Our last articles outlined the need for utility-scale energy storage to balance the increase in intermittent generation. Households, businesses and social infrastructure projects have much different, but essential, applications for storage, and the demand for these energy storage systems is also expected to grow.
Companies such as Stem Energy and SolarCity have already begun integrating energy storage in individual households through the use of small batteries. Households can shift their power ‘time-of-use’ by purchasing lower-priced electricity at off-peak hours, storing it, and using it during peak times when prices are higher. Alternatively, electricity can be stored as an insurance system if the utility grid goes offline, allowing each home to seamlessly operate during blackouts. Comparable systems have been installed on a community level.
Similar applications are used in businesses and social infrastructure projects. For example, the Renteknik Group based in Burlington, Ontario has been working with grocery stores, community centres, and numerous other groups in the private and public sectors to install energy storage systems to maximize the energy efficiency, provide energy savings, improve the operation of the system and act as a backup during power outages. These projects have seen a reduction in electricity use of 15%-20% with the energy storage systems.
Another use for storage systems is in social infrastructure projects such as hospitals, which require uninterruptible power during critical operations. If the grid goes down, backup generators can take up to 10 seconds to generate and distribute electricity-which could be the difference between life and death. Energy storage technologies can provide this necessary uninterruptible power.
There are various uses for energy storage systems and as the costs of storing energy fall the use of this technology will become significantly more widespread. Kensington will continue to grow its expertise, and is actively sourcing new opportunities in this field.