Energy storage pertains to the energy source’s conversion into something that will allow tapping in the energy produced now for future use. These energy sources are the ones that are not easy to store, including electricity.
With the advent and continuous progress of technology, many forms of energy-storage solutions can now store energy in different timescales, from seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, to months.
These technologies that have something to do with energy storage are only in their initial years of deployment in Canada. However, numerous energy storage technologies are currently in development or beginning their operations.
The electricity coming from solar energy and wind energy is now being converted and stored using the following solutions:
- Hydrogen or chemical solutions
- Heating a material or thermal solutions
- Flywheels, compressed air, pumped hydro or mechanical means
- Batteries or electrochemical solutions
- Other developing means
These days, the most scalable energy storage is batteries, but all these storage solutions can be deployed on different scales. For example, 1,000,000 kWh of energy can be stored from a Tesla mega pack array that can be used for utility-scale operations. On the other hand, a home’s Tesla power wall can store 13.5 kWh of energy.
As you can see, the services are diverse, as reflected in the energy-storage solutions’ diversity. This kind of technology can benefit grid operations by providing services, including grid reliability, efficiency enhancement, voltage regulation and control, and reactive power.
There is another form of energy storage found in hydroelectric reservoirs, which can help in integrating solar and wind energy into the grid. As solar and wind energy facilities produce electricity, the water behind the dams gets stored. This enables the hydroelectric facilities to store energy that can be tapped on whenever necessary.
Energy, solar, and wind may be distinct technologies, but they are considered allies in providing natural energy forms. For now, continuous research and experiments are being conducted to advance hybrid, storage, solar, and wind potentials.