The way has been cleared for energy storage projects by a federal appeals court. The July decision is a big win for independent, merchant battery companies and renewable energy proponents.
Advanced battery technologies and decreasing battery costs have encouraged the development of utility-scale (really big) electricity storage stations on the grid. Tesla -3.8%TSLA and AES Energy Storage have led the way with two such batteries. These address the greatest handicap wind and solar energy have in their push to eliminate fossil fuels from the generation market: intermittency. Batteries will also solve a second limitation of wind and solar energy, that peak renewable energy production is not always coincident with peak demand. Electricity demand varies over a day and over a season. It is this peak-and-trough wave that energy planners want to address with electricity storage facilities.
Today, most markets require electricity generation fleets sized to meet demand on the hottest day in August or coldest day in winter. Using the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, ERCOT, market as an example, peak demand is forecast to reach 75,000 megawatt hours (mWh) in August 2020. ERCOT is charged with making sure that there are sufficient supplies. However, the average electricity demand in ERCOT throughout the year is approximately 45,000 mWh. Battery storage would help reduce the need for a portion of the generation fleet and hasten the retirement of older high-cost generators.