The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC https://www.ferc.gov/FERC
) recently announced that it was going to let energy storage
operate in the wholesale markets as both a buyer and a seller. Why wasn't this allowed before? I don't know but it illustrates the impact that regulation can and does have on the path to zero-carbon energy
I recommend this article -- and the links
in the article -- by a energy expert.
Cheap energy storage, long hailed as renewable energy’s younger cousin that, once of age, would create a dynamic duo strong enough to upend the electricity system as we know it ...
While this development plays to storage’s benefit, the market (at current prices) is still relatively small. For energy storage to make a big play, costs still needs to come down by about half, and the market itself might have to change.
In the U.S., most [electrical] energy storage comes from pumped hydro facilities
, but these systems require large amounts of co-located land, elevation and water. Batteries have been (or will be) built in both Texas and Arizona in order to defer expensive transmission line upgrades.
-- https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshuarhod ... ill-needed
The vast majority %90 + of electrical energy storage worldwide comes from pumped hydro. Pump hydro has been in operation about as long as conventional hydro electric. BUT it seems the public knows little about it. Why?
Here's a opening clue: The world may remember the mass evacuation in Oroville California because of problems with Oroville Dam's overflow Spillway. Oroville dam has a pumped hydro facility but finding information about it on the dam's official website is a challenge.
Reason 1: It's old technology that doesn't have the backing of marketing powers such as Telsa.
Reason 2: It's a form of hydro electric power so I think it has a mixed reputation among many environmentalists and environmental special interests.
Transmission Line Upgrades
Wind power, hydro electric and geothermal power usually has to be transmitted good distances. Plans for these kinds of renewable power systems usually have to include large scale transmission line improvements and/or new major power lines.
PART 2 -- Where does Electrical Power Come From?
This graph from the article shows power generated in the US in Terawatt hours (1 TWh = one million MWh = 1,000,000 MWh) in a year.
- This is power produced I believe, not "name plate" capacity. Capacity usually means maximum output or output under ideal conditions. Watt hours (Wh) as used here is a measure of electricity actually generated and is less, often much less, than name-plate/rated capacity.
- I'd like to verify that the solar power numbers shown include estimates of power generated on home rooftops.
A couple of numbers to note:
- Wind produces almost 2x that of it's cousins (Solar + Geothermal + Biomass + Other)
- Nuclear, the 3rd biggest producer on the list, generates more than all the renewables combined (Hydro + Wind + Solar + Geothermal + Biomass + Other)
- Natural Gas is the #1 producer -- one reason why US CO2 emissions are relatively low.
EXPLAINER: Pumped Hydro Storage
In a pumped storage facility, water is pumped during off-peak demand periods from a reservoir at a lower elevation for storage in a reservoir at a higher elevation. Electricity is then generated during peak demand periods by releasing the pumped water from the higher reservoir and allowing it to flow downhill through the hydraulic turbine(s) connected to generators. During the off-peak pumping cycle, the pumped storage facility is a consumer of electricity. In fact, the amount of electricity required to pump the water uphill is greater than the amount of electricity that is generated when the water is released during peak demand periods. Pumped storage facilities, however, can be economical because they consume low-cost off-peak electricity and generate high-value on-peak electricity.