The Issues and Impact of Energy Storage Technology

Renewable energy has taken off. Wind and solar in particular had grown rapidly, since they can be installed on a small scale and connected to the grid. This has created a number of problems for utility companies while failing to deliver the promised benefits because energy storage technology has not caught up. Let’s look at some of the issues with renewable energy before explaining how advances in energy storage technology will ease these concerns.

The Instability of the Power Grid

The rapid growth of renewable power has added to the instability of the power grid. First, the introduction of many variable power sources forces utilities to deal with varying power supply relative to demand. Second, the relative lack of energy storage systems means there is far more wasted energy than before. When there is a spike in solar or wind power, they can’t store most of it for future usage. This adds to the instability and risk of failure of local portions of the power grid.

If we had more widespread, efficient energy storage, energy producers could save power above the expected power created locally instead of leaving power companies to turn on and off natural gas turbines to meet variation in demand. It would also eliminate the need to build natural gas turbines as backup power sources for when new renewable power sources aren’t meeting expectations.

The Lack of Backup Power

Solar power has long been a source of power for off-the-grid properties. However, this is dependent on having energy storage on site, typically batteries. Yet many solar roofs were set up to minimize cause and maximize tax credits to the detriment of home owners. We can look at the multiple disasters that hit California along with their wildfires. Utility companies couldn’t raise rates to pay for more fire-resistant infrastructure. They could be sued for any new wildfires blamed on the power equipment. The utility company’s only solution as to turn off power to areas that were burning or at risk of catching fire, if they didn’t want to be shut down entirely.

Many homeowners and businesses that have shifted to solar power have been left wanting because of the government’s lack of initiatives when it comes to energy storage solutions. Experts suggest that if you are looking to install solar panels on your roof or campus, you need to make sure that you go for the best energy storage solutions in the market. This not only helps reduce dependency, but also ensures that you are getting uninterrupted power and electricity for your home and office using solar power. There is a misconception that energy storage solutions are expensive, when it reality they are not. If you are looking to go for one, you should view website.

California has one of the highest rates of solar roof installations in the world. Unfortunately, most of those solar roofs were connected directly to the power grid, and the home owner receives power from the grid. This minimized how much equipment had to be installed while giving them the ability to sell power to the grid and get power from the grid. The problem is that they couldn’t get power from the grid when the power grid was shut down unless they paid several thousand dollars extra for renewable energy storage; note that less than two percent of customers did this. That hurt the broader power grid, as well, since solar roofs couldn’t deliver power to the power grid when the power grid was shut down.

The greatest irony was suffered by electric car owners. Imagine being told that you need to flee the wildfires, and all you have is an electric car that you can’t charge. A few homeowners made matters worse by tapping into their Tesla car battery to try to power their homes for a while, draining it dry.

Yet those few people with battery storage systems were fine. Their homes were wired in such a way that they could pull from the battery power when the power grid was down, assuming they were ever connected to the grid. They could continue to run their air conditioners and other appliances though no one else had power. For those that had solar roofs connected to the grid and energy storage systems, the grid being down means all of their power went into the battery. That energy wasn’t wasted, and the family could use it.

The Importance of Energy Storage for a Zero Carbon Future

Discussions on how humanity nationally and internationally prepares to combat climate change and work towards a zero-carbon future are not new. As scientists and politicians discuss how best to optimize the resources that we have to preserve our planet, the topic of energy storage has become increasingly prevalent. It is, in fact, the key to a successful zero-carbon future.

Energy storage is key to a zero-carbon future because by investing in renewable energy storage solutions, we will create a bank of storage solutions that can be accessed whenever necessary to provide energy to meet user demand and manage the energy supply at peak usage times. In finding ways of storing energy like this, we will be able to combat some of the common issues faced in using renewable energies.

kinetic energy storage solutions

Mainly, generating such energies is typically dependent on the weather rather than energy generation being tailored to meet energy and electricity demand. The renewable energy storage solutions best designed to meet the current need are:

  • Batteries
  • Thermal energy storage.
  • Pumped hydro energy storage
  • Kinetic energy storage (also called flywheel energy storage)

All of these energy storage solutions are beneficial in different ways. For example, batteries embrace technology that we are already familiar with; thermal storage can use excess heat produced as a by-product, and pumped hydro storage is useful for coastal communities or those with large riverway systems.

energy storage solutions

The kinetic energy solution of the flywheel stands out, however. Once they are established, flywheels require little to no maintenance or upkeep during their lifespan and are made from fully recyclable materials. They produce no toxic by-products and are not reliant on external factors such as weather conditions to generate or store their energy. It is always possible to generate more supply as stores get low. This dual function and low maintenance make them a viable option for those who wish to prioritize renewable energy and protect the planet.

Amber Kinetics is the leader in developing kinetic energy storage solutions and is committed to refining its flywheel technologies to make them as environmentally and economically cost-effective and feasible for companies and countries worldwide.

We should be passionate about creating a sustainable future for the planet and its people, and we know that a zero-carbon approach is necessary if we are going to be able to end our reliance on fossil fuels finally. We should welcome an approach that completely divorces itself from similarities with non-renewable energy storage, unlike grid-scale batteries, and differs from other energy storage solutions that create toxic by-products such as thermal and pumped hydro solutions.

Let us embrace the past and use today’s latest technological advancements through recyclable and efficient materials such as carbon and fiberglass to build tomorrow’s zero-carbon future’s renewable energy storage solutions.