Global trends in energy storage worldwide
The Bank of America and Merrill Lynch took the position in 2016 that energy storage is the “holy grail” of the future of clean energy. This opinion is widely shared amongst the policy-makers and the energy industry. Energy UK, in a 2016 paper, stated that “electricity storage is widely regarded to be the single most important technological breakthrough likely to happen over the period to 2030 and a complete “game-changer” in the way that the power system operates.”
But why? The drive to adopt renewable energy as a majority source of power in the grid raises significant intermittency problems. To make renewable energy profitable, it must integrate effectively and reliably into the grid: as we cannot afford to have distribution compromised by unpredictable weather patterns; the demand for power cannot be dictated by daily and seasonal supply. By storing the energy when it is produced, and distributing it when it is needed, energy storage will boost the diversification of the energy mix away from fossil fuels.
Public and private studies show that the global trends in the development and implementation of renewable sources of energy will require Energy Storage systems (ESS):
We complement current technologies
Various technologies already exist for storing electric energy, but most of them are limited to capacities under 50 MW and 100MWh. The prominent technologies rated above 100 MW are pumped hydroelectric storage (PHS) and compressed air energy storage (CAES). PHS and CAES can provide capacities up to a few GWh. However, their usage is geographically limited since they require either a water reservoir (PHS) or an underground storage cavern (CAES). One recent technology in development is ARES, where large masses are moved between different elevations to store the energy. This system requires large areas of sloped territory, which again limits the possible deployment locations. Furthermore the lead-time to implement these large systems can be prohibitive.
Other promising technologies are different battery and fuel cell types, along with hydrogen-based storage and super-capacitors. However, these systems have limited energy storage capacities of up to a few tens of MWh; in addition, they are very expensive, their lifetimes are 15 years at maximum and these chemistry-rich technologies may present environment challenges during disposal. Superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) can provided high power but for very limited durations.
Teraloop’s inherent characteristics are those of a high capacity, rapid-response spinning reserve. We therefore assert that it could provide a new capability of critical importance to a renewable-rich energy mix.