April 21, 2014
The future of green energy and power storage is gaining traction in California where renewable power is increasing. California has been leading the way in opportunities for promoting more environmentally friendly energy options, with the region even putting aggressive energy storage mandates in place that aim at enhancing the overall amount of renewable power available to the state by 2020.
New energy storage mandate
In order to meet growing demands for renewables, California's energy storage mandate will make it more efficient and environmentally friendly to for businesses and utilities to meet energy demands. Some of the major goals include:
- Reduce emissions by 80 percent between 1990 and 2050
- Shift towards more renewable energy
- Optimize grid reliability including peak reduction
- Defer transmission and distribution upgrade investments
- Reach 1,325 MW energy storage target by 2015
- Technology-neutral energy storage solutions
As Electric Energy T&D magazine stated, energy storage is the only way to make renewables a viable, sole energy source throughout California. One of the biggest challenges that energy storage will help solve is power quality. Utilities must maintain their power to a frequency of 60Hz in the U.S. Utilities experience energy loss as demand for energy oscillates above and below this frequency. Wind doesn't blow all the time and the sun doesn't always shine. Energy storage can help utilities smooth frequency to meet the 60 Hz cycle at all times. For businesses looking to go green or modernize their facility, energy storage provides a more sustainable solution. If businesses store energy at night they can discharge that energy the next hot afternoon. A thermal energy storage device installed at a building can store renewable energy like wind from the grid for use during peak demand periods.
Putting energy storage into play will also help Californians experience fewer brownouts and power surges because energy storage can store large amounts of energy and discharge energy quickly and for several hours in the event of a grid emergency. When it comes to responding to crises, fast, sustained action is necessary to minimize the amount of fallout that could otherwise occur. Such threats are especially vivid in California however, other cities, where power demands are on the rise, are turning to energy storage as well. The attractiveness of energy storage extends south to Puerto Rico and east to New York City where there is already over 20 million square feet of office space cooled by ice-based thermal energy storage.