What is Energy Storage?

What is Energy Storage

Energy storage technologies capture energy at one time, save it, and then later on convert the stored energy back into useful forms of energy like electricity.

Energy storage technologies are generally divided into the following categories: mechanical, electrochemical, chemical, electrical, or thermal. Mechanical energy storage, including pumped-hydropower generation, is the oldest technology in the United States. It accounts for about 95 per cent of all energy storage projects. Pumped-hydropower generation technology is limited, however, because of its need for abundant water resources and a different geographic elevation. An additional hurdle is the need for power transmission line construction to local distribution areas where electricity is consumed. Recently, the cost of transmission-line construction has surpassed the cost of installing a pumped hydropower generation facility.

Energy storage plays an increasingly important role in electrified societies. Just consider the development of the lithium (Li)-ion battery, which has resulted in the proliferation of personal information devices and commercially-available electric vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries have impacted the North American by expanding the implementation of solar and wind renewable power generation by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of transmission and distribution networks because they store electric power.

Energy storage is playing an increasing role in enabling the electricity grid to function with more flexibility. As with many renewable energy technologies, energy storage offers many developed and developing countries with opportunities for considerable economic benefit. The development of renewable electricity generation (wind and solar) has increased significantly in recent years. This is because decarbonization and air pollution eradication efforts have intensified the demand for electricity which is clean and sustainable. The integration of renewable energy technologies into modern electrical networks, however, created significant issues for keeping electric power grids stable. The wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine.

This fact has created variations in when the output of renewable clean energy sources is available. Energy storage has therefore become essential for power and voltage balancing during peak demand. Energy Storage is also necessary for energy management, frequency control, peak shaving, load balancing, periodic storage, and backup electricity in the event of an outage from the source of supply. Because of these technical challenges, electric  storage technologies have evolved into an essential component of today's power grid.

Energy storage is also contributing to transportation decarbonization efforts through the conversion of passenger vehicles, heavy duty vehicles, rail transportation, maritime shipping, and potentially aviation. Future demands for energy storage require a diversity of technical solutions which are designed to meet a variety of applications. 

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