Washington, D.C. — Extreme weather events and natural disasters, from hurricanes to floods and droughts to wildfires, already exact an enormous toll on the reliability of the nation’s electricity grid. This problem promises to worsen as climate change makes these events more frequent and severe. A new issue brief by the Center for American Progress describes how advances in energy storage technology are positioning distributed battery systems to be a feasible option for mitigating service interruptions caused by extreme weather. The brief looks at how the economics of energy storage have changed and how a coordinated resilience effort to collectively strengthen the electric grid with energy storage technology could improve grid reliability.
“Ten years ago, the cost of energy storage made it prohibitively expensive for deployment on a meaningful scale,” said Ben Bovarnick, former CAP Research Assistant and author of the brief. “However, since 2006, the cost of energy storage has been cut in half and it is estimated that within the next five years it could more than halve again. This makes community energy storage a legitimate tool for utilities and grid operators to increase grid resilience by constructing a more flexible grid better able to respond to the strains of extreme weather events.”
Private sector companies in the United States and Europe have begun to aggregate battery storage systems to serve conventional electricity markets. These systems allow energy storage companies and utilities to combine individual batteries into large virtual storage apparatuses, which can provide service to the grid in times of weather-related outages as well as improve services during non-emergency situations. States like New York are supporting energy storage projects that will provide a layer of grid resilience while also creating the infrastructure necessary to integrate renewables energy such as solar economically. The brief makes recommendations for next steps that regulators can take to incentivize the development and installation of community storage infrastructure to enhance grid resilience.
Click here to read the paper.
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