Imre Gyuk, Energy Storage Research Program Manager at the DOE, presented last week at the Joint Venture Silicon Valley energy storage event in Mountain View, California.

The event confronted some of the enormous challenges faced today in deploying energy storage on the grid -- issues that span the economic, technical, regulatory, and cultural domains. We'll report on those issues in our next piece on the event.

In the meantime, we'll provide the highlights from Gyuk's summary of "Progress in Grid Energy Storage."

Gyuk said, "Storage provides energy when it is needed, just as transmission provides energy where it is needed." He went on to note that there's every reason to believe that variable renewable power is going to continue to be deployed -- pushed on by renewable portfolio standards in 29 states.

New energy storage deployment totaled 121 megawatts globally in 2011 and a forecast from Pike Research sees 2,353 megawatts in 2021. Worldwide energy storage deployed as of May 2011 was 370 megawatts, which grew to 590 megawatts by April of 2012.

The ARRA stimulus funding allowed Gyuk to allocate $185 million to develop storage projects, which in turn attracted $585 million in industry cost-share. Here's a list of those projects:

Primus Power is providing backup power with flow batteries equivalent to 50 megawatts of natural gas turbines that would have cost $73 million. "It's a complex thing to make the system work," said the DOE manager.


Southern California Edison is working with lithium-ion batteries from A123 in an 8-megawatt, 4-hour wind integration project.   



Duke Energy is working with Xtreme Power's advanced lead-acid batteries on a 36-megawatt, 40-minute battery project for ramp control and smoothing on a 153-megawatt wind farm at Notrees, Texas.    

Frequency regulation is an actual market in which fast energy storage can provide value. Two loan guarantees went out to frequency regulation projects, both in the New York ISO territory. The first uses flywheels from Beacon Power in a 20-megawatt project, the second uses lithium-ion batteries from A123 in a 20-megawatt AES project which currently has 8 megawatts on-line.

Gyuk said the FERC ruling of pay for performance was "to be praised, [because the FERC] realized the lack of a level playing field. ISOs have to take into account the benefit of storage  -- this is worth the money and will make frequency regulation by storage cost-effective."

The AES Laurel Mountain project has 32 megawatts of storage on less than one acre integrated with a 98-megawatt wind farm. The full system including the storage piece was eligible for a tax rebate.



Smaller ARRA projects include the 500-kilowatt lead-carbon battery technology project for Public Service in New Mexico and the 3-megawatt project for PJM. Gyuk said that the EastPenn lead carbon batteries used in these projects look like lead acid batteries, but one electrode contains carbon. Gyuk called them a cross between ultracapacitors and lead acid batteries with ten times the cycle life of other batteries.


Compressed air energy storage (CAES) is only used at two plants in the world and has basically been meant to "back up nuclear power," according to Gyuk. Now an ARRA-funded project for PG&E proposes a 300-megawatt, 10-hour project to back up the gigawatts of wind coming on-line in Tehachapi, California.   


Detroit Edison's community energy storage (CES) project uses twenty 25-kilowatt, 2-hour lithium-ion batteries from Dow Kokam. The batteries can provide backup power, store rooftop solar, charge EVs, or aggregate and dispatch power in peak periods.



Enervault's 250-kilowatt, 4-hour FeCr battery works with a 300-kilowatt photovoltaic installation in an almond farming application. According to Gyuk, storage adds 16 percent to the cost but provides 84 percent more value.  



Premium Power uses a zinc bromine flow battery chemistry. According to Gyuk, the firm has recently had an organizational revamp and has re-engineered the project as well.    

Aquion has claimed that the materials in its aqueous sodium ion battery are edible.    



The SustainX project uses isothermal compressed air energy storage (CAES) with "an isothermal efficiency of 95 percent" in a project that eliminated reliance on natural gas.