables
Batteries allow for many more large, low-cost solar and wind generators to be built and reliably integrated into the grid. A BESS can charge when excess power is produced from solar or wind energy and then discharge it when needed most. In addition, battery energy storage mitigates the “duck curve” observed in areas with large amounts of solar on their electric system.
Economic development
Many companies looking to build new facilities like data centers require renewable electricity to run those facilities. They bring that jobs and economic development that accompany those facilities. Storage on the grid enables communities to demonstrate access to high or 100% renewable electricity covering facility demand throughout the day and night.
Electric vehicle integration
Electric vehicles are a small part of today’s vehicle fleet, but their use as personal and commercial vehicles is growing rapidly. Grid-connected battery energy storage can integrate electric vehicles and help utilities and customers effectively manage this new load source.
Alternative to new power lines
In many cases, local constraints on the power grid require the build-out of intrusive long-distance transmission lines that can take years to build. A BESS can relieve this pressure with shorter permitting and construction timelines and at a lower cost.
No water usage
Unlike power plants that run on fossil fuels, battery systems do not require water for operation. Therefore, a BESS will never compete with other water uses like agriculture in areas where this resource is scarse.
Co-ops and munis
As the most operationally flexible and fast responding resource a BESS allows a Coop or Muni to both physically and financially hedge against market exposure to volatile wholesale energy prices and can be used to reduce the peak demand charge from their transmission provider by injecting power and reducing demand during peak usage hours. Like Utilities, a BESS can be used by Munis and Coops to deal with the persistent volatility associated with a generation stack increasingly composed of variable renewable generators and a tight system wide capacity margin. A BESS is the ultimate clean peaking capacity resource to meet economic and sustainability goals.
A BESS can provide Utilities a valuable resource to manage load, provide ancillary services, provide peaking capacity and manage generation. As renewable generation increases its penetration into a Utilities generation mix, energy storage can help manage the intermittency of wind and solar resources by charging or discharging to complement the renewable energy output. This makes it much easier to match the fluctuating electrical demand of the utility’s customers. It is also a much cleaner and efficient load peaking resource for times of heavy electrical usage and can be located closer to areas with high load density.