With the increasing popularity of electric vehicles and the recent investments in battery production facilities by manufacturers in the USA such as Tesla / Panasonic (see Gigafactory), Korea, Japan and China, the availability and cost for vehicle and grid-connected energy storage solutions are rapidly decreasing. In addition, Utilities have identified distributed grid-connected storage as a solution that can increase the robustness and resilience of their distribution networks by allowing them to shift peak loads and thereby decrease grid congestion and related power quality problems.
CHP is a dispatchable generation resource, producing baseload energy for facilities. CHP can be sized to cover a facility’s entire load in the event of a utility outage or optimized for total efficiency which is dictated by the facility’s thermal loads. If a CHP energy facility is optimized for electrical output there may be excess production that can be stored for peak loads and or dispatch to the grid. Also, many industrial facilities experience electric demand “spikes” during the normal course of operations that are significantly above their base electric load curves which can generate very high utility capacity and demand charges depending on utility territory. CHP plus energy storage can lower these charges and help further optimize CHP efficiencies and help with grid reliability.
As important, grid-connected storage can also allow Utilities to incorporate more variable distributed generation resources like solar and wind by making these energy solutions a more reliable grid resource and while lessening their potential impact on grid reliability. Unlike “dispatchable” energy sources that are used for the majority of electricity generation in the United States (such as combined cycle natural gas, coal, nuclear, CHP energy plants), solar and wind energy have variable and uncertain output. Because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, deployment of energy storage as an essential component of these systems has the ability to both “time shift” and “buffer” the grid from their variability in production.