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by Julian Spector
May 17, 2018

Next week, GTM is getting a bunch of storage experts and a bunch of gas experts into a room to figure out what's going on.

We've been tracking early signs that energy storage could start chipping away at natural gas' dominance in peaking capacity. This is hugely important to grid reliability and affordability, as utilities report that meeting peak demands is their major cost driver over the coming decades. 

These trends provoke a lot of questions, so I decided to write down the key ones I hope to answer Monday at the Energy Storage vs. Gas Forum in Manhattan. All you Squares who can't join us in person, look for the livestream, which you can watch during or after the event, to find out about the answers we uncover.

What is really colliding here?

We often abbreviate this topic to "storage versus gas" or "storage versus peakers," but there's quite a spectrum of tools delivering capacity for peak grid demand. That nature of the resource matters a lot for how the storage industry can hope to compete.

Sixty-year-old steamers with slow ramp rates and long minimum run times present less formidable competition than state-of-the-art aeroderivative turbines with all the latest environmental controls and efficiency gains. A fast-response reciprocating engine like Wartsila's gets closer to a battery's response time, but can run for longer durations.