Battery storage for the electrical grid is now cost competitive with gas turbines for peaker plants, which are used to provide the grid with electricity quickly as demand increases and when energy use on the grid is at a maximum. Batteries for the grid can be charged when the cost of power is low and discharged during peak energy usage when electrical costs are high. Battery power can also respond to the demand in a matter of milliseconds rather than minutes as do gas fired plants. Fossil fuel prices fluctuate significantly whereas battery power in conjunction with renewables don’t have much price fluctuation. Battery power stations for the grid can be placed in areas where energy producing facilities using fossil fuels cannot go. Since there are no moving parts in a battery, there is less maintenance cost and they are cheaper to build than gas fired plants. Battery plants are scalable and more units can be added as needed.

Southern California Edison chose a 195-megawatt battery storage portfolio instead of a gas peaker plant, according to Green Tech Media, because it was cheaper to do so. A hybrid battery/wind/solar facility with a 700-megawatt capacity is being developed in Oklahoma. It is scheduled for completion in 2023 through a partnership with Nextra and Western Farmers, a generation and transmission company in Oklahoma, and will be cheaper than that of a gas-fired plant of similar size according to the principle resource planning engineer for Western Farmer.

Flow cell batteries can take on the job of longer term energy storage. Two tanks of concentrated electrolyte solution with different electrical potentials are pumped separately through the electrodes, provide the current and the spent electrolyte returns to the original tanks. The process essentially reverses when electricity is fed back to the system by solar panels or wind turbines. Flow cell battery storage capability can be scaled to size by changing the size of the holding tanks.                                                                                                                   

An 800-megawatt-hour flow cell battery unit is being deployed by Rongke Power in Dalian, China, using concentrated solutions of vanadium salts in water based on technology developed in the US. Since the electrolyte solutions are water based, they are inherently safer since the danger of fire is low. The caps on placed on electricity generated from renewable energy in Massachusetts and elsewhere should be scrapped since battery power is ready to be used on the grid.

Timothy Wright,

Pittsfield

An 800-megawatt-hour flow cell battery unit is being deployed by Rongke Power in Dalian, China, using concentrated solutions of vanadium salts in water based on technology developed in the US. Since the electrolyte solutions are water based, they are inherently safer since the danger of fire is low. The caps on placed on electricity generated from renewable energy in Massachusetts and elsewhere should be scrapped since battery power is ready to be used on the grid.

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