Batteries: A Key to Solving Peak Demand Issues

Posted by Amy Guinan

Jun 17, 2015 8:30:00 AM


Batteries Replacing Peakers?

During an extended summer heat wave, energy demands peak as consumers use air conditioners and powered fans - the demand on the grid is at its most intense.  Traditionally, utilities have relied on "peakers," power stations (typically natural gas) that provide power to electrical grids during the peak times of demand. These peakers must be ready to respond as quickly as possible when peak demands occur, therefore, they are always kept idling - even though most of time the energy they produce is not needed.  It's an inefficient model that raises electricity rates.

As an alternative to peakers, batteries can store power (from grid electricity or from intermittent sources such as solar and wind), then discharge it when peak demand occurs -- without burning natural gas and emitting carbon dioxide or other pollutants.  

Batteries Make Sense

  • Batteries ramp up quickly: energy storage can respond in less than two seconds to peak demands on the grid, thus taking care of irregularities before they become a bigger problem. Fuel-powered plants take significantly longer to ramp up
  • Energy storage is much more efficient: fuel-powered plants are kept idling to ramp up quicker when there is a need for more power 
  • Batteries enable the incorporation of much larger amounts of intermittent energy such as wind and solar
  • Energy storage can significantly reduce individual customer’s bills 
  • Energy storage can help utilities run more efficiently: if storage is placed strategically throughout a network, large infrastructures to handle peak demand not have to be built 

LA as a Case Study

Rolling black outs are a common thing in the sweltering summer months in CA.  And, due to the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, the West LA Basin area is facing the future prospect of significant power shortages and difficulty delivering stable and reliable power to congested areas of the grid.

To meet the terms of their contracts with Southern California Edison, and as a proactive measure to deal with impending energy peaks, Advanced Microgrid Solutions announced plans to install up to 500 megawatt-hours of Tesla’s Powerpack battery systems over the coming years.  Southern Californa Edison recognizes the potential - and need - for energy storage and Advanced Microgrid Solutions is answering the call.

Batteries at work.

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