Energy can be stored in several ways. This can include, for example, storage of electricity in batteries or ultracapacitors.
Alternatively, energy can be converted into a gas such as biogas, biomethane or hydrogen and stored as a fuel rather than as electricity. These gaseous fuels. Sometimes known as “e-fuels” can be utilised in high-efficiency decentralised reciprocating gas engine plants to produce both electricity and heat, at point of use, helping to save money and decarbonise our utility supply.
Energy storage systems (ESS) can time-shift energy, storing at times of surplus and releasing at times of deficit; helping to drive energy-efficiency.
There are numerous applications for energy storage technologies, including providing support services to the electricity grid, or to an individual consumer “behind-the-meter”. Energy storage technology may be deployed as stand-alone systems or with power generation as part of a hybrid or microgrid scheme.
Renewable energy enablement
Excluding biogas, most renewable energy sources, whilst critical to decarbonisation of our electricity systems, are by their nature intermittent. Supply may be higher than demand at times of abundant sun or wind. Equally if the wind drops or a cloud passes over a photovoltaic (PV) array, as an example, supply may not meet demand. Introducing energy storage systems in between the renewable generators and the consumers allows the Electricity grid network to “balance” electrical demand with the supply from the renewable generators. The employment of ESS allows the most efficient use of the renewable energy sources and the least use of expensive and polluting fossil fuel powered plants.
By helping to balance energy supply with demand, ESSs greatly improve the efficiency of renewable sources and allow maximal renewable energy penetration in the national energy mix.
Energy resilience has become an essential consideration when evaluating power supply. Unexpected events such as extreme weather incidents, technical failures or even pandemics can put their toll on the power network. Energy storage technologies can support operational resilience.
Energy storage is flexible, dispatchable and readily deployable at electricity grid level. This means energy storage systems can help to support grid services such as frequency response, shedding, adding and voltage stabilisation effectively and ‘almost’ instantaneously.
Energy storage systems can be used as an alternative to back-up generators such as diesel-based systems to improve the emissions performance of an industrial or commercial facility. Providing a modern, lower carbon approach to ensuring continuity of supply in the event of an external power interruption.
Hybrid power plants / microgrids
Energy storage systems can be deployed in parallel with other technologies as a hybrid power plant or as part of a microgrid. These modern, flexible solutions can combine the benefits of ultra-fast battery response with the longevity of a gas engine, whilst also balancing with renewable power generation for complete site optimisation.