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Bright Ideas Fuel Grid Storage Technology Taking Off
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 30 June 2008 09:04

 New grid storage companies, good for the consumer, good for the utility, good for the environment
Jason Mick (Blog) - June 30, 2008 8:27 AM

DailyTech recently covered Beacon Power's flywheel mechanical power storage system for grid leveling. Grid leveling, an uncharted field is exploding in terms of interest, but much work remains to be done.  The promise is intriguing. Current power in terms of infrastructure is crude – it’s a simple in-out system. If power leveling technologies were modestly adopted it could make the power grid equivalent of RAM, able to handle varying demand without crashes (brownouts). In time, serious power storage adoption could equate to long-term storage driving down prices during times of peak consumption or high commodity prices, similar to a hard drive, to use the computer analogy again.

Another key advantage of the technology is its ability to make wind and solar power technology -- variable sources -- make more sense from an economic standpoint fueled by the demand for continuous power. These points were among the thoughts aired at a recent industry expert’s panel meeting for the New England Clean Energy Council. The council, which is intimately knowledgeable with consumer power industry, says that power storage technologies have tremendous potential, but are held back by tech risks and expenses.

The council hopes that nonetheless the technologies will slowly be adopted. This way "peak shaving", using stored energy to offset demand peaks during the day, can be employed as an alternative to having to build more power plants. However, much work must be done to transform the grid to make such practices commonplace.

Says Ric Fulop, co-founder and vice president of business development at lithium-ion battery company A123 Systems, which is among the companies focusing on storage technologies, "Buying power at night and then selling it during the day--something like that will happen maybe in 30 or 40 years when storage technologies are one-tenth the costs they are today. I think we will see a lot of deployments in the next few years that will change how the grid works. Then we'll see utilities jump on the bandwagon."  [Dailytech...] [Comments...]

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