Energy Storage has become an exciting new component in electricity grid development around the world. This is because of two important contributing factors: First, increasing concern over the environmental damaged caused by the burning of non-renewable fossil fuels and second, the increasing supply of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydro, wind and solar power.Energy storage is not new to the Earth. In essence, all matter is "stored energy" which can be released when the atomic bonds are broken. This is what occurs in nuclear fission and fusion. In fact, every tree on the plant is an energy storage device. Trees constantly absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide and store that carbon in its trunk. When a tree dies and decomposes, the tree's stored energy is released back into the environment. The same thing happens when it is burned. The stored chemical energy is converted to thermal energy. Also, d.c. batteries have been used since the beginning of the 1800s and pumped-storage hydropower has been operating in the United States since the 1920s. In fact, pumped hydro facilities account for more than 90 per cent of all long duration capacity in the United States. With this in mind, increasing industrial, commercial and institutional demand for a more responsive and cleaner operating electric grid has resulted in a large increase in the design and construction of new electricity storage projects. This has resulted in the development of newer and more effective utility scale energy storage applications.Energy storage technology addresses the intermittency problem of solar and wind power. This is because it can supply stored electric power when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing, both of which are needed to generate electricity. The other benefit is that devices can respond relatively quickly to large fluctuations in electricity demand, making the electric power grid more responsive and at the same time reducing the need to construct backup electric power generation capacity.Up until now, fossil fuels have been the most popular form of energy on Earth because of their ability to be transported and burned at will, constantly and instantly supplying demand for electricity. This is in contrast to electricity generated by solar and wind power, which is intermittent and relies on the weather. As clean energy renewable technologies have become more price competitive with traditional fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) they have become an increasing portion of overall installed generating capacity and have made a larger contribution to the North American electrical grid.Energy storage helps electric utilities to meet electricity demand during peak load periods. Think of hot summer days when air conditioning load is extreme, or at night when homes require lighting and heating. The cost of electric power increases during peak times as utilities have to ramp up generation in order to meet increased energy demand. Energy storage allows for greater power grid flexibility. Also, innovative power providers can buy electricity from the grid during off-peak times when power is less expensive and then sell it back to the grid when the price is higher and is in greater demand.Our Channel presents the latest information about technologies, companies, products and applications available today.
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