As the percentage of the power from largely intermittent renewable energy sources (wind, solar, hydro, etc.) gradually increases, electric grids – and microgrids in particular – will need increased electric storage capacities to help smooth out the grid supply. This is particularly true during peak usage periods. While a number of innovative alternate approaches are being explored, for now, both pumped hydro and battery storage remain the “go-to” solutions here.
The ideal battery for a car or truck is different than the ideal battery for an electric power grid, yet lithium batteries are increasingly popular for both electric vehicles and grid-scale power.
Battery Storage Gaining Momentum
Where high-energy-density batteries are needed for vehicles and some building applications, density is less important for grid-scale batteries. Several flow batteries are scalable to grid energy storage. Here, the flowing electrolytes can store large amounts of chemical energy, limited only by the tank size. China is building a Vanadium flow battery plant the size of 20 soccer fields for scalable grid storage. The first customer is a 200-megawatt, 800-megawatt-hour storage station in China’s Liaoning province. The latest versions of the Vanadium Redox-Flow Battery will not catch fire, can tolerate charge cycles for 20 years, and have distinct scale-up advantages compared to lithium batteries. China’s Vanadium battery station will be able to dispatch or absorb all of its 200 MW within milli-seconds. Combined with the non-dispatchable and often-curtailed wind resources in Mongolia, this will increase wind power utilization.
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Keywords: Grid-scale Batteries, Electric Grid, Microgrid, Electric Power, Renewable Energy, Solar, Wind, Pumped Hydro, ARC Advisory Group.