Energy Storage and Green Generation

Renewable Generation and Energy Storage
Photo credit (flywheel): NRStor

The missing pieces of the energy puzzle


Global energy supply mixes are changing as policy makers adopt new and sustainable plans for the future. This includes the growth of intermittent renewable energy from wind and solar resources. As more renewables come online, our power supply becomes more variable, making it more difficult to manage the grid. Energy storage is one solution; it is the missing link between electricity supply and demand. While some view the need to modernize our electricity system as an inconvenient truth, I view this as a convenient opportunity for Canadian led innovation.

Renewable energy resources are intermittent by nature; the wind is not always blowing and the sun is not always shining. This variability poses a challenge to electricity system operators who manage regional electricity flow. System operators comprehensively schedule and predict the amount of electricity they require their generation fleet to produce in advance every day. Increases in variable generation can make forecasting the supply necessary to meet demand more difficult.

This issue is confronting electricity systems around the world. North America’s energy storage market is made up of a diverse array of advanced storage technologies and is expected to grow significantly over the coming decade as renewable generation increases. Germany has set a target of producing 80 percent of their total generation from renewables by 2050 and will retire their nuclear fleet within the next decade. China is expected to add 49 gigawatts (GW) of renewable assets in 2013 alone. Other regions that expect intermittent renewable resources to make up a significant portion of their supply mix must adopt innovative energy storage technologies to promote long-term efficiency and grid stability.

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